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Technological trends we will see at the office in the next five years

Progressive organizations will continue to improve their office environment, as to remain an attractive employer for both existing and new employees. But, also to be able to work increasingly efficiently and thus be more productive. Good cooperation in this is essential. The spaces in a building are increasingly being adapted to this. And the following technological trends will make a positive contribution to this in the next five years. 

1. Less resistance to data sharing 
"Smart buildings" are buildings that are getting ‘smarter’. Firstly, by collecting data about (the activities) of users, visitors or systems within and around a building. Secondly, by correlating these data sources to make informed decisions about these systems. An important condition for a smart building to be effective is to answer simple questions such as "Who is in the building?", "Where is the person located?" and "What is he or she doing there?". Although technology has been able to answer these types of questions for quite some time, the recurring theme of security throws a spanner in the works. Users or visitors to a property must use an opt-in so that their data can be used. And that happens too little.
Less than 7% of users allow their data to be used by smart buildings according to building management providers. This can have two causes: on the one hand, people do not trust the systems and do not want privacy-sensitive data, such as where they are in the building, to be processed.

On the other hand, they may not see the benefits of using this data. My expectation is that this will change in the next five years and that more and more people start opting in. Why? Because the benefits of sharing their data with end users are becoming clearer, especially to the new generation of employees. Think of increasingly easier and quicker access to applications and other technology. 

Conditions for successful Virtual Collaboration

2. Company independent roaming profiles thanks to blockchain 
An office building is not only there for employees. Even people who are not part of your organization such as customers, consultants or partners must be able to use the available technology without unnecessary barriers and get quick access to their own documents and applications instantly. Today, systems are set up in such a way that only your own employees have quick access to this. Where all employee data is already stored in the environment of the organization and they can therefore be identified immediately after logging in, but this does not yet apply to any visitor. I expect that, thanks to blockchain technology, more and more organizations will start working with company-independent profiles within the next five years. Blockchain is used to get a universal trust in the profile and to ensure tamper free data. In these so-called roaming profiles, people can store all sorts of data and applications that they can use and connect to regardless of location. By only linking your profile when you visit a new office location, you can immediately use the technology in the various activity-based workspaces. For example, to start working in your own Microsoft Teams environment and get a meeting started without the usual start-up problems around federation and access issues.

3. Emergence of content-aware applications with voice control 

If you have a video call today where several people are in the same room, not everyone is always clearly visible. This depends on how a camera is set up and that often has to be operated manually. Content-aware applications will respond to where audio is coming from and adjust the camera settings accordingly. For example, by zooming in on the person who is speaking in the meeting. These applications will also be controlled by voice control, so that you can, for example, record the video meeting just by asking. And when a meeting is recorded, what is said in the meeting is also automatically transscribed and even translated. On the webpage where the recording is stored, you can even search for topics, people and even subjects that were discussed in the meeting. In addition to the video, suggestions are also shown with content from external web pages that deal with the same subject. Some providers even have this today, but we expect this will become a standard features in all collaboration tools within 5 years.

4. No need for wires and cables
Wireless display technology is mostly solved today, even though some people still want to use a cable. You want to start a video call without any start-up problems, so you are on time for the meeting. Then you discover another issue, your laptop is almost empty. Unfortunately, a charger is not at hand, or even better, the only power socket in the room is already taken. Now a problem, but not in the foreseeable future. Where it is already possible to charge your mobile phone wirelessly in tables, more and more devices in the dynamic workspace office will follow. And therefore, I expect charging cables are no longer needed in conference rooms within the next five years. I even expect that it will be possible to put your laptop on the table in meeting rooms and that it will then be charged automatically. Another step in working more efficiently!

Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Activity Based Workspaces

Georg Thingbø

About Georg Thingbø

Georg Thinbo is CTO at Kinly

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