This article was written for our sponsor, Gig East.

Wilson is no stranger to innovation.

From city-wide gigabit internet to co-working space at the Gig East Exchange to resources offered by the Wilson Chamber of Commerce and Wilson Economic Development Council, there’s no shortage of access to first-class technology.

The latest addition to Wilson’s technology landscape? A partnership between Cisco and the Exchange to create “DNA spaces.”

“We were really looking to drive some conversations around an inclusive recovery for all, and it’s an incredible and exciting time to be in technology. The workplace has changed and frankly, what is required in the workspace has changed, as well,” said Scott Aaron, director of operations sales at Cisco. “Technology like our Cisco DNA spaces will enable that safe, secure and productive workspace while also meeting the flexibility demands of the workforce and make that return to work successful.”

Aaron said Cisco DNA spaces is essentially a location cloud platform that allows businesses to gain insights and deliver more personalized services to customers within their business locations. In a co-working space like Wilson’s Gig East Exchange, technology like this can help maximize the use of space — especially returning to work post-pandemic.

“It’s going to allow companies to really impact that workforce experience and offer perks for return customers, whether that’s free coffee on your fourth visit or push notifications about upcoming events,” said Aaron. “As we come out of the pandemic, it can also help with the idea of social distancing. For instance, if devices are recognized as being too close together or violating some social distancing policies, managers at that site can be alerted to the situation and be proactive in efforts to maintain social distance requirements within that building.”

DNA spaces can also help monitor occupancy by counting the number of connected devices on the network, preventing any overcrowding.

While the Exchange hasn’t opened to full capacity yet, the Cisco technology brings plenty of opportunities.

“We haven’t really done our grand opening because we don’t want to overwhelm the space until COVID dies down, but there’s so much potential with DNA spaces. When we host events, we can see how many people came to that event just by their phone probing the Wi-Fi,” said Korey Lee, a network analyst for the City of Wilson. “Once visitors come to the location and onboard the Wi-Fi, it’ll ask for their email address and cell phone number. What that helps us do is see how they interact with the space, then re-engage with them down the line about certain events or offerings.”

While the Exchange hasn’t hosted any major events yet, even now in the early days of implementation, the benefits of the technology are already being seen.

“Through DNA spaces, we are able to use data in real-time to enhance the Gig East Exchange building beyond its potential. DNA spaces helps us figure out everything from where the Wi-Fi dead spots are to understanding people’s behavior,” said Lee. “Are the people working inside the space on the first or second floor? Which room or offices are the most utilized? Using DNA spaces helps us enhance this experience for these employees, improve their productivity and optimize the whole workspace.”

Through the DNA spaces technology and partnership with Cisco, the Exchange is prepared to lead the innovative push into what the workplace of tomorrow will look like. In a post-COVID world, that means safety and flexibility.

“Work has changed, and the way that we’re engaging has changed — what we’re about to be focusing on is driving this inclusive recovery for all. DNA spaces is going to enable that safe, secure, and productive workplace,” said Aaron. “Life isn’t static, and people aren’t either, so our work experience should match that reality. Ultimately what I think is going to be coming from this is extraordinary innovation, meaningful human connections, and the ability for those things to not be tied to one place. Our initiative around the Gig East Exchange building and our partnership there is really going to help tie people who can be anywhere at any time and have those meaningful engagements and relationships.”

“We’re really proud of our partnership with the city of Wilson and the Gig East Exchange building because they’re constantly innovating, thinking ahead and trying to make a difference in our community,” finished Aaron. “Cities like the City of Wilson — the more they lean into that focus, the better off we’re all going to be.”

This article was written for our sponsor, Gig East.