Steelcase has partnered with Ideo to re-imagine video chat in the office. Their Living on Video proposals are informal spaces reminiscent of photo booths crossed with living room furniture, where someone can relax, but the production approaches studio quality.

The goal is to offer a casual meeting experience that approaches a level of spontaneity. According to Christine Congdon, director of research communications at Steelcase, “If you notice people when they take a phone call today in an open environment, they start pacing around, looking for a place to talk where they won’t disturb others, and where they can hear and be heard on the other end. Same holds true with video. So we created the ‘lounge unit’ that, in addition to lighting, controls the acoustics in an open space–the outer surface deflects sound and the inner surfaces absorb it.”

The video would encourage a kind of spontaneous conversation that could lead to a fresh exchange of ideas.

Another Living on Video concept incorporates an entire teleconferencing unit into a wall hanging called a Core Unit, which includes a monitor, camera, mic, and speakers into a self-contained, uni-purposed system.

The balance of private and public space is something that Steelcase is constantly trying to solve. It’s technically quite easy to actually make and receive a video call, but it’s hard to create the exact environment to make that call feel great. Should Steelcase succeed in this new and exciting venture, businesses across the world will breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Source: Mark Wilson |  |

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