West MI Company Herman Miller Developing The 'Smart Workplace'

herman miller If you work at a desk job in a corporate environment, more than likely the exact chair you're sitting in came from Herman Miller.  The West Michigan company, which is known mainly for its infamous Aeron chairs, unveiled a new product today named Live OS, with a goal of workplaces and employees being more efficient, energized, health, and happy.  Read on for more about the features.

The company teamed up with designer Yves Béhar for a new suite of smart office furniture launching today at NeoCon in Chicago, according to The Verge.  How it works is that the system utilizes sensors that can come already installed with Herman Miller desks, or can they can be made to fit any already existing work surface. The sensors then collect data that is anonymized on-the-fly which can then be accessed through a dashboard, giving companies crucial data for how each space gets used.

If you have a fixed height desk, the set up only tracks when people are present, however if it gets utilized with Herman Miller’s sit-to-stand desks, think of it more like an activity tracker you would wear on your wrist.

Via an app, users can set up their preference for parameters like desk height, which can then be recalled at any connected sit-to-stand desk by tapping a button.  If you feel like you're sitting too much, you can also set activity goals (i.e., stand for 12 minutes out of every 60).  Notice you're starting to get a sore back?  If it's time to change postures, the desk will prompt the shift via a soft buzz.  If you're used to sitting at your desk the whole day, then the app will gradually progress toward set activity goals over a period of weeks.

"Our initial testing indicates that employees using Live sit-to-stand desks have become more active,” according to Ryan Anderson, director of commercialization for Live OS, “transitioning between sitting and standing six times as often as previously recorded.”

While at a fraction of the cost of most Herman Miller chairs, sensors that are bought individually cost $100, and then the subsequent software subscription will set users back $36 per desk per year.  Software for sit-to-stand desks with Live OS sensors will run at $60 per year.  On the plus side, Quartz is reporting that there will be volume discounts for enterprises looking to purchase multiples.

If you'd like to learn more, be sure to check out the company's web page.