What’s Inside the Connected Workplace of Tomorrow?

A few use cases for pervasive identity and how technology can be used to support a more connected workplace and improve end-user experience.

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Identity at the workplace

It is a bright sunny morning, you walk into office and swipe your ID card to enter your office premises. Ever wondered how much more simpler it would have been if your mobile phone doubled up as your access card? Well, this is now possible. From booking conference rooms online, instead of running around at the last minute looking for a room, to managing cab bookings, keeping a check on the amount of calories consumed in a day, the modern enterprise is enhancing work experience for its employees thereby fostering productivity. What is also essential is to keep in mind that there are no compromises on the security of identities.

The concept of pervasive identity has been around for a while but organizations have struggled with technology and privacy implications. As the workforce evolves, the workplace needs to be more ‘connected’ and offer employees the best work experience.  

The Technology Behind a Connected Workplace

The best practice approach to make enterprise systems identity aware is leveraging existing trusted identity credentials and authentication mechanisms, that utilise infrastructure, that is already in place. Streamlining the end-user experience is much more desirable, so using a single, more universal credential that can be validated by different enterprise systems is preferable to carrying multiple tokens connected to disparate systems. Trusted IDs can be programmed either at issuance or when another system is brought inline and made identity aware. In the case of a lost or stolen credential, the compromised identity can be quickly and seamlessly revoked across an enterprise.

Enterprise systems can be made identity aware by embedding a credential reader within the system, which communicates with the host system(s) over standardized protocols like USB, and do not require a complete revamp of the systems.

This article will examine a few use cases for pervasive identity and how technology can be used to support a more connected workplace and improve end-user experience.

Physical Access Control and Proof of Presence

As users approach the door to enter the building with a credential,  the same trusted ID used to unlock the door can record entry/exit times via an integrated time and attendance (workforce management) system. This universal credential can also be used to establish proof of presence or to deliver relevant, location-based emergency messages to people in the building. Areas that require stricter access control can add a layer of biometric verification where needed.  Identity aware integrated workforce management systems can thus result in significant savings while ensuring compliance and a more seamless user experience.

Access to Networked Services and Applications

In a connected workplace, users can perform daily tasks in any available space through a pooled virtualised desktop environment (VDI). VDI not only delivers a convenient, seamless experience but also improves IT support, security and availability. Current VDI implementations still require users to authenticate to the network using username/password to gain access to applications and services. This friction can be eliminated with identity aware VDI clients.

Secure Printing Applications

Cost savings has been a primary driver for managed print services. Print devices that are identity aware and centrally managed add security and fulfill most regulatory compliance directives. According to a recent study on the Managed Print Services landscape, conducted by the research firm, Quocirca, 61 per cent of organisations have reported at least a single print-related data breach in the past year. Organisations who have deployed identity aware managed print services reported 23 per cent cost savings.

Unified Collaboration

Audio/ Video conferencing has become more prevalent over the years as travel has become more expensive, and time is of the essence. However, poor sound, visual quality and technical challenges can cause difficulty in connecting, and therefore make collaboration and co-creation in the workplace challenging.

An identity aware collaboration system can synchronise with the meeting management application and individuals’ calendars. It results in seamlessly setting up meetings with zero touch and helps eliminate connection issues on both ends.

Employee Wellness Applications

Employee wellness is the new mantra for the distributed workplace design. From in-house gymnasiums to activity trackers, employers are providing tools and incentives for their employees to stay healthy and be more productive while cutting costs. However, privacy concerns have hampered the adoption of such initiatives. Making the wellness system identity aware and masking personally identifiable data can help address privacy concerns while providing security and convenience to employees.

The distributed workplace relies on agility. Designed to enable higher productivity, better collaboration and more co-creation, the focus on employee well-being is best enabled by a more universal approach to identity. A secure embedded reader can help these disparate systems become identity aware without the need to access a common identity data base. This design delivers a better end-user experience, centralized management and increased cost savings for the employers.



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