Microsoft launches eLocker for hybrid working offices
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Smart Lockers for a Smarter Workplace: eLocker Supplies 1500+ Lockers In Game-Changing Solution for Microsoft
“Our Workforce loves eLocker, I’d love to have relationships with all of our partners and vendors like we have with eLocker. It was great to work together to ensure that the right adjustments could be made. We were able to build trust and develop a great working relationship throughout this project.”
Flexible working has become the norm in the tech industry. While hoteling and flexible seating arrangements have reduced office square footage requirements, improved employee engagement, and provided consistency for satellite offices, it has also created numerous security issues for employees rotating in and out various offices.
Global tech giant Microsoft was no exception. The company headquarters in Seattle had been relying on mechanical lockers in its Azure smart spaces, but quickly discovered that mechanical locks didn’t fit the bill. Lost master keys, scrambled combination locks and limited options led to delays, unnecessary expenses and endless frustrations for staff and the Work Area Management Team.
Dave Muench, Principal Program Manager of the Secure Work Area Infrastructure and Foundations Team at Microsoft, approached eLocker to devise a smarter, more efficient solution that would meet Microsoft’s stringent security and storage requirements.
The Challenge at Microsoft
Microsoft initially depended on standard office storage solutions where staff could store bags and mobile phones while hoteling at the office, including cubbies, mechanical storage lockers and combination-locked units to store valuables.
Employees shared the office space on a rotational basis using a hoteling system, which required a shared storage model with adequate security. “Not everyone realises how important lockers are and why flexibility matters,” Muench states. “It was very important to find the right solution for our very specific needs. The lockers we were using were cost-effective, but invariably, keys would go missing and locks needed to get replaced or repaired over time. Combination locks came with their own set of problems. Employees would forget their combination, or forget which locker they used, which meant they used their combination on someone else’s locker and locked the other person out.”
What may seem like minor frustration quickly resulted in unnecessary business costs as maintenance teams were regularly occupied with repairs, resets, or randomisation of combination locks in an attempt to keep the locker system (and staff) operational.
“Our building had much higher traffic and much more stringent security requirements than other offices might have, due to the nature of our speciality program and our hoteling workforce,” says Muench. “We need a localised space for storage that could create a funnel where items could be securely stored because our employees don’t have dedicated desks. We knew we needed a solution that would fit our unique work pattern and use case.”
The eLocker Difference
eLocker met with the project team to discuss their requirements and visited the premises to determine how to best use the space at their disposal. The eLocker team worked closely with Microsoft to ensure that all standards were carefully met, including Microsoft’s unique firmware and security requirements. By the end of the project, Microsoft’s headquarters were equipped with more than 1,500 smart lockers.
eLocker designed a bespoke keyless, transparent smart locker system that satisfied all of Microsoft’s conditions including:
As staff rotated in and out of the Microsoft office, the company required a shared solution. Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of their work, the company also had unique firmware requirements that needed to be met. eLocker was able to work with the project team to devise a solution that would enable staff to secure their possessions whenever they booked a desk in the building, without requiring a key or combination.
As employees don’t have dedicated lockers, they would often forget which locker they used. This led to employees using their combinations on the wrong locker, effectively locking two people out and causing frustration for office and maintenance employees alike. eLocker was able to provide secure, transparent lockers that eliminated confusion and added greater visibility to aid their security teams. “We were able to eliminate most of the human errors that were causing major frustrations for us thanks to eLocker,” Muench says.
eLockers are not only functional, but modern, adding a high-tech dimension to the workspace and leaving a positive impression. “Our workforce loves it,” says Muench. “eLocker is a cut above standard lockers. They light up and come with innovations most staff have never seen before, like charging ports for laptops and smart cards. It’s an extension of our office and really provides a wow factor for customers and staff. Any tour of Microsoft starts in the locker room now. eLockers are exactly what lockers should look like at a leading tech space.”
Checking the Right Boxes
Microsoft’s Secure Work Area Infrastructure and Foundations Team are mandated to create innovative spaces that address four key pillars: security, accountability, efficiency and functionality. “eLockers are a hallmark innovation for our team,” Muench says. “I’m most proud of the fact that these lockers are in line with all of our guideposts.”
The End Result
eLocker has reduced the locker management time for the maintenance staff and Microsoft employees by creating an automated, keyless, shared storage system that not only meets practical security requirements but gives the office a high-tech aesthetic in line with the company’s brand and ethos of innovation. “We’ve had rave reviews from employees. Whenever we show the lockers to visitors or new hires, we get a satisfying, wide-eyed look from all of them,” Muench says.
eLocker launched innovative smart staff lockers across a number of Amazon warehouses in the EU. Starting with a single-site rollout of 2,200 storage lockers and rollout of over 11,000 lockers in Germany
eLocker supports Motorola in helping a public service use smart lockers to be able to access mission-critical devices at any time, as well as allowing them to track what devices are being used and when
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