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Distant, but close: a new way to experience spaces in the “liquid” office

The experience of the past months has been an opportunity to reflect on the office of the future. Here's how we imagined it. Translated from Italian

01 February 2021 • 3 min read

Covid-19 has revolutionised our lives, forcing us to change the way we live everyday life, work and do business.

Even if we have left the lockdown behind us, at this moment it is not possible to think of returning to life as before, but we need to design a new everyday life, a “new normal”. In this, technology can be an important ally. In fact, in recent months we have seen how the adoption of digital services has spread rapidly, driven by the need to maintain social distancing: from meetings to lessons, from shopping to sport.

Now, with the return to the offices, technology also helps us to create a new way of living spaces and working, with innovative solutions that can be sustainable over time.

How to return to the office while ensuring the safety of our people?

This question gave us an opportunity to rethink our relationship with workspaces thanks to technology. The goal is to humanise the spaces, creating a responsive environment capable of adapting to the needs and activities of people, through multimedia contents that change according to the subject of a meeting, a workshop or a client.

The realisation of this concept began with the development of Sobos, a system that allows all employees to book their place in the office via a mobile app and see how many seats are actually available in the offices, at any given time. Through the app, in fact, it is possible to see the map of each office and the areas where there are desks available, so that everyone can choose in which area to work based on the activities they have to carry out.

The goal is to humanise the spaces, creating a responsive environment capable of adapting to the needs and activities of people.

This system is not only a practical way to find a desk, it benefits the entire organisation. For example, those who deal with the facility are able to monitor how many desks are actually used and can collect data on the actual occupation of the spaces.

Sobos is already integrated with our IoT HOT-SPOT platform(Hub Of Things-Smart Platform Of Things) based on sensors and stereoscopic cameras, which allow to monitor the occupation of spaces in real-time and to create a more sustainable office, for example by adapting lighting and air conditioning to the number of people present in the room.

The office of the future is already here

From this first experimentation, various scenarios for the future open up, which point towards the creation of a real “liquid” office, which people can access via an app or facial recognition and which adapts to the people connected at any given time. A truly touchless experience, in which badges become superfluous: this is made possible by solutions such as the smart locks that NTT DATA is developing together with the startup Sofìa, made intelligent by IVE (Intelligent Virtual Entity) technology and the Blue virtual assistant.

Further evolutions of the facial recognition system will allow, for example, to recognise the people who access the spaces and to know instantly if they are employees or visitors. Based on this distinction, and thanks to Artificial Intelligence it is possible to readjust spaces, showing different information.

An avatar will go to the office for you

Technology can also help in reducing the stress and isolation that some people have experienced while working remotely, due to the difficulty of managing numerous calls and the lack of a direct relationship with colleagues.

In the future, we will be able to have a virtual avatar through which to communicate with colleagues as if everyone were in the same room. Thanks to AI, in fact, such a system will also be able to show documents and information in real-time related to the theme of the meeting and facilitate communication between international teams with simultaneous translation of conversations.

Science fiction? In reality, the office of the future is closer than we imagine.

Find out how NTT DATA can help your company develop innovative solutions for employees and customers in just a click.

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