The Internet of Things in the Office: Useful Apps and Gadgets in 2018

We’ve written about the Internet of Things (IoT) in the past – you know, the trend that is basically taking over all of our devices? IoT is the concept of our everyday objects being connected to the internet, and subsequently communicating and processing massive amounts of data in real time at an exponential rate.  As a communications firm, we must be up to date on all the devices and gadgets that are becoming connected to the internet, especially when they are related to communication and workplace improvement.

The Internet of Things in the office

For professional translators, IoT will become more important, as devices are able to communicate and translate in real time, thus allowing much more to be done in much less time. There are three main categories of IoT technology that will be useful in the workplace: smart home devices, business-specific devices, and infrastructure devices. While smart home and infrastructure devices will be useful for all office spaces, we’ll delve into how IoT can be useful particularly in the translation and transcription industry later in the article!

First though, let’s look at some smart home devices that could be useful in the office. Speakers like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home Smart speakers can serve as virtual assistants in the office, freeing up employees to either take a long lunch, or get to work on that project that has been lying on the back burner. If you haven’t used Alexa or a similar product, you should try. Not only can smart speakers record your voice, answer the phone, and update your schedule, but you can also have a personal DJ to keep your office mood upbeat and productive. Integrate your smart speaker with the heating or cooling system in your office and you can use your voice to adjust the temperature (or even program the system to adjust on its own!).

We did a little research on some apps or gadgets that could be especially helpful for translators and came up with some ideas that might assist you in your work:

1 – Ili

This is a handheld device that ships from San Francisco. The gadget does one-way translations and works without Wi-Fi, so it could be really helpful when checking your translations and improve your services! This is also especially useful if you are traveling for work – imagine a personal, hand-held translator available to you wherever you go.

2 – Google’s Pixel Buds

Google’s translation earbuds are incredibly useful for translators and writers. The pixel buds connect to Google translate, and although they aren’t perfect (Mashable had professional translators test the accuracy of the translations), they can still be very useful. The buds are able to translate simple general conversations quickly and accurately, which was impressive to the interpreters who were reviewing the products. Of course, some language pairs work better than others, and professional interpreters are still five times faster than Google translate overall!

3 – Grammarly

Have you installed this plugin on your laptop or PC? If not, you should. The free version of this plugin/app will check your e-mails and documents for minor spelling or grammar errors. Similar to the office assistant in Word, Grammarly will underline words that might be incorrect, so you notice before sending or saving. While it seems simple, this tool is extremely useful and you should certainly consider installing for quality control of your work.

4 – Mersiv

This device is truly fascinating: utilizing a camera, microphone, and headphones to identify and tailor mini language lessons that are useful to the user in that moment. The camera hangs on a necklace, allowing it to capture images from the user’s direct point of view which are then used to create the language lessons. The design is very sleek and beautiful, and the device attaches to an app in your phone so you can be actively learning wherever and whenever you want! Although this isn’t exactly business related, it is a perfect example of IoT being useful and interacting with you (and possibly in the future) and your colleagues so you can learn and improve together. We definitely want some of these in the office to learn useful phrases for when we work overseas!

Keep in mind that all of these devices (besides Ili) are online and collecting data to be useful in the future. Imagine that Mersiv creates personalized lessons for you, saves them, and communicates them with Alexa so you can practice speaking in your new language in the office! The possibilities really are endless. We look forward to learning about how you have incorporated IoT in your workplace!