Future Technology in the workspace is going to benefit architects, designers and the clients of the two. That’s because devices such as smart phones, desktops and laptops are getting smaller. The size reduction and improved portability of these devices will reduce need for office space. But these changes should not put architects and designers out of business. The key words here are “size reduction” and “improved portability”. This simply means that the designing and planning of these spaces will be easier and more economical.
Because today’s computer technology is so mobile and becoming more so, employees will be more on the move than ever. This will especially be the case with wearable technology, such as the Apple iWatch, as it becomes more mainstream. Employees’ work will not only be done in the work place and, in many cases, not even in their own homes but just about anywhere. According to the Huffington Post, Dr. James Canton, CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, says that by the year 2025 wearable devices will connect the world through Internet to the extent of making real-time access to employment much easier than it is today.
Like Internet was accommodated for smart devices through apps, virtual reality (VR) will also likely be accommodated for them. Therefore VR will also be assessable for people on the move. So VR’s flexibility for smaller devices will reduce the need for office space. But it will probably not take away the need for the office since its very nature will allow for the more stationary employees to communicate from the workspace. This would be especially so for confidential conferences and meetings. According to Dr. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, within the next 10 years people will frequently use VR to meet with each other even when separated by hundreds of miles.
So why a need for the office? Certain projects and events will still require the permanent workspace. After all, we are social beings and not machines, so we need to be face-to-face at certain times. Face-to-face communication is a basic element in human existence which can never be completely substituted by distant communication technology such as email, webcam and even VR. Tracy Mayor of Computerworld.com says of collaboration on future IT that “being in the same room at the same time is often enormously beneficial . . . .”
Collaboration is another reason designing office space would be easier and more economical. The newer collaborative model of the office environment is calling for office space design to be based off of open-space, co-opt models. Therefore there will not be a need for as many closed off rooms that serve the older hierarchical model. Mayor says that “it’s certainly more cost-effective to eliminate physical barriers . . . .”
Reduced hardware size and, consequently, reduced workspace will allow for more time and money to be invested in training employees to perform higher quality work and for architects and designers to make room for more clients in their schedules.