Workspace of the Future

 

Herman Trend Alert: Workspace of the Future October 24, 2007

BlueSpace is the name that IBM has given to its next-generation workspace project. This solution encompasses multiple software and hardware components that integrate sensors, actuators, displays, and wireless networks into architectural elements. The goal is to increase knowledge workers' productivity by eliminating unwanted interruptions, improving awareness, and facilitating communication among team members. 

These enhancements are designed to provide greater comfort through personalized environmental settings. This project also seeks to create modular workplace solutions that can be combined in different ways to optimize workspace utilization and worker efficiency. 

The office furniture manufacturer Steelcase has collaborated with IBM to create a prototype at the IBM Industry Solutions Lab in Hawthorne, New York. Demonstrations of some of the devices may be viewed at Steelcase's headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Some of the features of BlueSpace designed to help increase the employee's concentration are a Status Light above the cubicle that, when red, means "do not disturb", an Urgent Messages Screen that alerts sequestered workers to time-sensitive information, and an Office Front Display that shares information about the occupant, such as interests, availability, and current projects.

Two new technologies facilitate people working in collaboration: "MyTeam" uses sensor data to connect team members and to broadcast availability awareness. One touch opens the preferred communication channel, whether it is e-mail, phone, or instant message. Their Everywhere Displays projector transforms any surface into a touch-screen. 

Rather than gathering around a monitor, participants working together may project their work onto tables or walls. Users may interact with the system through simple gestures, detected through vision technology. In particular, the Millennials will not only enjoy the technology, but also will appreciate the opportunity to collaborate remotely.

Further adding to the experience, the BlueSpace occupant will have unprecedented control over his/her physical environment. The BlueScreen information panel provides touch-screen control of the lighting and temperature in the workspace. In addition, the space can sense and automatically adjust the environment to meet the physical preferences linked to identification badge.

IBM demonstrates that the workspace of the future will be more user-supportive and personalized. Read more about IBM's ground-breaking BlueSpace at http://www.research.ibm.com/bluespace/index.html.


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