Whether 2021 or 2030, workspaces are being reimagined…

7:32 pm  |  09.02.2021

Connect with colleagues virtually to get through a work day

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Connect with colleagues virtually to get through a work day? That’s so 2020-ish. The future of workplaces will still have elements of operating remotely… but with employees able to go beyond images to actually experiencing the senses. Ericsson, the Swedish telecom equipment maker, calls it the onset of ‘internet of senses’.Image Credit: Ericsson

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Does that sound way too outlandish for you? This is what Ericsson Research has to say: “Realistic immersion means going beyond video and sound, beyond AR and VR; it also means digitally communicating touch, taste, smell and the feeling of heat or cold.” And future can make what’s outlandish seem reasonably close at hand. “Our vision is that a decade from now, advanced technology and 5G networks could enable such a full internet of senses.”Image Credit: Ericsson

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Much better video quality comes with the territory. But as organisations move towards blended working ways, even after the pandemic spread is finally arrested, workplaces will have to evolve. Video meetings have to “enable the experience of collaborating in the same room with colleagues — which is a reason why interest in AR/VR technology has grown rapidly over the last six months,” the report finds.Image Credit: Ericsson

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Recreate workplaces… at home? The workplace recreation will not be limited to having a state-of-the-art device or top-notch connectivity. “During isolation people everywhere are re-discovering the importance of the smells and the flavors and the sheer physicality of the locations they normally frequent and do business in,” Ericsson Research adds. “In fact, the pandemic has created a tipping point for what white-collar workers expect of the future digital office.”Image Credit: Ericsson

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Ericson defines such workplaces as the “dematerialised office”. Here’s how it is likely to be: “By 2030, your laptop may have been replaced by a digital workstation that allows for full virtual presence anywhere. That would mean that not only do your colleagues appear and sound totally real, but you could also use anything in the room, and everything would feel real to the touch and smell right.”Image Credit: Ericsson

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Stock future workplace AI meeting
Even consumers can be approached and deals negotiated and won this way. It’s all in the “immersive” environment new-age technologies can provide. “Providing immersive full-sense sales environments that allow for completely natural-feeling interaction with prospective buyers will be crucial,” the report notes. “Your company’s products could be sold in a virtual mall where customers handle them as if they were real. “This includes feeling surface textures and smelling items.”Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Stock future workplace AI meeting
Acquired tastes! At full bloom, the internet of senses and its enabling technology will be used inside companies. Even extending to the food served.Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Stock future workplace AI meeting
This is what respondents to the survey had to say: “73 per cent of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030, opening up for optimization of both cost and perceived quality.”Image Credit: Shutterstock

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stock work office
What of the present? The pandemic’s has completely altered the concept of space and how it gets used within work environments. This year, with businesses obsessing about costs, it can show up in their preferences for space. But down the line, there would be “Relaxing seating densities, and collaborative spaces are likely to be a more permanent feature in a post-COVID office environment,” according to the latest update from the consultancy JLL. “This will mean more meeting rooms, more video/VR space, and more space dedicated to green space as well as health and wellbeing. “Office design will need to factor this in and support the strategy around an all-round best-in-class employee experience.”Image Credit: Shutterstock

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How about working from a hotel? You have heard all about staycations… now, get ready for some heavy ‘workations’ as well. Hotels in the region are aiming to “capitalise on the pent-up global demand for workations, driven in the main by the social restrictions imposed by governments over the past 10 months,” according to the organisers of Arabian Travel Market.Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

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Stock Dubai hotel tourists tourism economy
“Staycations created the initial demand after lockdown, the next step has been the continued growth of workations, which are also referred to as ‘bleisure’ stays, which tend to bring in more visitors from overseas,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director – M.E., Arabian Travel Market. “Longer term, the on-the-go’ executive will be a far more common sight in hotels, whether it’s Gen Z singletons, millennial professionals, or freelancers who can earn a living from a laptop.”Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

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Sign of the times… “The introduction of the workation concept is not just a novel idea, it’s about making adjustments to meet the new market demands, allowing those who are not currently working from their office to enjoy a luxury hospitality experience whilst continuing their work commitments,” said Mark Kirby, COO of Emaar Hospitality. Whether it’s visualizing what’s in store for offices in 10 years or re-purposing space for today’s need, it’s a time to get creative…Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

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