Towards the end of the 20th century, Hollywood promised a lot for the future. Back to the Future II promised flying cars by 2015, Sylvester Stallone and Demolition Man eliminated violent crime (and toilet paper) by 2032, and Total Recall predicted self-driving cars and memory implants by 2084. Today, many articles and blogs are dedicated to futuristic technology that Hollywood got right. Here are 5 examples of futurist office technology that exist today, which are surprisingly readily available and (somewhat) affordable.
- Work Robot (The Jetsons)
While we don’t exactly have Rosie from the Jetsons in our lives, the concept of a business robot as a piece of office technology does exist today. The Double Robot, starting at $3000, is a telepresence solution that allows people to connect to and control a wheeled robot from any location. Powered by a simple smart phone app, the Double Robot lets you pull up to a conference room table when you are out of the office, helps homebound students feel connected with their classmates, and can let you tour a house or a facility even when you are thousands of miles away.
- Tablet Computers (2001: Space Odyssey)
Small, intelligent devices have been a mainstay of science fiction for years (like the tricorder from Star Trek). Today, with the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface, tablet computers as a primary work device are a very real and affordable option when you are considering modern office technology. The mobile benefits of tablets are already well known, and many organizations employ them for mobile sales teams, warehouse workers, and even for medical purposes.
- Video Calls (Blade Runner)
Instantly seeing the person on the other end of a phone call is no longer a farfetched, futuristic concept. Skype and Apple’s FaceTime have made this a reality for several years, and businesses today are owning the “video first” mentality through conference calls and video phones. Cisco video phones are one example of the old sci-fi dream becoming a reality.
- 3D Printers (Star Trek)
Well, it isn’t exactly the replicator from Star Trek, but 3D printers are still pretty cool. 3D printers can be used to make low cost models of your products, create replacement mechanical parts, and customize objects for your business needs. Right now, you can head down to your local Staples and pick up a 3D printer for as a low as $849.00 CAD. Who’s with me?
- Voice Automated Homes (Minority Report)
Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have brought the voice automated home to an affordable reality (Google Home retails for $179.00 CAD), and other business automation platforms have simplified the concept of the automated meeting room. Today’s meeting rooms allow you to instantly move a video conference from your phone to a video screen, share documents, and turn lights off and on without touching a button.