Many of us spend more hours than we’d like to admit sitting at our desks. Whether at work or an in-home office, we get busy making a living, connecting with friends and family, and consuming content from our desks. And while the traditional “desk job” continues to evolve, it’s also expanding to include and protect a growing number of LGBTQ people. In fact, as of 2017, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adopted policies that protect their employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, up from only 4 percent in 1996.
So with all this time spent at our desks, you’d think we’d pay closer attention to this all-important piece of office furniture. After all, we do research on what mattress we’ll buy or what car we’ll drive—two places we spend a good amount of time. But when it comes to desks, we’re often less particular. We sit at a mass-produced desk provided by our employer; we buy the cheapest, build-it-yourself model for home use. But why aren’t we more discerning about our work space choices?
Renowned furniture designer Herman Miller hopes to change all that. Dubbed the “Live OS,” his new cloud-connected desk joins a growing list of gadgets and everyday items adapting to the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Referring to the increased connectivity of everything from refrigerators (that can keep track of your grocery usage and place new orders when items are low) to app-controlled thermostats, IoT smart devices are becoming more and more prevalent. And now it’s in your desk.
This new connected system’s features include: adjustable controls that determine desk height based on personal preference; time trackers that record the amount of time you spend sitting or standing at your desk; and data collection and compilation via an easy-to-use app and accessible online dashboard.
According to their website, the Live OS also encourages people to switch up their daily grind:
“People are more active at work with the Live app and furnishings. Working together, the app and furnishings remind people when it’s time to change postures and gradually help individuals achieve activity goals. This heightened level of activity encourages people to be more productive, efficient, and engaged.”
For employers, this information also includes “insights that help control operational costs, improve space utilization, and enhance employee well-being.”
In addition to better data for employers, an adjustable, trackable smart desk like Live OS also encourages a more healthy approach to the 9–5 workday. In a now infamous article from the Mayo Clinic, James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D. compared the negative effects of sitting too much to smoking. Levine states:
“Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
Seems like a pretty good reason to mix up your daily work position, and the Live OS can help remind you.
If you want to get your hands on one of these, you may have to wait. Website sign-ups alert North American interested parties when the system will become available. And according to a Herman Miller press release, it will come at a cost. Sensors are marked at $100, with a $36 per year per desk fee to stay connected to the online app and dashboard. While it may seem like a lot, many office and at-home workers may find it incredibly worth the price, especially considering individual adjustable workstations can cost around $250, on the low end, and up into the thousands on the high end—and that’s without the Live OS smart technology.
Smart technology and the Internet of Things aren’t strangers in the automotive world, either. The 2017 Genesis G80 Sport offers more connectivity than ever before, including a suite of safety, guidance and remote features like Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Google’s Destination Search and Remote Start with climate control.
In a world where personalization is the name of the game, innovations like Live OS and the G80 Sport are just a few examples of how companies and products are allowing people to take charge of their experiences—whether it be in the office or on the road.