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Did Orgatec take a small step towards reflecting future office space?

So Orgatec came and went in the usual blink of an eye, all combined with the usual negativity about ‘how the big players aren’t there’ and ‘the show is not what it was’ and so forth.

Collaboration is a term that is frequently used when talking about the modern workspace and yet I thought the interesting thing about Orgatec 2014 was collaboration in a different context, essentially the collaboration between furniture and technology. I may be in the minority but I enjoyed the show this year.

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Personally I thought there was a shift which made for a more interesting and wide ranging experience than in the past, with a much greater focus towards technology within the office environment.  There was a greater focus on integration of AV products, a focus on how break out areas can support the technology tools that we all use, and how the modern office is a myriad of working zones as so excellently displayed by K&N.

Seeing the likes of Avaya exhibiting at Orgatec is, in my opinion, a good thing. Orgatec may never recapture former glories of Steelcase, Herman Miller, Knoll and so on all exhibiting together but I don’t think this necessarily matters. For Orgatec to truly add value it needs to offer a more stimulating visitor experience, and that involves providing a greater range of product areas and ideas.

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Orgatec should not be about furniture buyers attending in isolation but workspace planners, futurologists, technology professionals and of course, architects and designers all coming together with manufacturers to share ideas. And a greater variety of product categories will lead to a more creative environment for innovation and pan industry knowledge sharing to flourish. The organisers could help by providing a greater focus on education and a high quality conference programme with free keynote seminars would be a welcome addition.

Technology will continue to drive working practices and behaviours, and the greater the interaction between technology and furniture companies then the greater benefit for all of us. It will help us to understand the user requirements better, to visualise future workspaces, ultimately helping us to design better products and adding value to our customers.

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I really enjoyed seeing software systems designed to improve efficiency and working practices integrated into workspaces as demonstrated by ROL Ergo and by AECOM/3M GTG who presented their ‘Intelligent Workspaces’ lab as part of the Sedus stand. Greater awareness and implementation of such technology will truly drive the office of the future and help to create a more stimulating environment for all of us to work in. That’s my opinion anyway, for what’s it worth.

Congratulations to Buzzispace on a fantastic stand design and also to our valued customers who displayed our products, specifically Forma 5, Nowy Styl/Rohde & Grahl, ROL Ergo, VS Möbil, ERSA, and Martex. Apologies to anyone I may have missed. And finally, if you attended the CBS/onoffice party then thank you for coming, hope you had fun!

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