Technology is great.
It allows us to do so much more in less time than our parents, and maybe even our older siblings, thought possible. The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking that even further forward with payment gateways in our phones and jackets, our fridges able to stock themselves (almost) and now even affordable electric cars from Tesla – whatever next!
In the office, the technology is just as useful, but I wonder just how far it could go (let’s assume we are still actually needed shall we) and how much help it could be. What will the office of the future look like?
- Would you need a receptionist or would a hologram of you know when your visitor is coming and simply appear in reception? Presumably they wouldn’t then need to sign in, but how would sales people know who they are up against without a Visitors Book?
- Would smart paper replace your copies of The Economist/Telegraph/The Lawyer so they could read whatever they want if they are early? Perhaps the back could be different to the front – catching up on golf articles whilst others think they are reading Accountancy Age.
- There are times when we still prefer to write stuff, as opposed to typing it. Will technology ever be able to really translate our scribbles into text? I know that you can train the Microsoft Surface, but it is a slow process.
- Would we want dictation software to listen to our thoughts and produce a document without us having to even open our mouths? Who would make sure it put the right thoughts in there
- Even better, imagine simply being able to write on the wall in a group session and the wall generates minutes including all the mindmaps and notes you stuck to it – and cleans itself ready for the next meeting!
- The building already knows when you’re in it, because you’ve swiped your pass. It may even know what rooms you’re in as you pass through various security points, but do we want RFID-style technology knowing where we are without being swiped? Imagine getting a call from the boss saying you’re spending too long in the loo!?!
- Perhaps it would be a good idea for meeting rooms to assess the tone of your voice and politely suggesting the meeting is taking too long and should draw to a close?
- Willy Wonka, the Minister for Magic and Jean-Luc Piccard both had lifts that would take them to any part of a building, why can’t we? Perhaps that’s not a good idea or we will end up looking like the passengers on Wall-e.
- It would be great if the room could check your body temperature and activate the heating/air conditioning as needed. Perhaps that could be tied into the point above?
Your Desk and Chair
- You can already have a desk at whatever height you want and even at whatever angle you want. What more could it do for you?
- Could your screen be a hologram on your desk instead of a physical unit? Perhaps your desk will become your computing power and self-diagnose (we’ll give it our phone number & email) so that it is always performing well, thus allowing you to work at an optimal rate? Does that mean we’ll all have to work the night shift?
- Chairs that automatically adjust for your height, weight, back and how you want to work – without any levers to pull or armrests to yank on? Should it then nudge you to get up and do a little exercise? Will it just become a set of lasers/airjets/hover platforms to keep you off the floors?
- Perhaps your chair should know your diary – and how long it takes you to actually get out the door – so that you aren’t late for meetings?
- Will your desk and chair know when to divert our calls to the implant behind our ear (no phones – this is the future remember!) or when to take a message because you’re in a meeting that will last exactly the amount of time it needs to?
- Perhaps Deskbeers.com could deliver via the desk?
What else would you like your office to do?