Welcome to the Office of the Future

December 29, 2015


As I stood in front of 40 Konica Minolta executives and dealers, I was struck by the fact that this wasn’t a typical meeting. Office chairs were replaced with couches and the room echoed with spontaneous gasps and “wows.” This was the WorkSmart Startup Showcase.

The Startup Showcase occurs several times a year and highlights best-in-class emerging technologies. At the most-recent showcase, Greg Lok, WorkSmart Strategy Lead, highlighted products and solutions that enable a unified smart office. From improving meetings and communications to managing guests and understanding physical layouts, these products are designed to improve the way the workplace functions. They aren’t meant to replace workers but instead free them to focus on higher-value tasks.

These products offer the opportunity to provide integrated solutions to age-old problems. For starters, let’s talk meetings. I’m willing to bet that you’ve had the experience of a “Murphy’s Law” meeting in which everything that can go wrong, does. You may have forgotten to book the room, struggled to pair the TV and computer, or couldn’t quite figure out how to position the teleconferencing camera so everyone was in frame. For us, and our customers, these experiences are not only embarrassing but also come with a high time-cost.

Now imagine your meeting with new technologies that we have identified. Your meeting starts on time (thanks to the smart conference-booking system), your computer auto-pairs to the TV (courtesy of the no-wires pairing system), and you don’t need to set up Skype (cheers to the self-navigating “iPad on wheels”). This is the workplace of the future: connected, quantified, and on-demand.

While connectivity was a theme in this showcase, our presenting startup companies didn’t stop there. One answered the challenge of guest sign-in, which can often be disorganized and unsecure. They provide an easy-to-use interface and waiver-signing feature, which provides customers with peace of mind for building and IP security. Another startup offers a 3D mapping solution to understand the physical space of rooms. Customers don’t need to guess where to move office hardware or struggle with tracking physical resources; they can use a realistic model to visualize their set-up.

For the Business Innovation Center, the Startup Showcase is an opportunity to not only highlight increasingly in-demand tools but to get feedback on those products that will best suit our customers’ needs. As John Fahey, VP of Sales for Enterprise Accounts, said, “This can help us gain traction with old clients and drive success in representing Konica Minolta to new customers in a way that has never been done before.” National Enterprise Account Manager Thomas Horan adds, “With over 25 years of tech sales, the BIC represents the most exciting business offerings I have seen. It makes working with the customer fun!”

In the months to come, our Startup Showcase is poised to continue highlighting big opportunities and exciting propositions. Through these demos, we at the BIC can further curate new business lines to match both the changing industry and the specific needs of our customers.

Interested in experiencing the Workplace of the Future? Let us know!

Email biccomm@kmbs.konicaminolta.com to stay connected to our innovation programs and events. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @km_bic, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Ekta Sahasi
VP, BIC North America

Ekta is responsible for fundamental business and cultural transformation, incubating new product and solutions and investing in new ventures and technologies across the verticals of healthcare, finance, legal, education, government and construction from the company’s North American BIC in Foster City, CA. She is a 15-year entrepreneurial veteran of start-ups and Fortune 500 companies throughout Silicon Valley, previously serving as the director of Research and Innovation Products at PayPal and eBay, where she co-founded the eBay Research and Special Programs team. She is a graduate of the General Electric management/leadership program. Connect with her on Twitter @esahasi.