Sitting in the middle of a busy Tokyo subway station, it resembles a cross between a phone box and a cupboard. But it is, in fact, a high tech single-person “office” designed for busy Japanese commuters.
The mini smart office, created by the Japanese company Fuji Xerox, aims to tap into a new generation of “teleworkers” who need to work while on the move, with a mix of technology and convenience.
The booths are as compact as they are high-tech: the monochrome spaces measure only 1.6m by 1m and stands just under 2m high, while fixtures are snugly limited to a desk, chair and LCD screen.
Behind the frosted white door, there are free wifi and power outlets while the temperature and humidity are carefully controlled to allow visitors to work in comfort year-round.
Users will be able to reserve the one-person offices online in units of 15 minutes, before unlocking and operating the spaces in the stations using their smartphones.
Tokyo Subway have installed two of the new generation offices in the busy central stations Tameike Sanno and Kita Senju, ahead of a free public pilot test from June to September.
“Fuji Xerox has continually searched for what the next generation office should be, by conducting tests on satellite offices from as early as the 1980s,” Mayuko Tanaka, a spokesperson at Fuji Xerox, told the Telegraph.
“Our technology and know-how – which we have cultivated from developing multifunction printers – has been reflected in the booths set up in these stations. In particular, we can controlling the temperature and humidity inside the booths.
“Our development activities are conducted from a human-centric approach and we will continue to search for ways of providing a better, comfortable working environment.”
It’s perhaps a fitting creation for Tokyo, a sprawling megalopolis where space has long been a luxurious commodity due to its densely packed population.
Tokyo has already excelled at creating cleverly designed small residences – dubbed micro homes – in recent decades, in response to the growing issue of a lack of space plus high property and land prices.
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