Ask the average person in the business of control room furniture and they'll probably tell you that they don't think of their sector as particularly technologically-advanced. Control room furniture, when taken as a whole, is in fact a stable and conservative sector. But I do not see this as a bad thing in the least. The strength of American manufacturing is built upon stable segments like control room and office furniture. As a result, firms in those sectors are doing everyone a service by resisting perpetual innovations.
But there is an upcoming innovation that might require a less conservative stance. One of the leading designers in the furniture world is about to unveil a new genre of office furniture that will change everything going forward. Herman Miller is product-testing a customizable line of office furniture called Metaform that allows the various pieces to be reconfigured in countless ways. Rest assured, the pieces can be set into the traditional cubicle form that we are all used to. But the pieces can be rearranged to allow for more face-to-face time if a company is undertaking more collaborative projects.
Studio 7.5, a German-run design firm, was hired by Herman Miller to bring Metaform to life. They have set up prototypes in several offices to gather information about how consumers might utilize the various available parts. This
is Herman Miller's next step toward developing their "Living Office" concept. This initiative anticipates that in the office of the future, employees won't be assigned to individual work spaces. If this is true, the capability of office furniture to be configured in an infinite variety of ways will be the standard. If you're looking to buy from a foward thinking compan, check out Inracks, Inc., or simply check this page.
As things are now, these new demands could impact noc consoles negatively. Control room furniture is typically designed for a particular space. If Herman Miller is correct and all work becomes less stationary, this could decrease the number of orders for control room furniture. Collaborative work is unlikely to increase in certain sectors (defense, intelligence). But taken as a whole, American culture has become increasingly collaboration-focused. We see this in looking at crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing, which have become nearly ubiquitous at this point.
It's probably time for us to update the perception of the control room furniture industry. This isn't necessarily bad news for the industry, but a change is almost definitely on the way. Rearrangeable furniture might initially lead to an industry downturn, but it behooves control room furniture manufacturers to embrace the technology. Otherwise, the sector could falter and end up weakening the American backbone.