Industry News




01/21/2002

IBM, Steelcase Form Office Alliance, Unveils 'BlueSpace': Tech Office of the Future

 

Features of BlueSpace Office System

Some features of BlueSpace, a new, interactive office system under joint development by IBM Corp. and Steelcase Inc.:

-BlueScreen: A touch screen that sits next to a user's computer monitor and puts users in control of their physical and virtual environments. Interactive icons let users adjust - with the touch of a finger - temperature, airflow or lighting to suit their preference. Interactive icons also allow workers to access real-time news feeds and better communicate with their team members.

-Everywhere Display: A video projector that displays information on walls, floors, desktops and other surfaces. Wireless sensing technology allows a user's finger to act as a cursor. To help cloak confidential information, the technology also allows a guest badge, as its wearer draws near, to automatically trigger a change in a projected image into something generic.

-Monitor rail: A moving rail that consists of a work surface that travels the length of a work space and a dual-monitor arm that rotates to nearly a complete circle, letting users be positioned almost anywhere.

-Threshold: An L-shaped partial ceiling and wall on wheels that provides on-demand visual and territorial privacy to a user. Color-coded lighting at the top alerts colleagues when an employee is away (blue), busy (red) or accepting visitors (green). An integrated front-panel monitor can display information such as current projects and scheduling to co-workers.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Touch the screen and watch the overhead lights in your office change hue to emulate the late-afternoon sunlight.

Touch the screen again and send more heat to your chilly legs.

Touch it once more and let your co-workers know that you need a little quiet time.

It may sound like the office of tomorrow, but IBM Corp. and office furniture giant Steelcase Inc. are making it the office of today.

The two companies are collaborating to develop BlueSpace, an office system that weds IBM's technological know-how to Steelcase's workplace expertise.

BlueSpace is an office environment intended to enhance productivity, increase employee collaboration and better utilize space. It is also meant to help employers attract and retain quality workers.

``What IBM and Steelcase have done and what BlueSpace represents ... is a lot of knowledge that we have gained over the last number of years on work performance and work process and technology integration,'' said Angela Nahakian, director of marketing of advanced concepts for Grand Rapids-based Steelcase.

Among BlueSpace's features are BlueScreen, an intuitive touch-screen that sits adjacent to a user's computer monitor and ``puts users in control of their physical and virtual environments,'' as the companies' joint news release says.

Users can use the screen to check their planning calendars, adjust the light or room temperature, access real-time news feeds or communicate with their co-workers.

In the BlueSpace system, the computer monitor and touch screen are mounted on a rail that slides horizontally, adjusts vertically and rotates to almost a complete circle. This allows a user to sit almost anywhere in an office and face almost any direction.

Another feature is the threshold, a mobile partial wall and ceiling that can be rolled the length of the workspace to provide on-demand privacy. An integrated front-panel monitor can display information such as current projects and scheduling to colleagues.

``It's a way of enhancing privacy without building walls around you,'' said Joel Stanfield, a Steelcase research engineer working on the project.

BlueSpace also offers something appropriately named the Everywhere Display, a new product from Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM that crisply projects video information onto walls, floors or desktops.

The device's wireless sensing technology allows a finger to act as a cursor. To help cloak confidential information, the technology also allows a guest badge, as its wearer draws near, to automatically trigger a change in a projected image into something generic.

Michael Karasick, chief technology officer of the IBM's Pervasive Computing Division, described the latter feature as ``the equivalent of slamming the laptop down when somebody comes into your office.''

IBM and Steelcase are working with a half-dozen companies - ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations - to evaluate BlueSpace and gather feedback about its existing design and functionality.

Select companies will take part in pilot projects within six to nine months. Representatives of both IBM and Steelcase declined to estimate when BlueSpace will be readily available on the market.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality. 

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
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