While our developers have been engaged in very interesting customer projects, they've somehow managed to squeeze out internal prototypes as well. Our smart office initiative in Tampere has moved forward from the concepts we were tinkering with in July to actually functioning pieces of Office of the Future.
So, what has happened since the previous update? We have at least
- Launched an internal IoT dashboard to relay information in easily accessible form
- "Installed" (really just thrown) some Ruuvitags around the office to track temperatures in our meeting rooms and other areas
- Added coffee machine status tracking to follow coffee consumption and freshness
- Rigged our Taz6 3D printer with Octopi to remotely print and check printer status
What was not so much discussed earlier in our internal workshops was the use of chatbots. These puppies has truly made a breaktrough in our smart office vision during the past months. We kinda went "Chatbots everywhere!" approach to make life easier around the office. With the help of NLP, the discussions can flow a bit more freely and asking for things from our bots can be done in many ways. Through our bots, we are now able to:
- Check status of meeting rooms and reserve one if it's available
- Check status of our basement parking garage and reserve parking space if one is available
- Operate Octopi and follow the printing progress
- See the lunch options of nearby restaurants
- Add entry to our Laptimes leaderboard to show your co-workers just how quickly you did Nürburgring Nordschleife
- Post stuff to social media based on chat input
- Ask stupid questions and get somewhat sane answers
Current implementations are running in both Flowdock and Telegram (which serve as our primary means of communication during work and also off work).
The chatbot approach seems to be the go-to solution for our needs at the moment. Bots can be used to many other things currently done via web interfaces, such as entering hour markings, and can also remind you personally to mark your hours in time. Just add some machine learning and soon you'll be able to just complete your tasks without much work...
Will our smart office ever be ready? I doubt it, since things move faster and faster every day and new tech emerges. Our quite reasonable size office suits very well to rapid prototyping like this.
Will there still be updates about our progress? Of course! My unplanned quarterly blogging seems to be working quite well :).