By Brandon Fischer, VP of Research & Development at Prysm, Inc. (Guest Contributor)
Major technology enhancements have allowed today’s employees to collaborate in real-time while working from disparate locations. While these technologies have supported a growing remote workforce, there is still something to be said for working alongside colleagues, brainstorming around the office cooler, and simply building a rapport with a team. No matter where collaboration happens, it needs to be done effectively.
For April Fools’ 2017, Prysm “unveiled” Prysm Avatar, a drone that gives individuals the ability to reap the benefits of working from home without sacrificing the interpersonal advantages of being in the office. Each drone is equipped with sophisticated sensors and a holographic projector that displays a user’s likeness as a life-sized avatar. Imagine, lounging at home while your avatar gives an important boardroom presentation.
While Prysm Avatar is a fun concept for April Fools’ Day, if you look closer, it also represents the future of work, and the type of futuristic software solutions Prysm is helping to make reality. At Prysm, we enable individuals and teams to explore all their data, content, applications and tools in hyper-visual, always-on digital workplaces. Because of our long pedigree in hardware and software, we know what is needed to improve workplace collaboration and what tools enterprises will require in the future.
In our research and development (R&D) department – what we call Prysm Labs – we are always looking for better ways to enhance collaboration and optimize teamwork. This doesn’t mean we will be creating holographic images so employees can join a meeting in their PJs (just yet!), but Prysm Avatar is proof of how we’re anticipating the needs of enterprises and their employees. I like to think of these yearly showcases (check out all of our April Fools’ “ideas” here) as a peek into what the Prysm R&D team does on a daily basis. When we were brainstorming for Prysm Avatar, we thought about the natural evolution of collaboration technology. We asked ourselves, “What will the workplace of 2030 look like? Will drones and robots be a part of our lives? And if so, how?”
The answer was undoubtedly yes.
Today’s robots are doing amazing things, and some already have remote capabilities. However, on-the-ground robots can be hindered by a variety of office hazards, such as chairs, filing cabinets and people themselves. Given that drones can fly and avoid these typical obstacles, we knew that Prysm Avatar had to be a drone; not to mention, some of the typical attributes of a drone – such as the fan-like propellers – would allow us to bring some additional humor to our video.
In the video, we even showcased setting boundaries — like not being able to follow a colleague into the bathroom. From there, the team really began to dream of a world of literal office drones projecting our best selves in the office. One scene that didn’t make the final cut showed a glimpse into an entire office full of avatars with only one or two real humans present.
At Prysm, we are committed to helping our customers break down the barriers of collaboration and to driving the work styles of the future. We’ve developed an agnostic technology platform that enables work to happen at any time, anywhere, on any device. While our April Fools’ videos may seem like science fiction, at Prysm they are a stepping-stone to imagine what the future of work may one day look like.
Brandon Fischer is the vice president of research and development at Prysm, Inc. He has more than 20 years of experience designing and developing interactive software-based solutions for web, mobile, desktop, and large-scale video wall systems.
Fischer founded Anacore, where the company developed two core products: MediaStation, an interactive digital signage platform, and Synthesis, a multi-user collaboration platform. Anacore was acquired by Prysm in 2014.