FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, November 08, 2004

Telecommuter's Home/Office of the Future

Recently I came across a book in the library called Telecommuting Success by Michael J. Dziak. Overall, the book is a collection of best practices aimed at first-time teleworkers. It is, however, a bit dated (published way back in 2001), and according to Amazon, it's out of print.

Despite this, one section jumped out at me as I read it. Dziak spends some time discussing the future of telecommuting -- he believes it's a growing trend -- and speculates on how the home of the future might change to adapt to telework:

  • Knowledge workers might have rooms in their home dedicated to business entertaining and small meetings (a throwback to the "parlor" concept of Victorian-era homes). These rooms, naturally, would be equipped with state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment.
  • "Convertible" rooms would change quickly from a home office to another purpose. This would be especially handy for small homes where space is at a premium.
  • Pervasive environments that allow teleworkers to conduct business from most any room in the house. Devices would interact via wireless connections, and homes would have their own miniature data centers that would securely house the main systems that would govern all this pervasive activity.
  • Security concerns would become paramount. In addition to crime prevention, homes of the future would be built with an eye toward disaster prevention and recovery.
  • In addition to office areas, homes of the future might have rooms devoted to child care, home schooling and eldercare.

A recent article in PC World describes how such a future home might operate.