Co-working, not to be confused with homeworking (working from home), is gaining popularity and acceptance while many firms are still “working” out the kinks and nuances associated with its integration into today’s modern workplace. French based companies seem to be leading the way in many respects.
The growth of employees adopting and adapting to co-working en-lieu of commuting to the traditional corporate “home” office has proven that this is a sustainable business trend. Not only are companies like WeWork disrupting the space markets, but this paradigm shift on where traditional employees “clock in” has the potential to lessen the strains on heavily congested commuter routes, enhance life/work balances and shift waking hours, historically spent in transit, to more productive and useful tasking.
New technologies are being refined and implemented to facilitate the trend. Meet SLMS (Schneider Lucibel Managed Services), the first secure mobile co-working company using the Lucibel (also French based) wireless technology.
SLMS recently supplied mobile workstations for attendees at a conference that were complete with integrated overhead power and lighting, lighting which can now double as internet connectivity using the light-based wireless technology, LiFi (Light Fidelity).
LiFi is competitive in areas where additional network security is necessary as it’s extremely difficult to hack. It also offers advantages for high demand and density areas such as airports. LiFi offers data exchange over modulated LED light between a light and a specific computer armed with a dedicated USB receiver. This potential large scale alternative to Wi-Fi has the potential to make co-working connectivity more readily available to an increasingly dense mass market. It also offers many secure retail POS (Point of Sale) applications.
Imagine a faster, more secure network that needs only to tap into the existing overhead lighting in all traditional retail settings to interface with dedicated receivers each employee/user will, at some point, already possess. This will likely eliminate the need for clunky, expensive, weather sensitive large scale wi-fi installations that are currently serving the mass market and can cost thousands of dollars to service and maintain annually. Furthermore, don’t be surprised if LiFi ultimately replaces the hard lines many traditional existing POS systems currently run on. A little bit of security can go a long way.
Is Wifi going away really necessary? The Seasteading Institute thinks so. On the fringe, The Seasteading Institute looks set to create a dedicated offshore open arm co-working island location near French Polynesia in the South Pacific. The system will have a triple focus on government, commerce and ideas in a low restriction, yet open and collaborative, albeit very remote, environment. This is an extreme example of a direction the co-working revolution is taking and could, perhaps, lead to true “working vacations” in the coming years. By way of example, although I am currently a full-time student here at The University of San Diego in California, this article was written in a hotel room in Singapore having just landed earlier this morning from Hong Kong on my way to Tokyo later this week. Wireless technology facilitated both the research and transmission. No need to visit the local library book stacks or drive to a home office. Just remember to take your recharging power cord with you and some converters.
Another French based co-working startup company, Share Your Office (BAP) recently raised additional funds to further implement their concept which helps pair freelances with existing companies as well as help European clients looking for co-working space in the United States. BAP’s progress illustrates the collaborative startup growth Europe is experiencing. The specialized LINK software platform BAP is cultivating allows for management of all aspects of co-working spaces and is a key to facilitating their rapid growth. LINK creates visibility for participating space operators looking to analyze and manage peak usage hours through the comprehensive live tracking of users. The local co-working operator I visited in Singapore is currently running their operations without management software and will likely be one of many new LINK customers in the coming months as their member population continues to double every six months!
The future of co-working continues to be altered through the introduction of new ideas, technologies and locations as its adoption continues to evolve. One thing is for sure, France is squarely involved in helping to shape it’s future. France is also the home to MIPIM in March which will showcase the latest in these developments in how employees work remote. See you in a month!
Image source: Getty Images Tempura