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The office of the future

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It’s amazing to me that so many businesses in this country are still using technology that was starting to become dated back in the ’80s.  Sure, American businesses replace computers every few years – thank you Microsoft and Dell – but that’s about it.  Teleportation devices?  Nope.  Holographic displays?  Nada. A desktop telephone as smart as their mobile phone?  Not a chance.

Instead, today’s office looks depressingly like it always has, so don’t feel bad if this sounds like your workspace: a beige colored plastic work surface, a fax machine that dims the lights when it warms up, a slightly-loose chair that rolls into tiny “carpet saver” grooves no matter where you position it, and colorless cube walls frayed with sweater-like fuzz from the last poor soul to Velcro-up pictures of his kids.  Oh, and I’ll bet that office cube sports a fancy 1997 plastic desktop phone with a slightly-but-disgustingly discolored earpiece.  Right?

This is nuts, people.  While teleportation and holographic displays are still out of our reach, we don’t have to settle for dumb business phones anymore.  Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a business phone that did more than make and receive phone calls?  Maybe one that was smart in a way that no other business phone has ever been smart?   I’m not talking about artificial intelligence or something that runs Angry Birds; I’m talking about a business phone that helps you do business (you know, selling and servicing customers) because it’s integrated with your business data.  A phone that knew who you were speaking with every time you made or received a phone call and was smart enough to push that information to your CRM system.  As an executive, what would that business look like to you?

There would be no cubes, no ugly plastic “work surfaces”, and no depressing mediocrity at that company.  The sun would shine, the desks would be wood, and the air would smell like chocolate chip cookies.  Your fax machine would be in the recycling bin, the chairs would float on magnetic fields, and your managers would always know which of your best accounts haven’t been called in a while.  And those ugly plastic desktop phones with less intelligence than a wrist watch?-Banished.  The fancy new M5 VoIP phone sitting in its place would shine like a beacon of joy to all that passed.