Laptop, desktop

You might think that over the course of a decade, only minimal changes would have been made in terms of equipment for the office, however, this is not actually the case. Huge innovations in technology since 2006 have completely adapted the way we work. Cloud computing, mobile printing, document management systems and even social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are all tools which have made a profound impact on our workplace.

Here are just five ways in which the workplace has developed since 2006:

  • Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is simply described as having the ability to store and access data and programs over the internet instead of on a computer's hard drive. There are many different cloud systems available including well known ones such as: Google Docs, Dropbox, OwnCloud and iCloud which allows users to access data and back up important files and documents over the internet.

The benefits of cloud computing are countless and seem to be never-ending for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). One of the many appealing elements is the cost benefit. Cloud computing is not free of charge, but cloud service providers manage all of the maintenance and system updates, saving businesses a substantial amount of capital. This technological development also allows employees to work from almost any location, as they can access all their files from a range of devices, from desktop PC’s to their tablets or mobile phones.

  • Mobile Printing
Mobile phones may not be a new innovation, but mobile printing is a trend that has emerged among SMEs recently. The ability to authorise print jobs from your mobile phone or tablet has only been available since 2010, and only more widely adopted as normal practice in the past couple of years.

BYOD (bring your own device) is a term which is commonly used to describe one of the newest office trends, where employees are authorised to use their own device whilst at work, in order to boost efficiency by printing straight from their mobile technology. There are many benefits of BYOD, including ease of working remotely, money saving on computing equipment and enhancing productivity as employees are instantly at ease with the way their device works.

  • Managed Document Services
Managed Document Services (MDS) has been another technological advancement in the past few years, designed to optimise the processes and workflows your business uses to produce and exchange documents. It has proved popular among both SMEs and larger, as well as international companies that are aiming to boost efficiency within their organisation. The idea of the solution is to highlight where time and resources are being wasted, and provides an accountable, tailor-made print and copy environment to enhance productivity and reduce output costs by up to 40%.

The overall benefit of MDS is to reduce a combination of time, energy and money through being able to clearly view which resources are being wasted, where, and make changes to eliminate any excess inefficiencies, allowing for a much more competent business.

  • Pull Printing
Ten years ago printing a document meant automatically sending it to a printer on the other side of the office, leading to high volumes of paper left unclaimed at the printer; resulting in wasted energy, resources and money. Fast forward to 2016, where pull printing is common practice among a number of UK businesses, particularly organisations with multiple buildings. Instead of allowing documents to be printed excessively, this print management solution requires users to authenticate print jobs at the site, with either a key card, pin number or, in some cases, a fingerprint.

Pull printing is also one of the most secure ways to print, with the risk of colleagues or customers viewing confidential documents being reduced dramatically. Another benefit of using a print management solution is the amount of money an organisation can save. Documents are not printed until the user ‘pulls’ it from the printer, meaning less paper wastage and a reduction in print costs in addition to improving a business’s sustainability status.

  • Internet of Things
Although closing the blinds, changing the temperature of the office and even doing the tea round from your phone may seem too futuristic, the Internet of Things is a recent innovation that can make all this happen by connecting the equipment through the Wi-Fi.

This also applies to components of machinery, for example, a jet engine of an aeroplane or the drill from an oil rig. If it has an on and off switch, then the chances are it can be a part of the Internet of Things. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 21 billion connected devices, all created to make life easier for businesses; from SMEs to multinational organisations.

By Tony Bennett, Group Sales Director at Altodigital