Can facial and voice recognition help create the magic, frictionless, work from anywhere future we have always imagined? Maybe.
As far back as the 1960s, television and movies have been offering us glimpses of the promise of face recognition and voice recognition. 2001: A Space Odyssey showed us a future where a computer used facial recognition and voice identification to interact with its human operator. You may remember that Hal 9000 could even recognize emotions from the tone of our voice.
"I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset. Why don't you take a stress pill and get some rest?"
-Hal 9000, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Things may not have worked out perfectly in the Stanley Kubrick classic. Other movies, like Minority Report (2002), showed us a dystopian future where biometrics virtually eliminated any concept of privacy, while television and movie series, Star Trek, demonstrated how facial and voice recognition could make our lives more convenient and secure.
But now we are beginning to see the magic of biometrics come to life on our own devices. We can unlock our phones by just looking at them, and our smart devices can recognize our voice and differentiate it from others.
What can we look forward to in another ten years? What might face recognition and voice recognition mean for the office spaces of the future? Could we finally experience seamless, frictionless workspaces? As the way we work is in the midst of a great disruption, perhaps this technology will be the key to more flexible working spaces. Maybe merely walking into a workspace and saying hello will enable the area to transform to the individual, customize the layout, and unlock access to necessary files and systems.
As we begin to design the office spaces of the future, flexibility will be the most critical consideration. Gone will be permanent offices and cubicles, and in their place will be flexible and shared spaces designed for people who want to be able to work anywhere. But, just like now, they will need to be safe and secure. It will likely be the magic of biometrics that will make this future a reality.