Smart spaces will become the interface between human beings and the space they inhabit."In future, spaces and workplaces will be oriented toward the needs of the users. Such smart spaces will become the interface between human beings and the space they inhabit. They will connect the digital world with the physical one and increase people’s creativity and companies’ productivity."
"Just imagine spaces and workplaces communicating with people – and precisely in the way you want them to. They cater for your individual wishes and needs at any time," enthuses Franziska Dolak, R&D Innovations Manager at Smart Infrastructure at Siemens.
"Allow me to illustrate this with an example," explains Franziska Dolak. Imagine a meeting room completely oriented toward the needs of its users and that learns on the basis of feedback. This room organizes the meeting for all participants, invites the corresponding people, ventilates and air-conditions itself according to the preferences of the participants, and loads the necessary data onto their devices directly. If the meeting goes on past midday, the participants automatically receive menu suggestions from the kitchen that correspond to their diet plan – the bill is settled via smartphone. After the meeting, the minutes are automatically waiting for the participants in their mailboxes. And, of course, the room turns off the lights, ventilation, and air-conditioning independently.
"That is precisely how the smart spaces that we are developing with our R&D innovation team are designed to function," says Franziska Dolak. Some of the features have already been realized; other aspects will reach that stage at some point. She is convinced, "that smart spaces will create a win-win situation in any relationship – for employees, property investors, and the environment." Talking about win-win, it was on the occasion of a presentation on her first design thinking project at Stanford University that Franziska Dolak met her future superior at Siemens. Her superior to be came up to her after the presentation and said a single sentence: "I want to work with you." After finishing her master’s degree at the University of St. Gallen, the time came – Franziska Dolak joined the central research and development team at Siemens and has held the responsibility of innovations manager for smart spaces at Smart Infrastructure since May 2017. In her role, she pursues a clear goal: "I want to change how people work and live in buildings."
Creative freedom creates smart spaces (and vice versa)
Franziska Dolak works in spaces that have been specially designed with creatives and visionaries in mind – which can be found on the floor above fire alarm production. "We went to the furniture store together and chose the items that support a creative ambience," she explains. "Here, we put the people at the center of what we do and develop the products and services of the future using client-focused approaches that include design thinking and the concept of the lean start-up – from research through opportunity mapping and brainstorming to proof of concept and the actual first product."
The more precisely spaces cater for their users and occupiers, the better these are able to concentrate on their core business activity.Franziska Dolak, R&D Innovations Manager, Smart Infrastructure, Global Headquarters, Zug, Switzerland
Better work climate and improved quality of life
Talking about proof of concept, smart spaces learn from their users and occupiers. They remember the preferred working conditions regarding light, ventilation, and air-conditioning. They cater for individual preferences of employees in order to create the perfect working environment for them. "So people feel good and do the best job possible, we leave nothing to chance," states Franziska Dolak.
Full concentration on the core business activity
"The more precisely spaces cater for their users and occupiers, the better these are able to concentrate on their core business activity." For Franziska Dolak, it is clear that smart spaces make employees more creative and more productive to the extent that they are more dedicated to their work, thereby also leading to fewer absences. "Productivity and work-life integration are being entirely redefined thanks to smart spaces."
Partners in the success of the company
However, it is not only the employees who profit from smart spaces; the company benefits too. The perfect combination of the digital and physical worlds increases productivity, profitability, innovative capacity, and competitiveness. "Much to the joy of the management and stockholders," Franziska Dolak is pleased to say.