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The Frictionless Work Experience: AI and WEX Apps

The typical office and workday are riddled with inefficiencies –– and that goes for nearly all industries.

Employees often encounter challenges with outdated technology infrastructure, leading to slow processes and frustrating delays.

Meanwhile, the lack of seamless collaboration tools is proving a hamper to teamwork and collaboration—a particularly noticeable spot of friction in an era where work from home and distributed teams has become the norm.

Overall, these obstacles create friction and hinder productivity within the workplace-- not to mention the cumbersome bureaucratic procedures in certain industries that contribute to inefficiencies across daily workflows.

The first step to improving the workplace experience is to invest in a workplace experience platform approach which seeks to bring all--or as many as possible--of the various aspects of the journey as employees interact with the corporate workplace.

"At the core, an employee should be able to reserve individual and group spaces, including rooms but also neighborhoods or zones, to ensure that the right folks are in the right vicinity and workplace managers should be able to manage and administer space," says Tori Paulman, Gartner senior director analyst, digital workplace.

Workplace experience applications offer a bridge from digital to physical, which means the more successful implementations include deep UI integrations with personal and team productivity apps, for example Google Workspace or Microsoft 365.

"Workplace experience applications are a discrete application, well-defined module or cohesive set of capabilities that support the process of planning a visit, reserving available space and determining what amenities are provided," Paulman adds.

These are used to explore and reserve workspaces, navigate the workplace, find colleagues, provide insights on the best days to visit the workplace, and reserve amenities such as parking, fitness, or food services.


Opportunities for AI Applications

Paulman says AI, in the form of work orchestration, is the biggest opportunity in the workplace market.

"Let’s imagine a future where AI and machine learning offer conversational interfaces will help employees to access the full breadth of services and automations available to them by linking together a series of logical spaces and amenities automatically with one request," Paulman says.

For example, group visit planning can be made by answering the question; 'What is the best day to come into the office?'

Then workforce experience (WEX) apps with generative AI can suggest optimal days for a group of workers to visit the office based on available space, work schedules, employee relationships, such as work cohorts and team or project members, and right size space reservations based on attendee RSVP behavior.

"This means the system will generate optimal space layout options maximizing utilization while accounting for occupancy trends, HR data, lease renewals and business requirements and constraints," Paulman says. "A 'rightsized space' is a workplace with the right mix of work settings to cater to various work preferences."

Paulman notes these capabilities are already emerging in workplace experience applications today and will continue to be developed to meet the demands of hybrid work.


Using IT to Enhance Decision-Making

David Ly, founder of Iveda, says advancements in automation, IoT, and smart technologies – especially when blended – have the capacity to take human capability to new heights, all while delivering valuable insights, minimizing biases, and enhancing decision-making.

"The best part about AI is that the technology can be trained and tailored to meet specific industry or user needs, especially critical for workforces dealing with ongoing friction and looking to the tech to propel them toward optimized productivity and efficiency," he says.

He says when it comes to creating a more seamless workplace, AI has the power to act as a critical force multiplier across industries, creating more friction-free work environments.

"In a practical sense, AI has long been associated with chatbots and virtual assistants, which have become essential tools in streamlining tasks and automating repetitive and time-consuming processes, allowing employees to focus on more meaningful work," he explains.

Like Paulman, he points out AI-driven analytics can also provide valuable insights into employee workflows, identifying bottlenecks and areas for optimization to enhance efficiency.

"Even more than that, AI deployments – of today and into the future – are acting as a second set of eyes, with the ability to reduce human error, enhance safety, improve security, and even optimize work performance, empowering employees to work smarter, not harder," he adds.

Further, while the workplace may not be as easily tweaked for customizable efficiencies as a vehicle, that’s where technology – particularly AI, which can learn and gather data from its environment – comes in especially handy.

"The ongoing and complex scenarios that create day-to-day workplace friction continue to drive a need for smart technology," Ly says. "The potential that smart buildings and cities have is so much more powerful when daily practicality is taken into consideration, and I believe we’ll see a major increase in smart workplaces as time goes on."