It’s funny how some visions of the future get it bang-on while others can be wildly inaccurate or out-of-date.
Visions in the workplace vary particularly widely - and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what tech inventions will help us to continually progress in the near future.
But there are some brilliant videos around that give us an insight into what could be on the cards in the next 5-50 years. It's also interesting to see how companies envisaged office environments 20 years ago or more, as you'll see below.
One company that’s always been at the forefront of ambition and innovation is Apple and, as the video below shows, the visions they had for the future have progressed into fully-fledged, universally coveted products in less than 30 years. Here, we see the Apple Knowledge Navigator of 1987. Have a look and see how many similarities you can spot in Apple’s product line now:
The iPad is a clear progression of everything that Apple envisaged in this video, from the upcoming Siri integration to video calls to the intuitive touch screen that we take for granted today. Sure, not all of the functionality exists today, but it’s quite unnerving to see just how right Apple got the future office concept.
Long before the 1987 video from Cupertino, Tomorrow’s World gave us an insight into the future office with this feature, first aired on 16 April 1969.
The bizarre automated desk seems to be an all-in-one robotic secretary without the unreliability and attitude associated with human counterparts. The executive is free to get on with his work with no distractions and there are some similarities with the technological advancements that were to come, but for the most part it does not factor in the huge progression in such a small time frame.
Fast forward to the creative thinking of today and some businesses are predicting some intriguing changes, not just in the office, but in all aspects of life. Microsoft’s Glimpse Ahead video highlights their vision of how the digital world will have progressed by 2019, and it’s interesting to note some radical advancements in technology:
According to Microsoft, our lives will be enhanced with automatic translation tools, actual digital newspapers, interactive walls and desks, super-thin tablets and digital wallets. It’s clear that the visionaries expect technology and gadgets to be accessible to everyone, with ever-smaller and cheaper microchips and transistors enabling ultra-compact devices that will make today’s tablets look like the Colossus computer.
There are other concepts surfacing that should soon be implemented in many business environments. One such idea is the Steelcase Projection - a video calling booth with improved acoustics, natural-effect lighting and comfortable seats. In the middle of the workstation is an iPad with an app that lets you control the light and sound as well as any documents or media you need to display whilst on the video call. It’s a simple but effective solution to one issue in the office environment and one that can increase productivity and effective communication:
The next big thing for some creative minds is the virtual office. Yes, instead of having to actually commute to the bricks and mortar office every day, instead we could sit on the sofa – or anywhere that takes our fancy – and log in to what is effectively a corporate version of World of Warcraft or PlayStation Home.
Crayon, an innovative marketing company, has already openly embraced a virtual office and, for their needs, it works extremely efficiently. Without doubt, there a few industries whereby the virtual office could easily be implemented within just a few months.
Does this sound ideal to you? Or would you much rather the traditional office stayed put for the foreseeable future? Let us know below.