Whilst much of the enterprise collaboration world seems to revolve around technology and software, there is nevertheless a great deal being done to provide physical workplaces that foster collaborative behaviours. The success of many of these efforts is debatable, with initiatives such as open plan offices and hot desking seemingly a lot more popular with facilities managers than they are with employees themselves.
Hot desking is obviously designed to encourage employees to move around and literally bump shoulders from people from parts of the organization you might otherwise not reach. There is a sense however that many simply like to stay put and make their desk their home.
A new Japanese application could help facilities managers track just how much hot desking is actually taking place. The project, called the Smart Cushion, has been launched by KeyValue recently with the aim of helping to track the usage of seats.
The product comes as a standard looking cushion that can be fitted to any normal office chair. The inside of the cushion comes with a pressure sensitive sensor that both detects when the seat is being used, and can then send that data to an Apple device via the iBeacon sensor installed in the cushion.
The device aims to notify people of when a chair is currently in use, as well as telling facilities managers how often it’s being used and how long. The company also suggests it could be used by organizations to promote healthier behaviour by alerting them if employees are sedentary for too long.
The Smart Cushion is set to retail for between 1,200 and 2,000 Japanese Yen, which at current exchange rates makes that between £6-10. Not too bad then. Might it initiate an age where our chairs become somewhat smarter in the office?