2N has added enhanced functionality to its flagship intercom, the 2N IP Style, in response to emerging trends in office working caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The relevant trends, which have been identified by experts including the CBRE, Knight Frank and PwC, are:
- Most companies are operating hybrid working models, but smaller companies are returning to the office faster than larger businesses
CBRE’s EMEA Occupier Survey 2021, published in August, concluded that “most companies, and nearly 80% of larger ones, are leaning towards some form of mixed or hybrid working pattern”, with employees splitting their time between the office and home, but that “over 80% of small companies report all locations open, compared with only a third of the largest companies.” Small companies are those least likely to be in a position to afford staff permanently on reception who can manage access control on the ground.
- Companies are starting to consider a ‘hub and spoke’ model for their office portfolio
47% of UK businesses surveyed as part of Knight Frank’s ‘Re-occupancy and Re-imagined Workplace Survey’ said that they were considering how their employees could work closer to home, while 21% said that they were looking at operating offices closer to where their people live. A hub and spoke model – with a primary HQ (the hub), often in a city centre, combined with satellite offices closer to where employees live (spokes) – could be one way to achieve that. PwC’s latest US Pulse Survey suggested that many American companies are also considering this approach.
As well as the impact on employees, this would also have a long-term effect on the businesses which depend on office workers, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors – potentially piling more pressure on those in city centres and other working hubs, while creating opportunities elsewhere.
- A focus on design and quality in all aspects of office buildings
Knight Frank’s ‘Re-occupancy and Re-imagined Workplace Survey’ found that, when it comes to the workplace of the future, 63% of UK businesses said that they anticipate a greater focus on the design and specification of their offices. Facilitating team working and collaboration is one important area of focus, but with employers keen to encourage their staff back into the office, there will be a premium on high quality and design in every aspect of the office environment.
The 2N IP Style, which was launched in June and recently won a CE Pro BEST (Best Electronics Systems Technologies) Award at the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis, will respond to these trends through new functionality which will be added in Spring 2022 in four areas:
- A bidirectional video function will allow visitors to see the person they are talking to as well as vice versa. This will be of particular value to smaller companies that do not have a dedicated reception or office buildings that house multiple companies.
- A QR code function will make it easier to share access data with couriers and other visitors. The details can be sent straight to their mobile and the intercom’s display guides them to present the code in the right way to gain entry. This means that visitors can still be given secure access even if there is no one from the company available to meet them when they arrive.
- The 2N IP Style’s existing 5MPx camera’s incorporation of Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technologies ensures full image quality and identification of the visitor, even in darkness or uneven lighting conditions outside. From the Spring, a camera adjustment function will be available which will further increase the angle range of the camera.
- With businesses that depend on office workers having to compete harder than ever for their attention, the 2N IP Style’s 10” LCD display can already be set with customised backgrounds – which can, for example, be used to promote local restaurants or stores. More sophisticated advertising options will be available in the next six months.
Michal Kratochvíl, CEO of 2N Telekomunikace, says: “The world of work is changing, and changing very fast. It creates opportunities for us to innovate, and the 2N IP Style was the obvious product to develop because it already sets the benchmark for technological and design excellence. It also supports the latest and fastest Bluetooth-enabled mobile access technology, WaveKey, which, right now, has obvious appeal for both employers and employees.”