The Future of Work: Collaboration and Technology Drive Workplace Design

GenslerBy David Kung

The design of an architectural space has a direct impact on the way employees think and work within it. Today’s most innovative companies prioritize collaboration in workplace design in order to empower workers as meaningful contributors. In fact, these companies are five times more likely to prioritize both individual and collaborative group workspaces, according to a recent U.S. Workplace Survey by Gensler, the world’s leading global architecture firm.

The three change agents driving the future of work, include: pixel abundance, new spatial computing abilities and Infopresence. Let’s take a closer look at each:

  • More pixels, in more places, for less – In the age of Big Data, there is a huge disparity between the amount of information available to us, and the amount of information that is consumable by us. Pixels are how we consume visual data. While we’ve seen rapid innovation as bandwidth and storage have evolved from being scarce resources to manage, to being abundant resources to exploit, most rooms today don’t have displays, and even the most well-appointed conference rooms may have just a single large screen or projector. The price of pixels is falling fast and with it comes a future where a room may have multiple displays, not just on a single wall, but on every wall, and even every available surface.
  • New spatial computing abilities will enable new experiences – More pixels will only become a reality if they are usable, and here’s where spatial computing plays a role. Spatial computing is a new paradigm in human computer interaction. The dominant model of interaction today is that of a single user, interacting with a single application, on a single screen. This era of personal computing will continue to exist, but a new era of spatial computing is upon us. Spatial computing is computing at architectural scale. It is computing that lives not in devices we hold, but in the real world we inhabit. Like the real world, it is fundamentally spatial and social, where multiple users can interact freely across all the screens available in the space around them.
  • Infopresence will drive the design of future workspaces – Pixel abundant rooms and spatial computing create an experience called Infopresence. Infopresence is a collective experience when all of a team’s critical content and data are both visible and accessible so the team is fully engaged in the work at hand. The future of work will be defined by the use of architectural space and technology so teams can be completely immersed and surrounded by information. By leveraging our powerful and innate visual and spatial cognitive abilities, such spaces will help speed business decisions and solutions to complex business problems.  The result will be an environment of Infopresence that heralds a new era of visual data and collaborative, immersive work.

The construction industry should be prepared for the future of work where immersive technologies and true collaboration become the priority. Collaboration through Infopresence, immersive technologies and new spatial computing abilities will drive business innovations and become the standard for shaping architectural spaces in 2017 and beyond.

dkungDavid Kung is vice president of product strategy for Oblong Industries, where he is responsible for product roadmap and strategy. Prior to Oblong, he served as vice president and creative director at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online. At Creative Artists Agency, he specialized in emerging technology for clients including Coca-Cola, Sprint and Hasbro. Previously, he developed enhanced television programs as a Disney Imagineer and was a design lead with Art Technology Group. He holds degrees from MIT's School of Architecture and the MIT Media Lab.

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