Technology needs change the look of offices

  • Office furniture has changed to accommodate technology advancements.

    Office furniture has changed to accommodate technology advancements.

By Jean Murphy
Contributing Writer
Posted3/7/2016 5:00 AM

Not only have computers changed the way we do business, but also they way offices look.

For years, it was all about large desktop computers and a plethora of messy cords hanging under almost every desk. Today's office has evolved past that and today's wireless office has fewer, or at least hidden, wires, flat screen monitors, white boards for collaborative work, flat screen video monitors mounted on walls, conference rooms equipped with Internet hot spot/communication devices and smart television for teleconferencing.


"In years past, if an employee saw an idea that they wanted to use, they would have to call a meeting, propose the idea and then probably call a follow-up meeting. Today it is all about getting the idea out there first," said John Sink, production manager for VidTech Audo Visual of Lisle.

"So, an employee can see a video they want to use in a promotion, for instance, walk into an upgraded conference room, hook their phone up to a presentation device and immediately share it with the firm's decision-makers. Everything today moves at the speed of light and it is all about communication, both internal and external," he said.

VidTech has been providing audio/visual, presentation and communications services and technology in the Chicago area for 30 years.

The firm installs speakers, intercoms, networking systems and related hardware in company conference rooms, classrooms, auditoriums and in houses of worship. The Lisle company also rents lighting, sound and video systems and stages for corporate meetings; provides consultants who will assist a firm with social media efforts and advise them on which applications will work with their; and provides audio/visual equipment and services at local festivals.

When companies are building a new facility or are retrofitting the one they have, VidTech installs the latest technology that the firm meeds or afford. That can involve anything as simple as changing out old CRT televisions for new flat screen hi-definition "smart" televisions, to installing a server so that a company can store its data on-site instead of in a "cloud."

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Teleconferencing systems can be installed, as can Internet hot spots and cameras with audio systems for video conferencing.

"It doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get your toe in the water with upgraded audio/visual and networking equipment. An investment of only between $1,500 and $2,000 can get a company or organization a high-end Smart television that is Internet-ready, a hi-definition camera that can be remotely controlled, an audio system with a microphone and speaker, and a hot spot/communication device which allows employees to use modern software like Skype and Go To Meeting in order to interface with others remotely and wirelessly," Sink said.

This all changes the look of an office and the way employees interact with vendors, customers and each other.

Office furniture has also changed to accommodate these technology advancements, said Mike Warren, Workplace Culture Consultant for Rieke Office Interiors (ROI) of Elgin.

"For instance, we are equipping chairs and whole seating areas with powered outlets and are putting charging stations in conference tables. We are always trying to incorporate technology into our furniture and sometimes that is as simple as putting grommet holes in strategic places on furniture for better connectivity of the tools people use which still need wires," Warren said.

The company builds furniture to cater to the way people use technology today. "Since uninterrupted network access and a robust WI-FI connection are key to the success of any business, we are designing our office furniture to unobtrusively work with those vital technologies."

For example, they have built their "Runway" channel system into much of their furniture. It is a wooden trough under the furniture where data cables, power cables, wires for chargers and much more can be run invisibly, making an office look modern, crisp and clean.