Working from home is not easy. Kids merrily amble in while you are on a VC, family members come calling, doorbells interrupt important discussions, and not to forget, the network gives away just when you were making a super point to your boss.
The world is currently learning the good and bad of working from home. Weeks ago, only a few of us were working from home consistently. For most others, this has been a whole new experience. Working from home consistently for many days on, will require a lifestyle as well as work-style shift. Are we prepared for it? Do we need a dedicated office at home, do have the technology – gadgets, bandwidth, security – to support it? These are things we need to give a hard look as we transcend into a new normal.
Samsung has been at the forefront of innovations for smart homes, and in the last few days our Bengaluru R&D Centre, where I work, has received a lot of inquiries related to smart home offices from technology partners, academia and even, and do not be surprised, real estate companies who build homes and offices.
With the reality of #WFH in front of us, we could see an upsurge in home offices becoming part of home designs across the country. And to cater to more people working from home, modern city planners will have to plan on providing better infra for electricity, fiber to home, broadband, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and co-meeting spaces in residential areas.
IoT and smart home automation, especially, could help make our work from home more comfortable and productive. Imagine several aspects of your home turning smart, making your home and your home office more ergonomic, easy to manage and also fun.
For example, smart lights with intensity control could help you reduce eye strain as you work with optimum lighting, and to avoid that glare during a video call, smart curtains and blinds could help at the press of a button.
A smart door lock and smartphone accessed door camera can help you avoid getting up and answering the door, unless it’s really necessary. And for those of us who have young children, setting up cameras in different rooms will help keep a tab without breaking the rhythm of work.
These days you get smart sensors of multiple kinds that can be installed in a home IoT set up for different kinds of applications. Take for instance simple sensors that connect with smart lights to alert you if your kids have managed to open the knife drawer, or if the temperature of the stove goes above a certain level. Blue light for one sensor, red light for another, yellow for the third, rather than an alarm that disturbs the entire household. You get the drift.
Then of course you have smart refrigerators, TVs, microwave ovens, robot vacuum cleaners, dish washers and air conditioners that work in tandem to give you the best experience possible.
While you work on work from home in a smart home environment, one thing to be extremely cautious is security of your home network. One needs to ensure that it isn’t just your laptop and phone that are secured. All gadgets and appliances on the network need to be secured, from your smart refrigerator to TVs to your vacuum cleaner.
[The author of this article, Ravindra Shet, is an employee of Samsung R&D Institute, Bengaluru & works in the area of IoT.]