AOE text

Future Concept for Frame Magazine

In section 'The Challenge' Frame Magazine challenges emerging designers to answer a topical question with a future-forward design concept. AOE will be featured in the upcoming issue about the Future Workspace, published July 1th.


You’ve moved from the Netherlands to NYC. How did this influence your concept?  Living in a different city is a wonderful experience and has widened my perspective - although the question 'Where do I end up?' also became more important. My concept is a response to this topic: it basically eliminates the importance of location in the workplace.

What is it? The Augmented Office Environment (AOE), a future workspace that’s built around a virtual experience, not a physical presence.

How will it work? You log into your system in the morning, navigate to your personal work platform and take a seat behind your computer. Your co-workers (who are logged into the same platform) are in the same virtual space and you can have meetings, brainstorm sessions or eat lunch with them.

Which professions do you see benefitting most from an AOE? It could be used in many different fields: teachers can give classes that students from all over the world can attend; engineers, architects and manufacturers can develop in AOE, while automated factories and smart machines make this data physical; in science AOE can be used for data sharing and labs where virtual simulations take place.

What are the advantages for individual workers? There are so many people around the world who are denied opportunities because of where they live. If, for example, there is a shortage of engineers in one part of the world and too many in another, this can be addressed by using AOEs. It can also create a greater diversity in the workforce. If two engineers from Senegal and Germany worked together in the same AOE, it would create a better collaborative network of knowledge, uninhibited by geography.

What role could big data and AI have in the AOE?  With these two developments, technology moves into the realm of ethicals. We must be conscious of the fact that concepts like AOE could radically alter our daily lives, and it's up to us to make sure we are responsible in deciding that extent to which these worlds render ‘You’ and ‘I’ obsolete. The AOE’s human component cannot be compromised. While simulations will improve efficiency, we always have to consider why we are making these tools to begin with.

And why is that? My belief is that they will give us the opportunity to more thoughtfully balance the dynamic work demands of our generation - in short, we will have more time to do the things we want, wherever we want.