This article was contributed by Mpro5 , a Meraki technology partner.
The pandemic has reduced the overall demand for office space, whichs has squeezed the already highly competitive facilities management industry. It may seem trite, but facilities management (FM) companies and facilities owners need to find new ways to deliver “more for less” in a tighter market that also expects higher standards of cleaning and maintenance, as this is now seen as a safety issue.
Smart spaces or smart buildings can resolve these problems and more, offering the chance for increased productivity, reduced costs, and unique possibilities, including dynamic cleaning and maintenance based on organically captured data.
An Internet of Things (IoT) network can inform FM teams with data gathered from sensors, updating them in real time on everything from the number of people in a particular room to the condition of any asset on the site.
Here are four ways that smart spaces can enhance facilities services:
Making sites “smart” empowers teams to rapidly resolve problems and faults. Call buttons, for example, are a versatile and useful addition to any IoT network that provides a direct connection between end customers and maintenance or cleaning teams.
With a smart analytics platform in place, alert suppression means that only one alert will be sent until a team confirms they have completed the job, removing the problem of buttons being repeatedly pressed for the same issue.
Ensure compliance and intelligent maintenance
Making the assets on a site smart with IoT sensors makes maintenance and compliance easier to plan and execute while further minimizing disruption for clients. IoT sensors can also manage individual assets in the HVAC system as well as alert maintenance teams when a fault has occurred or is about to.
Provide assurance and win new business
It’s the data you collect from smart spaces that makes it such a compelling investment. It can be shown to clients to demonstrate the increasing effectiveness of teams as they become more agile and reactive, meet SLAs, reduce response times, and improve routines.
Clients not only appreciate the transparency this provides, but they are also assured that their workspaces are safe, well-maintained, and frictionless for users.
These dashboards are a highly effective new business tool, demonstrating to potential customers that an FM provider is at the cutting edge of truly outstanding and cost-effective service. Visit the Meraki Marketplace to learn more about mpro5 and request a demo.
As organizations move away from reacting to unprecedented circumstances and into the future, there has been a big focus on how to advance technology in spaces where business, learning, governing, and creating happens. The idea of creating smarter spaces where work gets done is not new, but what does “smarter” mean and where does it make sense to start?
Pivoting to sustainability
When deciding how to approach smart spaces for your organization, a major factor to consider is sustainability. The 2022 EY US CEO Survey finds that chief executives are maintaining growth strategies while pivoting toward ESG [environmental, social, and governance] and sustainability.” In addition, “A majority of U.S. chief executives (82%) see ESG as a value-driver to their business over the next few years, and virtually all have developed a sustainability strategy.” But executing and scaling these types of initiatives can be a challenge.
Start with the data center
While clearly top of mind, organizations don’t fully understand where to start on their sustainability journey—mostly because it’s difficult to quantify the ROI and environmental impact from many of these initiatives.
For many, it’s about tackling the most impactful, loudest issues first. The data center is the hub of any business, and anyone who manages and maintains a data center knows that it can be the biggest consumer of energy. Some of these facilities have existed for decades, with only piecemeal improvements and updates made when the budget allows. But with sustainability and energy efficiency becoming a priority for business leaders and consumers, these changes cannot afford to wait.
Six tips for success
That’s why we recently published a whitepaper outlining six ways that IT leaders can reduce their carbon footprint by making changes to data centers. These ideas range from layout changes within the space to rethinking what it means to be within ideal temperature ranges for the environment (it all starts with considerations for HVAC). Operations teams will find these approaches helpful for reaching their sustainability goals in both the short and long term.
These benefits extend even further to CFOs who realize cost savings, HR teams that promote a green company to attract better talent, and other teams that are focused on IT transformation, sustainability, and corporate reputation. These factors present a great opportunity for groups across the organization to work together to find success. Here at Meraki, we want to be a part of this effort to help everyone reach their energy efficiency goals.
No matter how your team works, your network is your most mission-critical asset and expanding your wireless infrastructure with Wi-Fi 6E needs to be a focal point for 2022. Why? With an investment in Wi-Fi 6E, “IT teams will have everything they need to deliver a truly wired-like wireless experience and the scale to support new devices, sensors, and data traversing the network,” says Grant Shirk, Head of Product Marketing at Cisco Meraki. With the opportunities and challenges of hybrid work visible on the horizon, network teams are already game-planning for how they can handle today’s bandwidth-intensive applications and build the capacity required to handle the unknown workloads a dynamic future workforce will bring.
