Posted By Simon Montford on Sept 26, 2014
Today most things found in offices are 'dumb', we're referring to things not people, you understand, will increasingly become 'smarter'. Here is a list of smart objects that are likely to appear in offices throughout the world within the next few years.
1. Employees Will Act Like Robots
This technology is more sci-fact than fiction. A company called Double Robotics has developed a weird contraption that looks like the love child of an iPad and Segway. If you can't be bothered to get out of bed - this is for you! Simply tell your boss you're working remotely, splash water on your face and apply makeup (if necessary), remain in your PJs and work colleagues will be none the wiser! Sweet.
2. Smart Trash Cans aka Dustbins
Say goodbye to inefficiency when it comes to refuse collection. Office cleaners will be able to use an app that tells them which bins need emptying, saving them time and effort needlessly chasing after half empty bins. Cisco and AGT have announced that they will collaborate on 'smart city' technologies that do the same, but on an industrial scale. All those large dumpsters that clog up parking lots outside office buildings will contain sensors. Companies like Blue City and Urbiotica aim to help government reduce needless visits to half empty skips. This will reduce congestion, pollution and fuel consumption. Let's hope that translates into a reduction in office rates and council tax!
3. A "Watson" On Every Desktop
We're not sure exactly when the singularity will actually take place (email us if you know) but silicon is getting seriously smart these days and artificial intelligence will increasingly make its way into the work place. Many of us already routinely benefit from A.I. as it is built into most modern smartphones. "Really?" we hear you say. Well yes, Apple's 'Siri' and 'Google Now' both use A.I. to respond to our incessant questions. If it's industrial strength A.I. you're after that is capable of answering far more than "yo where's the nearest PizzaHut?" only IBM's Watson will do. All workplaces of the future will come with its own office 'know-it-all'. In this case the smartass of the future really will have all the answers!
4. The Office Robot
Robots are already starting to enter the work place. One example of robots already widely in use, are vacuum cleaners such as iRobot's Roomba or Dyson's 360 Eye. Also expect to the see 'printer robots' like this one by Fuji/Xerox.
According to some "futurists" we won't even need an office, in the traditional bricks and mortar sense, at all. MIT Media Lab's 'Recompose Project' is already cooking up some cool tech that will do stuff like project an office environment in three dimensions so we can work from anywhere alongside virtual colleagues. We hope there will be a virtual 'on/off' switch waiting for us in the future so when that hangover gets a little too much we can make everything and everyone magically disappear at the touch of a button. As a fan of the show "Silicon Valley" we found this scene about the boss of a purely fictional company that's not Google, hilarious.
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