Conversations in a boardroom are undoubtedly different from a team huddle in a locker room, but the president of ViewSonic Corp. says a sports pavilion in Guelph, that has the company’s technology written all over it, is a strong example of a collaborative work space that will be the standard for workplaces in the coming years.
“For Canada, it is certainly the tip of the spear when it comes to how collaboration can further learning and it is absolutely a valuable case study for ViewSonic,” says Jeff Volpe, referring to the University of Guelph’s new sports pavilion, which opened last October. Volpe, a UofG alumni and former CFL player, says he’s proud of the new pavilion ViewSonic built after lengthy discussions between Volpe, the university’s coaching staff and players and other faculty members. The pavilion houses a locker room, lounge, meeting rooms and a rooftop patio for spectators to watch the varsity Gryphons and other events at the stadium. It’s become a go-to hub for students across the campus, says Volpe, but the biggest surprise for him was when he discovered that student athletes were using the various displays for school work. They would cast their learning materials from their personal devices to the 75 or 85 inch displays scattered around the building, or in the locker room, and solve problems together.
“It was a very fulfilling piece of information. Not only was it making them get better at sports but helping them get better at their actual lessons from class,” he says.
This level of unification hasn’t gone unnoticed by enterprises either. According to a recent IDC survey sponsored by Citrix, nearly 25 per cent of enterprises are using or piloting unified endpoint management (UEM) – a work space that unites mobile and traditional endpoint systems – while 41 per cent say they plan to adopt the technology in the next six–18 months. More than 50 per cent say they plan to increase spending on UEM over the next 12 months.
Not a simple matter of copy and paste
While the pavilion does give ViewSonic and its partners an opportunity to showcase the potential of an open collaborative work space that’s brimming with IoT devices, it’s not something existing and potential enterprise customers can simply replicate.
“The pavilion is quite frankly a relatively simple installation as it relates to security and more complex issues that corporations have to deal with,” says Volpe. “When you start talking about various solutions that are for the classroom or boardroom, there are many other variables that we have to manage with our partners and end customers. Security issues of either the VPNs that might exist, integrations with Crestron or Cisco, virtualization, there are a lot of variables we have to deal with.”
A recent survey from Kaspersky suggests out of 320 global professionals who were interviewed, more than 65 per cent of them believe that operational technology and industrial control system security risks go hand-in-hand with the rise of the number of connected devices. While the report focused on the industrial sector, there are similar concerns coming from schools and enterprises looking to have a high-tech open work space, says Volpe. “ViewSonic in Canada wants to ensure we do the right thing to bring this technology, this combination of hardware and software and its development, to the customer through our partners,” says Volpe. “They’re going to be really collaborating with us to figure out how to fulfill this demand that will skyrocket in the next five years.”
According to Gartner, there were 8.4 billion IoT devices used in 2017. That number is expected to hit 75 billion by 2025.
On the hardware side, ViewSonic recently launched several new products such as a new 86-inch 4K UHD commercial display, and new entries to its IFP60 series for workplace collaborations, which come with enterprise grade security and play well with ViewSonic’s other collaboration software solutions. These displays and more were shown off at InfoComm 2018 in Las Vegas earlier this year, targeting a diverse group of customers that include educators, commercial and enterprise clients and small businesses.
For the upcoming generation of workers, open and connected work spaces isn’t about being flashy – it’s simply the future of work, says Volpe.
“Companies now are forced to think about technology and how they use tech in the work space through these collaboration and huddle spaces because of the sheer requirement the younger generation is putting on companies to be technology savvy. Cubicles of the old are gone, and any corporation, government entity or educational facility that isn’t designing their work space to be open and collaborative will have a hard time recruiting the best of the best in the millennial space.”
Jeff Volpe joined the Tech in Sports crew last year to discuss major sports tech news and the new sports pavilion at the University of Guelph