Towards a Universal Interface
The built environment is packed with interfaces—door handles, light switches, keys, remotes—that enable us to interact with the space around us. But these are 20th century holdovers that offer a lowest-common-denominator feature set. Today, the smartphone offers the opportunity for far richer modes of interaction with our environment. In consumer products this shift is already well under way. More and more devices are being built that rely, primarily if not entirely, on the features of a smartphone to engage the end-user. Products like the Fitbit, Nest Thermostat, and WeMo Switch take advantage of dynamic software applications on smartphones to transform mundane widgets into rich experiences accessible anytime, anywhere.
Delivered to End User Devices
And yet, outside of the residential market, few applications truly enrich the indoor experience. Commercial office space, in particular, stands to benefit greatly from more information and control delivered to end user devices. The current state of the art can be dramatically improved through apps. Consider those AV controls that only the IT guy can figure out; lighting control that is limited to motion sensors, timers, and switches; and building directories that can’t give visitors turn-by-turn directions. All of these systems could be powered by software on smartphones.
TEECOM is working on many fronts to address these deficiencies. First and foremost our engineering team works closely with clients to develop forward-looking plans for technology infrastructure that will support these rich applications. Second, with Apps for Buildings, we’re promoting our own perspective of what rich user interaction looks like in buildings where every occupant has a smartphone. Finally, through the research group, we incorporate developments across the technology landscape into concepts that we think demonstrate the potential of delivering next-generation experiences through mobile devices.
One of those concepts is Guide Dog™, an advanced system for finding and reserving space in a modern workplace. As companies look to be more efficient with their real estate and better accommodate remote workers who might only visit the office once a week, systems like Guide Dog will make work easier, and ultimately more productive, for employees.