Office technology: Is seamless human computer interaction the secret to workplace productivity?

Offices have come a long way since typewriters and rotary phones. The rise of the Internet transformed the work environment, and now, integration across platforms is making workplace productivity even better. However, this is just beginning of what’s coming for office technology.

Human computer interaction and the office

Human computer interaction (HCI) is defined as:

“A discipline concerned with the study, design, construction and implementation of human-centric interactive computer systems. A user interface, such as a GUI, is how a human interacts with a computer. HCI goes beyond designing screens and menus that are easier to use, and studies the reasoning behind building specific functionality into computers and the long-term effects that systems will have on humans.”

In other words, HCI is focused on how we interact with technology, and better HCI means the integration of technology into our daily lives becomes more seamless.

A great deal of research and development in this space is currently focused on the application of HCI to work environments, and that makes sense. The average American spends approximately 30% of their life working, and for many people, the majority of that time is spent engaged with technology. The tools we use every day should make work as productive and pleasant as possible.

Advances in artificial intelligence and virtual reality are poised to transform the way we do our jobs. Our work is already becoming more interconnected with our lives, and eventually, it will seamlessly integrate with the way we naturally exist in the world. Working at a computer that requires us to type and click will soon be a thing of the past. With perfect HCI, our thoughts and motions will directly translate to workplace productivity.

Technologies that will impact workplace productivity

Eye tracking technology
Manually scrolling on your computer screen will soon be an unnecessary step. Our screens will intuitively follow our focus and predictively open and close windows and apps based on the movement of our eyes.

Speech recognition
Speech recognition technology is already in use through bots like Siri and Alexa. Even Google docs has a speech-to-type tool. Today’s speech recognition technology is not perfect, but it continues to make rapid improvements. Soon, it will become the norm rather than the exception to do all of our writing, emailing and note-taking via speech.

Wearables
We can already get meeting reminders and use other basic applications (like an email program) on wearable technology like smartwatches. In the coming years, the wearables industry will continue to find more ways to make our work lives more productive. From earbuds that automatically translate a foreign colleague’s speech to a user’s preferred language, to smart suits that allow you to digitally swap business cards with people in your vacinity, the workplace wearables industry is already embracing integration and moving toward transformation.

Automation
With AI technology, work-related tasks will continue to be automated and perfected. Document creation and email automation are already taking workplaces by storm, removing routine busywork from our days and giving us more time to focus on what’s important. So what’s next? We’re moving toward Intelligent Automation, in which AI will be able to tackle far more complex, cognitively challenging tasks. Accenture estimates employees will gain 30% to 40% more productivity in the next five years thanks to workplace automation — even in industries that are already heavily automated.

What new office technology means for CRE

The CRE industry, like just about every other, will continue to gain productivity and efficiency thanks to advancements in office technology. You can give yourself and your brokerage an edge by being an early adopter. The better you integrate new office technology into your life, the more time you’ll have to focus on closing deals.

Advancements in CRE technology should also change the way you market and sell office spaces. While most emerging office technologies won’t be part of office buildings themselves, it will still be key for office environments to evolve and accommodate the new ways employees will interface with tech. When marketing or selling offices, make sure you emphasize features that make them especially adaptable to the future of office technology.

Interested in learning more about the future of office technology? Check out our recent post about the case for smart offices.