A man walks into an office. You should agree with me that this simple sentence may be the beginning of a multitude of different events. Let’s pick a specific point of view, the technology one: how did the man walk into the office? He may have walked in by opening a door with a key that he received from the organization, and that he ought to keep safe. Or after the permission granted by a doorkeeper that recognised him. He could have entered a compound first, or he could have driven in it, passing through an open barrier that he opened with a badge, and finding a parking spot that has been assigned to him at some point.
To look for a key, to guard a gate, to assign a parking space, they are all efforts, and due to that they involve a cost. I put them in a designed order: costs rise from the first to the latter. In case you are a building manager you may easily figure out the expenses, but I guess that the whole concept is clear to everyone (in case you are not a BM, you should somehow be familiar with looking for a key and not finding it, but this is not the point here). Let’s change the scenario by removing the key, the door keeper, the badge, and the known and assigned parking spot, because we said they involve costs. With these elements missing, can a man walk into an office, provided that an office is not a public open space? Yes, with an App. It opens the door and the barrier, it provides the credentials to the men to be safely recognized at the gate, it shows the number and location of the parking spot that was assigned to the man when he needed it, at the very moment he got to the compound. All the elements of the aforementioned scenario are gone, the man only needs a single extension.
“Any extension, whether of skin, hand, or foot, affects the whole psychic and social complex.” Marshall McLuhan
For the sake of this post, you should not look at the App itself, or look for it. Look at the complexity instead, a whole complex has changed, stay focused on that. Consider the shift between the first and second scenario, the virtual distance that keeps them apart. Information technology is coming to the market as a wave (scattered in labels: PropTech, IoT, BigData, Analytics, and so on), those who are going to take it, will cut the costs, and will cut the loose.
The office worked as a good example, but I am sure we could not stop imagining new environments undergoing such a revolution. To bring technology into the spaces we are dwelling is a conscious action of change, in other words, it is making business. The App (running into a smartphone, a smartwatch, or any other device), as the door and the barrier are physical elements in our environment. When the man walks in, they become part of an interactive complex that may work like a charm and make the future accessible.
It is time to think big. Not a single building anymore, but a network of spaces and areas with different destinations ready to welcome and support several human activities. On one hand the ease of set up, and the very low costs, on the other hand the power to design any kind of interaction. From a network of diffuse offices with a flexible booking logic, to an offering of amenities for clients, employees, guests. What is the next business you are going to design?
By Alessandro La Fauci Marketing Director of Sofia Locks