Contextual computing is about computing in the physical world, away from the desk, in ways that make our live's more efficient and enjoyable. Sometimes that computing task is facilitated via a smartphone or a tablet, but not always. Sometimes it is facilitated by something connected to the Internet of Things: Like a WiFi enabled digital pen, or an I-Pass reader on the tollway; or a Speedpass at a McDonald's cash register; or a redbox kiosk; or a Nest thermostat. Mobile is about computing in context of who you are, where you are and most importantly, how you want to interact with our global, interconnected, eco-system.
Outside of our client projects, we're starting to incorporate these concepts into our offices in Chicago's Haymarket Square with our Smartoffice Program. Our innovation roadmap already includes:
- Wireless video streaming of any laptop, smartphone or tablet to any flat panel display in the office.
- Live Tweets of what conference rooms are open/occupied
- Status of what in-suite bathrooms are available (seems odd, I know, but there is some quantifiable opportunity for operational efficiency here)
- Installation of smartphone enabled/lockable thermostats (a useful enhancement to correct one of the few downsides of having our offices in a 100+ year old timber loft building, we mess with the thermostat a lot, too much in some cases)
- Contextual QR Code scans around the office to trigger reorder requests for printer paper, paper towels, office supplies, food, beverages and the like
- A Stinky Fridge Button (button near the fridge, when pressed, sends out a floor-wide email notification of an impeding 48 hour fridge dump)
- Conference room body motion sensors to allow for 3D gesture control of any video streamed apps (CNN style)
These are a just a few of the initial low-hanging fruit ideas we'll be incorporating in the coming months. Got any other ideas for our Smart Office program? We'd love to hear them in the comments below.