Herman Miller is the go-to brand for cool, mid-century and contemporary office furniture. And now it’s looking to the future with internet-connected office furniture.
First, let’s take a look at some of its most iconic furniture pieces:
The Aeron Chair
The Noguchi Table
The Eames Lounge Chair
And now Live OS
Its new Live OS is not really a furniture piece but a smart system. It’s designed by Yves Béhar, whose clients over the years have included Apple, Samsung and Prada. The Live OS system connects some of Herman Miller’s select furniture pieces, such as the fixed-height and sit-to-stand desks, to the cloud and acts like a fitness tracker for your desk. The end goal is to create better ergonomic comfort for its users.
The office of today is a far cry from the cubicles of a decade ago. Ironically, it was Herman Miller who brought us “the cubicle” work space. Now, open-plan, shared work spaces and hot-desk offices are the thing. And Herman Miller is looking to the future of the ever-evolving office space with its new cloud-connected desks.
Sensors connected to a cellular network come fitted into new desks or can be added retroactively. The Live OS app memorizes a person’s preferred sit-to-stand desk posture and can adjust back to that position when the user taps the module.
Employees can set goals for how long they’d like to stand or sit at work. The desk then reminds the person to take a break and change positions via the app or by lighting up and vibrating the module.
Data on how much a desk is used is collected and reported anonymously to the office administrator, who can use the information to better understand how staff use desks and how office space is best utilized. Reports can also be used to determine peak work periods or the location of an available, unused desk in a larger work space.
For privacy activists, it may sound like another way for the boss to monitor what you’re up to, but any reporting is sent as anonymous data. And the system only works via a private cellular network.
For now, the system monitors how long you sit or stand and helps by reminding you not to stay in one position too long. But Herman Miller plans to roll out other features and furniture pieces.
For example, if the system notices you sit at the edge of your seat, it may send you an email with ergonomic tips on improving posture. Plans to release a connected Aeron chair early next year means your chair may adjust and recline just as you like it or may nudge you to get up and stretch your legs.
Essentially, Herman Miller’s goal is to create office furniture that can learn and anticipate what you need before you do. Sensors cost $100, the software costs $36 per desk per year and the sit-stand desk app costs $60 per desk per year.
How do you feel about working at a desk connected to the cloud?