CES 2019: Sharp offers an office-in-a-box concept for the enterprise

A laptop, printer, displays and a conference room interactive whiteboard are sold in a kit through Sharp.

At CES 2019, TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox spoke with Sharp Business USA President and CEO Mike Marusic to discuss Sharp's new office-in-a-box for enterprise kit. The following is an edited transcription of the interview.

Mike Marusic: We're looking to simplify things for IT and office managers by taking all the elements of an office environment and selling it in one kit. So instead of going out and trying to source a laptop, printer, the displays, and the conference room interactive whiteboard, we've put it all in one system. Depending on your office size, you buy a kit—it comes with the laptop, the wireless routers, the printer, the copier, the desktop displays, and an interactive whiteboard for the office. That way everything is in one kit, what people like is 'one throat to choke,' where the system just comes together and technology works seamlessly together.

One of the most exciting collaboration products we're coming out with in the next year is something called the Windows Collaboration Display. What that is: We've worked with Microsoft to take all of the elements that you're familiar with, with Microsoft 365 at your desktop and moving it to the conference room. So now any projects you work on in the Microsoft Teams platform begin to move into the office conference room. No longer do you have to move around with your notebook and your other devices—all your information moves with you into the conference room.

SEE: CES 2019 news, photos, videos, and more (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

In addition, what's really cool about it is it's connected to the Azure platform of Microsoft. Now you can take any information you have and store it in the cloud with Azure. In addition, the room display has extra sensors; these sensors are monitoring temperature, humidity, any pollution or particles in a room, and it's reporting back to an administrative tool that allows the room to be interfaced with your HVAC system. Maybe if it's getting too warm, the air conditioning goes on; if it's too cold, the heat goes on; or if the room's not being occupied, everything turns off, including the lights, to maximize efficiency.

Most importantly, at the end of a week, a month, a day, or whatever you choose, the management gets a report of utilization of the office. What types of meetings? How many people are in the meetings? This is all intended to improve collaboration to allow people to maximize the office space they have and the time that people spend together to make sure that they're doing the best possible work they can for a company.

SEE: CES 2019: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet Special Feature)

We're seeing a dramatic change in the workplace, and we often talk about millennials, but they brought a lot of new ideas to the office and a lot of that is about collaboration. Their idea of work is not to sit at a cubicle and just work by themselves, pining away at a desk, but moving around to work with co-workers in different spaces. So, the concept of making it easy to take information and move it around so the office-in-the-box concept is not only to simplify the equipment, but now create software to allow people to move around a building—as I move, my information moves with me. Therefore, somebody just isn't sitting in a desk all day taking all their stuff to the next meeting. They'd have to bring their laptop or any other files they have. Their information moves to next spot. Say for example, I go to a meeting in one side of the building, [then] I walk to the other side of the building; I may have information I pull up right on the Windows Collaboration Display and I can print right to the nearby device.

SEE: CES 2019 Special Coverage (CNET)

Today that would be a lot more difficult, so people are looking for the ability to move and be mobile, bringing their own devices to work, so all these technologies that we have at home, we're bringing it to the office and people want to have that ease of use to be more flexible in the workplace.

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By Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...