In the past decade, technology has shifted how we live, work, and interact with others—from everyday things like banking and shopping to how we configure our office spaces. So it’s no surprise, really, when we consider that technology will be a key factor in how we get back to the office post-sheltering in place. And while human behaviors (wearing masks, taking care to socially distance, etc.) will be the most important factors in minimizing a new surge in COVID-19 infections, technology will again be the great enabler of what’s possible for the new normal—supporting things like density planning and behavioral goals—all in a seamless and secure manner to keep the workplace safe.

In the past few months, I’ve written how Aruba responded to the crisis, and my previous blog, Our New Normal: Looking Ahead to Business Recovery, examined considerations for what a successful recovery could look like. How remote work environments at homes, branches, stores, warehouses, or other places will all need to be deployed and managed in a zero-touch manner. Meaning everything must be instrumented for automation and remote management. Cloud-managed solutions with advanced AIOps capabilities playing a larger role in how these distributed environments will be deployed and managed.

Now as we drill further down into coming back to a physical office building in the next six months, we imagine a place where technology enables a safe environment. We think of this as the location-aware office.

  • Heat mapping to measure employee traffic so shared resources (like cafeterias) have appropriate density planning and cleaning resources allocated at proper frequencies.
  • Proximity alerts to notify the company and/or employees if people have sustained proximity to others to help encourage social distancing.
  • Contact tracing to minimize virus spread so that we can trace who an infected employee may have come into contact with.

This sounds futuristic, but all of these location services are available and can be managed via the network infrastructure. We have had great interest in discussing how to plan and implement these services with your existing infrastructure, and we began discussing this at ATM Digital, our free, online event that started on June 9. We have live demos that explore these technologies and we share best practices for planning and implementation.

We also share our vision of what the reimagined workplace will look like. How to enable a hybrid environment where employees work from home, but also go to the office for collaboration or key meetings. How to foster workplace culture when the experience shifts to this new model. And the role of the network infrastructure as workplace design once again evolves to accommodate this new reimagined office. Join the conversation at ATM Digital.

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