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Will the Need to Host Technology in Furniture Diminish?

Technology

In a recent Inscape discussion group we asked industry leaders in interior design, architecture, facilities and brokerage to assess how well office furniture manufacturers were doing at meeting current workspace needs. Part of this exercise was a gap analysis where the participants ranked the importance of a particular issue- (for example, “supporting mobility”) against how well the industry does at meeting that need. Spaces and products that promote employee well-being was ranked as very important by our group but they felt the current offering in that category was very low. This gap between importance and availability indicates an opportunity for additional development.

One of the more interesting results of this session was the prediction that hosting technology would become far less important in the future. Without question technology support is still an important driver in comparing products from different manufacturers. All of the major players, including Inscape, have invested in R&D to create products that distribute power and data easily and have done a good job meeting the current need. But is the time coming when wireless technology and worker mobility will be so ubiquitous that being tethered to a desk by a tangle of wires will be unnecessary?

Christopher Budd, Principal at Studios Architecture speaks about smart infrastructures where the desk itself almost becomes irrelevant and certainly isn’t necessary to support your electronic devices. For many years we have been integrating furniture and technology but our group posed the question: “Is it time to start thinking about decoupling?”

| By Michael Fazio

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Quotable

“A mega-trend is sharing instead of ownership of workspaces. We can either all ride in coach or we can share a private jet.”

Chris Blackadder
Principal, Woods Bagot