The transforming workplace

multifunktionaler Büroarbeitsplatz IWWP Next
Jörg Bakschas, Headroom Consult, © Fraunhofer IAO


Flexible workplace for the office of tomorrow undergoes field tests Fraunhofer-inHaus-Center

Modern-day office workplaces are expected to satisfy a number of requirements. Users want flexible, ergonomic and connected work environments, so Fraunhofer IAO created its newly designed multifunctional office workplace IWWP Next to meet this demand. The prototype workplace was presented together with exhibits from six other Fraunhofer Institutes in the newly created InRaum laboratory in the inHaus Center in Duisburg, Germany.

In today's mobile post-PC era, the increasingly flexible, mobile and connected way people work is changing the requirements they have of their modern office workplaces. Fraunhofer IAO has responded to this shift by coming up with IWWP Next, one of its latest innovations. IWWP stands for Information Worker's Workplace. The core idea underpinning this workplace concept is its suitability for use in the different environments and areas of work found in the modern-day work world. The furniture is fitted with wheels, which enables users to rearrange the workstation structure in seconds and convert it into something else, such as a white board for ad hoc meetings. Portable devices such as laptops or tablets can be easily connected, and smartphones can be charged wirelessly via the tabletop. Thanks to sophisticated technology integration and the use of batteries, the workplace is also flexible enough to be used locally without electricity and can be controlled using an RFID company ID card or via a smartphone. Lockable compartments for sensitive data and open boxes offering impromptu storage space complete the workplace.

While developing IWWP Next, Nikolay Dreharov from Fraunhofer IAO also considered a number of other factors to be significant. “It was important to me to create a workplace that is very versatile but that also allows the user to work well. With this in mind we have made it so the workplace recognizes its user and the current work situation and automatically assumes the corresponding ergonomic profile by changing the individually adjustable table height and LED light settings.” The LED light, called Heliosity, provides optimal brightness and color temperature around the clock, and can also be adjusted individually by the user.

Along with other innovations from several Fraunhofer Institutes, Dreharov’s development is now being field tested and put into practice. On Monday, June 16, 2014, a new “living laboratory” was opened in inHaus2 of the Fraunhofer-inHaus-Center in Duisburg in order to study innovations for the workplace of tomorrow. The objectives of the collaborative framework project inRaum-ATMO (Assistive Multifunctional Systemized Office) include increasing productivity, improving workflows, optimizing wellbeing and reducing corporate operating costs.