How Innovative Technology Has Transformed the Workplace

With the 4th of July falling on a Wednesday this year, most people are likely going to take off the first or second half of the week. Also, many people will be working remotely, as many offices have become much more flexible for employees schedules, especially around the holidays.

One of the reasons for this kind of flexibility is the explosion of mobile technology that facilitates teleworking. As an employee, I love the ability to be able to work in a flexible environment. This is not just because of the workplace flexibility, it’s also a big push for my productivity. What I have found is that often if I spend a day working remotely, I come back to the office feeling recharged. Also, I always think it is good to mix up your surroundings a bit while working. If it’s taking an hour or so to work in your local coffee shop, or taking a quick walk around the block during office hours, sometimes mixing up your routine prompts new creativity.

One of the interesting technologies we have seen in the private sector comes from Microsoft and XBOX 360’s soon to be released SmartGlass technology. Chris Baker, of Wired Gamelife writes, “With it [SmartGlass], your smartphone or iPad can browse HBO Go’s offerings and cue up an episode of Game of Thrones, then as you watch on TV, your device will display helpful info, like a map of where characters are in the fictional land of Westeros, or a chart explaining the genealogy of the various characters. You can use SmartGlass in conjunction with a karaoke game to let other players pick the songs they want to perform while someone else is singing. Up to four devices can connect to the Xbox simultaneously. Your external device’s touchscreen can become a combination keyboard and trackpad in conjunction with the new web browser for Xbox.” Another great article and video demo on SmartGlass comes from the Washington Post, Microsoft Glass: A First Look, written by Bryan Bishop. Be sure to check it out to see the technology.

While this development is awesome for gamers, and a feature I am really excited to test out, it is also an interesting development for the workplace. With the ability to seamlessly move between screens to highlight and share new information, there is increasing potential to use SmartGlass technology in the workplace. We constantly multitask at the workplace, and with SmartGlass technology, it will become much easier to share information on devices and across multiple screens. SmartGlass holds the potential to be another form of collaboration along with the various tools in the Microsoft suite.

With the ability to instantly collaborate on devices, whether it be through video, Microsoft word documents, or any of the Microsoft suite, being connected is easier than ever before. And now, with technology like SmartGlass technology, it is becoming increasingly easier to manage all the different kinds of collaboration tools we use.

Cool technology is being developed everyday and at an incredibly fast rate. I can’t wait for SmartGlass technology to become live and to test it out on my XBOX. Thinking through all the technological improvements is a reminder to me that in our personal and professional lives, the concept of being disconnected has become completely archaic. The ability to connect across devices and stay in tune with the workplace is something that has completely transformed the workplace. But, with the ease of connectivity, it’s also critical that you find time to relax and unplug. So the lesson is to enjoy the ability of a flexible work environment thanks to technology, but also know that you need to always find time to relax and unplug. I’d say spending the 4th of July with friends, family and enjoying a barbeque is a great start.

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Chris Cairns

In the consumer world, SmartGlass sounds pretty cool. Sounds very similar to Apple’s AirPlay. You mention that the SmartGlass technology could be applied in the workplace. In what specific ways do you think?

Pat Fiorenza

It does sound a lot like AirPlay…think there are a few ways I can see it being used – sharing between screens more efficiently is the first way. If I am sitting in a meeting I could quickly share documents on my screen that is not connected to a computer, just to a projector, while multitasking I could have different documents open across devices and seamlessly move them between each other and share with colleagues. The exciting part is that there are probably dozens of ways to use the technology, and from what I understand it’s not limited to just Microsoft products, so I could connect my iPhone, iPad or Android device to collaborate as well – which would be ideal for BYOD environments. I think I read SmartGlass comes out later this year, so excited to check it out on my XBOX. Thanks for the comment.

Corey McCarren

Interesting. I read one article claiming it pretty much negates the entire purpose of the Wii U — you can use a device you already own to do nearly the same functions as the Wii U remote. With things like the Kinect now having the ability to help locate objects, it seems like Microsoft is really trying to figure out how to expand the uses of their X-Box gaming platform.

Janina R. Harrison

I am so jealous that you get to telework. We still don’t have WiFi at work to be able to take my work to the patio. Don’t have any data capabilities on my cell because connectivity is almost nil. It is dinasour era technology in our remote location. My laptop has WiFi capability and I finally got to use that at a meeting the other day, offsite. It was lovely. When I was done at the meeting, I moved to another location and didn’t have to disconnect wires and such. I just need a more portable wireless keyboard and mouse.