Tomorrows office environment on display in Seattle

An exhibit that is intended to depict the workplace of the future is on display in Seattle, WA, through May 1998. Residing on the twenty-eighth floor of the city`s Columbia Seafest Center, the Future@Work exhibit is a result of donations of services and products by members of the non-profit organization, The Office of the Future Consortium (otfc).

--Patrick McLaughlin

An exhibit that is intended to depict the workplace of the future is on display in Seattle, WA, through May 1998. Residing on the twenty-eighth floor of the city`s Columbia Seafest Center, the Future@Work exhibit is a result of donations of services and products by members of the non-profit organization, The Office of the Future Consortium (otfc).

The 5000-square-foot exhibit is based on the latest thinking as to the corporate culture that will allow a company and its employees to maximize productivity. It shows the corporate headquarters of a fictitious hardware company in 1997 and in 2007. The 2007 office liberally uses wireless data networks and telephones, as well as wired networks. It is marked by intra-office mobility and personal workstation options that include individual workstations, group settings, and seminar rooms.

otfc is made up of more than 150 companies, including at&t Wireless Services (which supplied wireless technologies as well as public relations and printing services), Axis Technologies (technology-consulting and fundraising services), B-Line Systems (cabling), Carlyle (fiber-optic connectors), Cochran (installation services), CommScope (cabling), insi (installation services), Optical Cable Corp. (cabling), Ortronics (patch panels, wall outlets, cable-management systems, installation services), Sparling (data, distribution, and telecommunications design services), and Steelcase (furniture systems).

According to Stuart Loberg, director of technology consulting at Seattle-based Sparling, "Our mission for the project was to develop a framework for a flexible infrastructure to accommodate state-of-the-art connections for voice, data, audio/video, and fiber optics. We recognize that in today`s business environments, flexibility is the key to proper integration of technology. If the appropriate planning is done before and during building construction, any type of technology can be easily integrated throughout the life of the building."

Organizers say Future@Work can give business owners answers to questions about whether current office space promotes maximum performance, how barriers to communication can be removed, which emerging technologies will best promote collaboration, how minimizing duplication of processes can reduce overhead costs, and what steps you can take today to initiate office-space changes that you can fully integrate over 10 years.

Tours of the facility are available by appointment, which can be made by calling (206) 484-4004.

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