Konica Minolta unveils workplace hub

Konica Minolta, announces global business collaboration to transform the workplace and plans to create ‘Digital Self’

Konica Minolta introduced Workplace Hub, in Berlin recently. The new product, the ‘first of its kind’ and ‘the world’s most connected intelligent edge platform’, has been created by a partnership of global tech firms.

The Workplace Hub is a device which brings together everything in one device, the box has been designed with the aim of providing a total service to workplaces including back office, admin, IT maintenance and collaborative workspace. In partnership with Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Sophos, Canonical and BrainTribe, Konica Minolta say the Workplace Hub is the new IT solution that unifies all of an organisation’s technology via a single centralised platform. Together, these tech firms aim to simplify IT for any organisation, large or small. 

The business partnership has big ambitions as the Workplace Hub has been designed to be future proof to accommodate digital transformation.  The platform’s product roadmap includes future integration of the Internet of Things and AI.

The device’s launch event was in Berlin, where tech evangelists, and leading thinkers discussed current workplace issues and future trends.  Douglas Coupland, artist and writer of Generation X spoke at length about how the current generation will find the work of the future. A panel which included economist Noreena Hertz and ‘ladygeek’ Belinda Parmar discussed ‘Generation Z’, what is in store for the children of today and what skills this cohort will need.

Dennis Curry, Vice-President and Director of Business Innovation and R&D at Konica Minolta, said “Workplace Hub will evolve to become the most comprehensive platform for the services and capabilities demanded by the workplace of the future. It simplifies IT operations today and paves the way for exciting new integrations, such as AI and intelligent-edge computing, to become a central part of the digital organisation of the future.”

Version one of Workplace Hub, aims to directly address growing IT complexity by providing more efficient and effective management of the disparate array of tools, services and devices used by modern organisations. Acting as a central hub that simplifies IT, Konica Minolta hopes the Workplace Hub will drive efficiencies by reducing the overall costs of IT management and service provision, and providing real-time data-driven insights that help to improve business processes. 

“Collaboration is a problem, especially for schools,” says Jerome Zastrow, Portfolio Extension Manager for Konica Minolta.  

The Workplace Hub adds cognitive layer of organisational insight which unleashes an intuitive understanding of the world that aims to empower people to collaborate better and to make smarter, data-driven decisions more effectively and easily.  

The current features of the Workplace Hub are particularly pertinent to education, Jerome says: “Workplace Hub really makes things easier for them… because everything is more connected.” As the device uses the same platform for every function so everyone from the IT technician, to the admin team using the management system to the wider workforce within a school or university would benefit. Back office functions such as server, Wi-Fi, storage, firewall and security will be in the Workplace Hub, as well as the ‘team space’ that would help teacher and pupil alike.

Requirements of different parts of the education sector such as universities and primary schools are, of course, very different. The next step, Jerome explained, would be research and education pilots. 

For the future iterations of the Workplace Hub, Jerome explains there are two or three concepts that he expects will be useful to educators and students. 

The Digital Self is a concept which would allow students to share and collaborate while protecting elements of their privacy. Jerome envisages the students’ ‘Digital Self’ or virtual identities will connect to different AIs or digital selves. Students and researchers could set their own levels of privacy according to how much they trust other digital selves.Trust is so important, and a concept called the Privacy Centre will enable the individual to set their own comfort zone to determine what  and how much they want to share.

Another concept, Spoke, is designed as a smart companion. Jerome says it could be helpful to teachers and trainers. Spoke is a portable device and connects for everything you need when moving from place to place, including all the data needed, projector, full camera and AV systems.

These future concepts are medium-term, Jerome estimates, and in the meantime education will get the chance to try the Workplace Hub when it becomes available in autumn 2017. 

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