Anywhere Working Whitepaper – enabling the future of our cities

On April 24, 2012 · 1 Comment

By Linda Chandler, enterprise Architect at Microsoft UK

Microsoft, in partnership with, has today launched a whitepaper looking at the concept of future cities. You can download the whitepaper here.

Entitled “The Anywhere Working City”, it explores four key concepts:

  • The relationship between infrastructure and architecture
  • The “touch-down office” and “third working spaces”
  • The 100 mile city
  • The evolution, not revolution of our cities

One of the key ideas of the whitepaper is the idea of a “third space”: a new set of urban locations within a city where people, place and technology meet to bridge the gap between home and the office. Many people are already embracing anywhere working by working from home and remote offices. What we are seeing from employees is a growing demand to work from a local dedicated space within a 20-minute commute that meets the connectivity requirements and social interactions needed for a productive work/life balance. Coffee shops are great at serving coffee, but aren’t necessarily the best places to work – make calls, get peace and quiet or brainstorm creative ideas.

In many ways, these future cities already exist. Smarter working concepts are being used by businesses across London and beyond. Enabling technologies such as cloud-based services, the increasing number of Wi-Fi hotspots, the consumerisation of technology and the growing acceptance of bring-your-own-device schemes in offices mean the “place” where you can now work is both varied and numerous. Emailing from a café or train is now as easy and acceptable as from your desk, and the number of connected locations around the world continues to grow on a daily basis.

The paper considers how third spaces around railway stations and other transport hubs that can be used to stagger commuting times will continue to grow in popularity. Concepts such as the touch-down office space – where pay-as-you-go technology is used to allow people to access flexible working areas – do not seem so far-fetched. The concept of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ is gaining in popularity, so why not ‘Bring Your Own Office’?

The whitepaper examines the legacy for London beyond the Olympic spotlight. It highlights how smarter travel combined with alternative working practices, as championed by the Anywhere Working Consortium, will guide London in becoming an Anywhere Working City. This will aim to ensure that London creates a legacy beyond the Games. Certainly if the current TfL projections are anything to go by, London 2012 and strains on existing infrastructure provide the best evidence yet that Anywhere Working Cities and smarter working concepts are more of a necessity than ever before.

In fact, technology is often viewed as a short-term solution to problems, rather than a longer-term driver of social and societal change. However, as the world’s cities struggle from over-crowding issues, environmental concerns and economic pressures, technology has actually emerged as the front-runner in the battle to facilitate a more sustainable city for the 21st century.



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