Ask the average person in the business of control room furniture and they'll probably tell you that they don't think of their sector as particularly technologically-advanced. One can understand why technology and control room furniture are often thought of as antonyms. The industry is generally static and the demands on it have remained more or less the same since its inception. But really, this is a good thing. The stability of American manufacturing leans on industries like control room and office furniture. It is important, therefore, that these companies not chase every innovation that comes along.
But a new technology could change our conservative mode of thinking. A big name in office furniture design is about to unveil an innovative new type of office console that will redefine office consoles. Industry giant, Herman Miller, is at work on a series of furniture called Metaform that allows users to reconfigure console pieces at the drop of a hat. For example, the consoles can easily be configured into the standard cubicle setup. But the pieces can be rearranged to allow for more face-to-face time if a company is undertaking more collaborative projects.
This new technology became a reality thanks to German firm Studio 7.5. They have set up prototypes in several offices to gather information about how consumers might utilize the various available parts. This is just the latest in what Herman Miller calls its “Living Office” initiative. The underlying assumption is that workers in the near future will be working less and less at a single workspace. As such, the ability to reconfigure workspaces will be a necessity. If you too are innovative and expect only the best in this type of furniture, a great future-thinking manufacturer in this industry is Inracks Corp, or read this post.
One can foresee some negative effects on the data center furniture industry resulting from this new trend. Control room furniture is typically designed for a particular space. As the industries that rely on control room furniture move toward more collaborative work, that could be reflected in their orders. Collaboration is at odds with some of these industries (intelligence, for instance). But as a whole, American culture has shifted toward more collaboration. We see this in looking at crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing, which have become nearly ubiquitous at this point.
Put all this together and it points to the fact that we need to update our conception of the control room furniture industry. While I don't envision a total collapse or anything drastic, I do think that this move toward user-defined furniture is inevitable given the wider cultural trends. This potential new standard in office furniture could detract from our industry at first, but that is all the more reason to adopt more progressive attitudes going forward. This is the only way that the sector can hold its place as part of America's backbone.