But that’s just one example. The Workplace Hub can support office collaboration by providing a workspace for teams. It can work as an internet of things support systems providing intelligence from an array of IoT devices.
What exactly the Workplace Hub does depends on your specific needs. Curry said that device can assign local or cloud storage as needs change, for example. He also said that Konica Minolta is planning to offer business services at reduced prices to SMBs using the company’s economy of scale to negotiate on behalf of its customers.
“The Workplace Hub can be a data center,” Curry said. Since the hub would be a repository of data critical to the organization, he said that security will be designed into the system from the ground up.
The Workplace Hub also includes an administrative dashboard that allows the creation of what Curry called Team Spaces. The administrator can also create links between the hub and most commonly used office products, including Microsoft Office.
The device can be tailored for specific types of businesses and professions. This means there will be versions of the Workplace Hub that include support for medical offices, for example.
Curry said that the IoT aggregation functions in the Workplace Hub will be open to any type of devices. He said that the company is already providing APIs for the Workplace Hub software, and that more will be added as the device gets closer to launch in the Fall of 2017.
All of this is part of version 1.0 of the hub, and plenty more features are on the drawing board. For example, Curry said that the company is working to incorporate artificial intelligence and augmented intelligence as well as device orchestration. Augmented intelligence for example enables devices to seamlessly provide information that you need while working.
If this all sounds like a pretty tall order, that’s because it is. Konica Minolta has been working on the Workplace Hub for well over a year to make sure that the device includes the features and capabilities that its customers need and to eliminate those that they don’t want.
At this point, while the company was showing off physical models of the Workplace Hub, Konica was unable to demonstrate any of its planned functionality. A functional product won’t be available until after this fall. And some features and components won't be available until the spring of 2018. Pricing was not available at the time of March 23 press conference.
Done properly, the Workplace Hub has a lot of promise for SMBs, which is important because similar platforms haven’t been available at an affordable price for smaller organizations that were available to large companies. If this works as planned, it could be a real asset for companies that right now have many of the same needs as large enterprises, but a lot less to choose from.