Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Feel at Home Wherever your Office is

For many years I had an office or should I say a cubical until I finally became self employed. I would put up a few pictures have some toys to play with on my desk and a few other things that made my daily place of work feel a bit more like mine.

But office spaces are changing. Now there are people working from home, sharing desk, open areas with desk all facing each other, etc. These changes are making it difficult to have a personal space that feels like it is "your" desk.

Here is my suggestion. Create some simple cloud based software (why cloud, I will get to that in a minute) and then a simple adapter that will connect to TVs and monitors with very little to no configuration. Think HDMI, Display Port, DVI, VGA, USB. You can then have a personalized space where you can virtually put up pictures, toys, things to play with, notes, a bulletin board, etc. Think widgets galore that you can download and customize. If you have a touch screen even better! Or you could have a device that connects to the side of the screen that will track your finger to make it a touch screen (these already exist).

Now when you sit down and log in to your work computer a proximity device will activate your profile from the cloud and download all your widgets and settings. Including up to date pictures of your family, friends, dog, cat, what you did on your vacation, just save the inappropriate stuff for home. Your profile would even know what devices are where so that picture of you that really shouldn't exist but you think its funny anyways would only display at home.

Your work could have policies that might only allow approved widgets as well as being able to block some or all of your content if there was a complaint. If your work provided the hardware they could register that hardware under their account thus giving them control over it. The content that you own would not be able to be modified or downloaded but could be censored if there was a complaint. The owner/controller of the hardware would never be able to see much more than a small thumbnail representation of your virtual office screens for privacy. Your company would also likely set policies to limit sharing so that you don't waste all day sharing things on their equipment with your friends outside of work.

Based on where you are you can even share with other people. This can be a shared task list and would be based on your location. You could slide a note over to another co-worker or friend from your screen to theirs. The company itself could have a company wide calendar that is mandatory on all screens they own/control.

Customization does not have to stop with a few screens. It could play music (or share music with others that subscribe to you, think being a DJ at work), control the lighting, temperature, how about if your desk itself was a screen.

Now for the cloud part. Here are the reasons for being in the cloud.
 1. Portability - Does not matter where you are, just need an Internet connection.
 2. Ownership - Do you want your work "owning" or storing personal pictures or communications?
 3. Apps or widgets - Almost like an app store but with widget plugins.
 4. Move data around - Because everyone is connected you could use this to send files to each other. Would be limited to just data files, no executable files.

Now to execute this I would suggest a simple Android based system since that eco-system is already developed and is open-sourced. There are many Android devices that simply plug right into an HDMI port (as an example) that are ready to go. Just need some software and a catchy name...

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