The workforce is about to change dramatically

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Three predictions for what the future might look like

In march, tens of millions of American workers—mostly in white-collar industries such as tech, finance, and media—were thrust into a sudden, chaotic experiment in working from home. Four months later, the experiment isn’t close to ending. For many, the test run is looking more like the long run.

Google announced in July that its roughly 200,000 employees will continue to work from home until at least next summer. Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects half of Facebook’s workforce to be remote within the decade. Twitter has told staff they can stay home permanently.

With corporate giants welcoming far-flung workforces, real-estate markets in the superstar cities that combine high-paid work and high-cost housing are in turmoil. In the San Francisco Bay Area, rents are tumbling. In New York City, offices are still empty; so many well-heeled families with second homes have abandoned Manhattan that it’s causing headaches for the census.

You live where you work is a truism as ancient as grain farming; which means it’s as ancient as the city itself. But the internet specializes in disentangling the bundles of previous centuries, whether it’s cable TV, the local newspaper, or the department store. Now, with the pandemic shuttering the face-to-face economy, it seems poised to weaken the spatial relationship between work and home.

When the pandemic is over, one in six workers is projected to continue working from home or co-working at least two days a week, according to a recent survey by economists at Harvard Business School. Another survey of hiring managers by the global freelancing platform Upwork found that one-fifth of the workforce could be entirely remote after the pandemic.

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Double’s new telepresence robot now drives you around like you’re a Sim

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Click to drive

When my colleague James Vincent tried out Double Robotics’ first telepresence robot in 2015, slowly wheeling around our New York office from his London home base, he described the experience as like playing Doom, but in an office. The company’s latest version of the robot, the Double 3, adds mixed reality video to let users click on the spots they want to drive to instead of having to use a control pad, making the experience closer to controlling a Sim.

The Double 3 now has an array of 3D sensors to allow for self-driving, letting the robot move around while avoiding obstacles. The new “Click-to-drive” interface shows dots on the floor for areas the robot is able to move to, and there are two 13-megapixel cameras that let users pan and zoom around the screen. The cameras can physically tilt up and down, which comes in handy for zooming in to read papers on a desk, for example. The whole interface can be controlled from a web browser or mobile app.

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MantaroBot TelePresence Robot offers low-cost video communication via Skype: CES 2014

Deb Frey trying out the MantaroBot Telepresence Robot at CES 2014.

The MantaroBot TeleMe TelePresence Robot is a mobile platform where you can plug in your own Apple iPad, iPhone or Android Tablet. The TeleMe is plugged into Skype or any other audio and video conferencing application and allows a user to remotely interact with co-workers and associates and their environment.

 

 

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Ghostly Telepresence Robot Telenoid R1

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Casper? Is that you?

Yeah, this bot looks like Casper the friendly ghost. The Telenoid R1 comes from designer Hiroshi Ishiguro and just like Casper I’m sure he doesn’t mean to scare people, but he will. It’s the latest telepresence robot in Japan.

Weighing in at 11-lbs. the robot’s stubs, tail, eyes, mouth and limbs all move in synch with the user, thanks to 9 actuators. Facial expressions are transmitted to the robot through FaceAPI software, which tracks the eyes, mouth, and tilt of the head. (video)

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‘Anybots’ Can Take Your Place At Work

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Anybots “QA” at Work

Having one of those days where even a hearty bowl of Fruit Loops and Jack Daniels can’t get you out of bed? A telepresence robot can come into the office for you, elevating telecommuting to a decidedly new level. The somewhat humanoid ‘bots, produced by Mountain View, California-based Anybots, are controlled via video-game-like controls from your laptop, allowing you to be “present” without actually being in the office. (Videos)

 

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TelePresence Tech – The Ultimate in 3D TelePresence Communications

 

Featured Invention at the Colorado Inventor Showcase 2009

TelePresence Tech offers 3D TelePresence solutions designed to offer an enhanced communication experience for either corporate communications, or customer service applications.  3D TelePresence delivers aligned eye contact and a life-size, three dimensional sense of presence.

 

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QA – Sleek Telepresence Robot By Anybots

QA - Sleek Telepresence Robot By Anybots 

QA by Anybots 

The folks over at Anybots have a telepresence robot that’s impressive inside and out. Called QA, the ‘bot has an attractively slim Apple-white exterior with big ‘n’ soft blue eyes, and its functionality doesn’t suffer for its good looks. It can cruise along on its wheels at up to six miles per hour and, if anything tries to knock it over, it can quickly right itself as it glides along.

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