Reimagining Workplaces Through Technology

The need for technology adoption is now seen as a necessity within forward looking corporates. Indian CREs continue to outpace their foreign counterparts in the overall adoption rates of advanced real estate technologies such as integrated workplace management systems, Internet of Things etc to drive workplace efficiency and productivity.

In a recent development, a leading IT firm graduated to hot-desking from the earlier fixed seating around its offices in the country. Artificial intelligence based internal sensors revealed that a number of employees were either constantly moving around the office or working out of client locations. As a result of the real estate space optimization, the company has been able to reduce cost on its infrastructure spending. This is the latest trend, where Companies as in the case mentioned, are increasingly using technology to improve efficiencies across their offices. And the trend is not limited to the IT/ITeS sector, companies across sectors are incorporating technology in workplaces to save on a key proportion of the cost otherwise incurred on various operations.

A number of companies are already adopting exciting, new age technologies to positively impact employee experience, space planning and utilization of their office spaces. Genpact, a leading ITeS organisation, for example, has installed an application to book transport for its employees. It helps them to have real-time location of their vehicles and also help employees to plan the day better. The company saves costs on a human interface too thereby providing a safe and efficient transport experience to its employees.

We are the early adopters!

The need for technology adoption is now seen as a necessity within forward looking corporates. The idea of technology upgrade gels well with the overall adoption of technology among CREs. Indian corporates continue to outpace their foreign counterparts. Adoption rates of advanced CRE technologies such as integrated workplace management systems in the country outpace other markets. Compared to the global average of 25 percent, almost 40 percent have been early adopters of technology (source JLL Research).

Second, the workforce expects a seamless integrated and personalized experience that is tailored around their needs. A recently conducted JLL Survey among corporate real estate leaders (CREs) revealed employee and workspace experience applications are the number one priority area for future technology investment. Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), end-to-end automation and integrated data warehouse solutions follow on the same scale.

As a result of this gradual transformation, adoption of CRE technologies is expected to grow quickly in the next three years to sustain India’s position as an early adopter.

The growing trend is having a positive impact on the business ecosystem. The evolution will continue to affect the businesses in coming years too. There are reasons for us to believe this.

The direct benefits

India continues to harbour some of the most innovative and new age startups in the world. And new age entrepreneurship is just a decade old in the country as against the most established startup focussed countries like the US and UK. As a result, entrepreneurs and small businesses will greatly benefit from the large scale adoption of technology. Often new businesses’ biggest worry is real estate space optimization. And CRE technologies can drastically reduce the cost of human capital. Those in the services industry can achieve gains by increasing their use of technology. Indian market is already seeing a flurry of activity in this regard with technology players like Condeco, Adappt and many more are coming up with interesting technologies to provide a seamless workplace experience to clients and employees alike.

Moreover, in an era of consolidation, when rival businesses are merging to create something bigger, faster adoption of technology is the key to success. Other than the startups and new entities, there is a huge market for technology adoption among the large, traditional companies, which are often seen as laggards in terms of use of CRE technology. This opens up a big market for the solution provider. Real Estate for e.g. as an industry has always been a little slow in terms of technology adoption, but this trend is changing rapidly. New age developers are building technology platforms as standard equipment in their new launches – both residential or commercial.

The biggest gain, however, will be the knowledge through the use of technology. According to a recently published JLL Research, Emerging trends in India’s office sector, integrated corporate business strategy is being framed basis data mining across the employees. And this is now possible only through the use of technology.

But, there is a challenge to this growth. Often technology adoption may take longer than the required time. The workforce can often be slow in adapting to the new changes. Sometimes even the management itself may feel threatened to introduce the changes.  

So what can work best in order to introduce the adoption to those who are yet to board the bus. Establishing deep and direct industry connects with those who are fence sitters makes perfect sense. Sharing of knowledge with the ‘have-nots’ will give them some direction. The blueprint to success will differ from company to company. Hence, a base to develop it further and evolve on a case-to-case basis will help.

AI is no longer termed as Artificial Intelligence, I see it as Augmented Intelligence – an enabler to solve traditional challenges that require new way to work and new perspectives. Early adopters can thus help the industry grow and prosper. It is high time we connect!

Authored by Sandeep Sethi, Chair – Corporate Solutions & Managing Director - Integrated Facilities Management, West Asia, JLL 

To download the Research report, click here