Computer peripheral maker Targus announced their first entry into smart office management solutions on Sunday.
The Miralogic Workplace Intelligence System is an Internet of Things (IoT) platform intended to make the lives of IT departments easier by collecting real-time and lifetime data on when and how often desks are used. It also allows help desks to power cycle individual devices on a per-outlet basis, and automates asset management by logging peripherals connected to the Miralogic Universal Smart Dock.
All of these capabilities are provided over a cloud-based management platform that runs in any browser, as well as with apps available for iOS and Android devices. The platform also provides an API for integrating with external support ticketing systems.
Targus is also touting the energy savings of MiraLogic, as the platform can be configured to measure and track energy usage. The management platforms permits administrators to set timers on outlets, allowing outlets to be turned off at a particular interval, such as turning off monitors consuming power in full-power or standby mode overnight.
SEE: Smart office technology: What's working, what's failing, and what users want out of it (Tech Pro Research)
As it is an IoT platform, there are multiple hardware components to MiraLogic. The first is the Universal Smart Dock, which like any other Targus dock (including the recently announced DOCK520USZ), is capable of connecting a variety of peripherals to a central hub, which can then be connected to a notebook PC using a single cable. (A converter is available for companies with existing Targus docking stations.) There are two power supplies: The Miralogic Smart Power Strip, which is controllable per-outlet using the management platform, and a Desktop Power Strip, which provides two power plugs and two USB power connectors, though this is a passive accessory which does not have a smart chip.
There is also the Miralogic Smart Center device, which tracks IR, temperature, and humidity, to determine if an area is being used. In an interview with TechRepublic, representatives from Targus described the benefits of this for large organizations with open office floor plans, with extensive numbers of desk banks. This system can provide intelligence on how frequently individual desks and desk banks in aggregate are being used, and how those trends change throughout the day and over longer spans of time. For example, a desk bank facing a window would likely be used less often during summer in the afternoon, Targus representatives said.
SEE: CES 2019: The big trends for business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)
Open office plans are often maligned for being productivity-killing environments, with a study last July finding that they lead to a sharp decrease of face-to-face interactions at work, while others complain that open office plans pressure employees to look busier to give the appearance of productivity. Representatives from Targus were quick to dismiss fears of Miralogic being used by taskmasters to demand higher performance, noting that data is anonymized and aggregated to see how peripherals are used, not how people work.
Pricing information is not available at present, though the cloud-based management platform may require a subscription on top of the hardware costs. Targus representatives indicated that 10 companies listed in the Fortune 500 are pilot testing the system in January, with general availability anticipated in April.
SEE: CES 2019 news, photos, videos, and more (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The Targus Miralogic platform is positioned as a workplace transformation system, which automates many IT tasks, and provides power savings by virtually unplugging unused devices after hours.
- Miralogic provides utilities for tracking how individual desks and desk banks in aggregate are being used, and how those trends change throughout the day and over longer spans of time.
- Internet of Things (IoT): A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Special report: Sensor'd enterprise: IoT, ML, and big data (TechRepublic download)
- Internet of Things policy (Tech Pro Research)
- What is the Internet of Things? Everything you need to know about IoT right now (ZDNet)
- These smart plugs are the secret to a seamless smart home (CNET)
- Internet of Things and smart cities: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
James Sanders is a technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on Asia.