Steelcase Forecast: Walls Are The Next Technology Device

           Steelcase Forecast: Walls Are The Next Technology Device

Company Unveils Vertical Intelligent Architecture to Create Smart Rooms for
Augmented Group and Individual Innovation

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 10, 2013

CHICAGO, June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The newest technological device may be
one of the oldest architectural elements – the wall. Steelcase today launches
V.I.A.™, vertical intelligent architecture, designed to create spaces that
help fuel the innovation process. V.I.A. hosts the latest large-scale video
and display technologies, offers unprecedented acoustic privacy, and easily
reconfigures to support rapid change. It is being shown for the first time at
NeoCon 2013 in Chicago June 10-12.

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"Walls are the most underutilized real estate in commercial environments
today," states Allan Smith, vice president of marketing for Steelcase. "Walls
are not 'smart' and they're rarely very private. We created the V.I.A.
architectural solution to host the latest large-scale technologies and create
smart rooms where people can concentrate and get creative, whether they're
working in a group or individually."

Steelcase consolidated over 15 years of research on innovation and identified
several key tensions in the workplace that need to be resolved:

  oInnovation requires focus – both at a group and individual level, but
    distractions undermine innovation. While 95% of workers say it's important
    to have access to quiet places for concentrated work, according to
    Steelcase data, a recent Steelcase/Harris Interactive survey revealed 50
    percent of office workers feel their work spaces do not prevent noisy
  oThe more mobility workers gain because of their devices, the more they
    need fixed places where they can connect and collaborate. The most
    important attributes people want in these fixed spaces are: acoustical
    privacy (56%), easy-to-use videoconferencing (47%), whiteboards (43%) and
    multiple display screens (40%).
  oThe smaller technology devices become, the more people need large-scale
    displays to share and communicate effectively with others. In fact, 39
    percent of workers say it is very important that collaboration spaces
    allow them to share content from their mobile devices.
  oThe more data organizations generate, the more people need places to help
    them make sense of it. But 35 percent of people say they struggle with
    visualizing data while working on tough problems.

Steelcase sees a shift toward three primary types of workplace technologies:
smartphones, tablets and large-scale architectural displays. "Architecture and
technology will become the same thing," notes Brett Kincaid, director of
design for the V.I.A. architectural solution. "Technology-enabled architecture
will be required to support smart rooms that create the optimal conditions for
collaboration and innovation among teams that are globally distributed, as
well as locally based." Visitors at NeoCon will enter rooms created with
V.I.A. that are enabled with sensors, activators and microprocessors that will
augment the interactions of people within the space by taking on tasks such as
adjusting lighting, signaling noise levels, turning on screens and capturing

In the future, walls will not just define private offices but will define
"private experiences" such as video conversations, brainstorming new concepts,
and confidential conversations. V.I.A. creates a new benchmark around true
acoustical privacy and is engineered with full silencing seals to contain
noise disturbance from active team work. Conversely, people crave spaces
where they can work individually, stay focused and have a private conversation
freely. In fact, 65% of workers said they feel self-conscious about being
overheard during conversations they intended to be private, according to the
Steelcase/Harris study. Additionally, "unwanted sound" is well documented as
physically exhausting with negative impacts on health and wellbeing. The
V.I.A. architectural solution can create individual or team spaces that
virtually eliminate noise disruptions and offer enhanced private experiences.

Created by the Steelcase Design Studio in collaboration with Claudio Bellini,
V.I.A. anticipates future needs and can accept new technologies as they

"Innovation is hard work, and people need smart rooms, enabled with technology
and enhanced acoustical privacy where they can collaborate on a vertical
surface or focus on their own," notes Kincaid. "As real estate becomes more
limited, walls need to work harder. Today they are an underutilized asset.
Tomorrow walls will become the next technology device and the new work

About Steelcase

For more than 100 years, Steelcase Inc. has helped create great experiences
for the world's leading organizations– wherever work happens. Steelcase and
our family of brands– including Steelcase®, Coalesse®, Designtex®, Details®,
Nurture®, PolyVision® and Turnstone®– offer a comprehensive portfolio of
furnishings, products and services designed to unlock human promise and
support social, economic and environmental sustainability. We are globally
accessible through a network of channels, including approximately 650 dealers.
Steelcase is a global, industry-leading and publicly traded company with
fiscal 2013 revenue of $2.9 billion.

SOURCE Steelcase

Contact: Katie Hasse, 616-558-4944,
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