The question is, what exactly could the new Wi-Fi 6E standard mean to you and your business? Let’s break it down by the numbers: meet the six Es of 6E.
#1 – Extended spectrum
Let’s start with the basics: Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of Wi-Fi 6 into the 6 GHz band. Both Wi-Fi 6 and 6E are a part of the same standard, 802.11ax, but with 6E we get an extended 1,200 MHz of spectrum in the U.S. and 500 MHz in Europe. 6E capable devices will get access to up to an additional 59 20 MHz channels, 29 40 MHz channels, 14 80 MHz channels, and 7 160 MHz channels.
Having more devices does not have to mean you have more problems. With the number of devices connecting to enterprise networks growing rapidly, there’s a huge need for additional spectrum. As noted in our Hybrid Work Index, the percentage of client devices per access point has seen a massive change since the onset of the pandemic. To support this increase, the extended-spectrum available with Wi-Fi 6E can support more simultaneous user connections to the network at higher speeds and with lower latency. The impact? With Wi-Fi 6E, now the right people can have the right access to the right network resources at the right time.
#2 – Efficient traffic management
Slow traffic, keep right! It’s time to clear the way for faster devices on the network. The broader 6 GHz spectrum delivers advanced Wi-Fi performance with higher throughput and wider channels. The maximum speed of Wi-Fi has evolved from 11 Mbps to 4,800 Mbps. That’s 436 times faster! The result: less network congestion.
To put this in perspective, imagine driving down the same two-lane road every day, only to fight more and more traffic that doesn’t heed the speed limit. It’s a bit like your current Wi-Fi situation—congested. Now, imagine the same volume of cars but on a 7-lane highway with a dedicated express lane. A similar connection can be made between older vs. newer cars. Cars that were built many years ago are still sharing the highway with you, slowing down cars behind and beside it. Likewise, Wi-Fi 6E is as much about the spectrum as it is about client devices—it’s a fast lane for all your newer, faster devices.
#3 Exceptional experiences
Wi-Fi 6E helps you scale your mission-critical network infrastructure to meet the needs of hybrid work, remote work, and smarter workspaces. Your network is the connection from data to employees to customers and everywhere in between. Creating a consistent and productive work environment that keeps people connected is a priority for every business. Employees want the same experience on your network, no matter their location, and you want them to have the right access at the right time.
#4 Enterprising opportunities
Wi-Fi 6E will deliver a (somewhat) new and definitely improved wireless network that is faster and more reliable and designed for dense environments, high-bandwidth applications like video calls, and services that require ultra-low latency like augmented and virtual reality services.
Smart spaces and automated processes that depend on IoT devices within manufacturing, shipping, and logistics facilities no longer have to suffer from slow Wi-Fi and intermittent connectivity. Wi-Fi 6E helps remediate these issues with wired-like Wi-Fi speeds and a clean spectrum for every automation need. Manufacturers can use robots and automatic guided vehicles in warehouses where they require ultra-low latency with the highest reliability.
#5 Enhanced security
With a highly distributed dynamic workforce, there’s an increased need for security, convenience, and optimized access to allow your teleworkers and locations to thrive. In fact, our data shows organizations are increasingly investing in small branch offices as an alternative to traditional large campuses. It’s a trend that is accelerating as we exit the pandemic. Employees on your network deserve a “headquarters” experience no matter where they are.
While the Wi-Fi Alliance requires WPA3 security certification for all Wi-Fi 6E devices, Meraki augments the standard with a simple, streamlined setup for an error-free WPA3 configuration. When you combine that with the embedded client analytics, network-wide client visibility, and detailed device insights for Apple and Intel devices that the Meraki dashboard provides, you give your teams an optimal wireless experience, anywhere they connect.
#6 Effortless deployments
If you’re not sold on Wi-Fi 6E yet, there’s one last consideration we’d like to share. Flexibility and agility are cornerstones of a truly hybrid organization, and we all need the ability to adapt to change on the fly. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to the new Meraki MR57, our first-ever Wi-Fi 6E access point. This high-end MR gives you the flexibility to switch between multiple operation modes. Operate the access point in dual-band mode and get extra 5GHz capacity to handle today’s wireless congestion. Then, when those 6E devices come online in force, simply flip a switch and open up the 6GHz band. That’s way faster than building a new expressway!