If data centres become the new office, as journalist Chris Nuttall suggests in this article, we all should get to grips with the fact that our idea of working space has changed forever due to the pandemic and accept that it will most probably not return to what we were used to.
Our working space in many cases had become our second house, the place where we used to spend most of our time and is now becoming a sort of commodity, something to be used 'as a service' similar to cloud storage space. As data centres become the new offices in terms of space occupied, the working space will be reduced and put at disposal of workers on a need-to-use basis. Technology will play a big role in allowing seamless fruition of that space, from the booking of rooms, coffee breaks, to preferred chairs and desks. Physical keys to open doors are likely to be replaced by more sophisticated mechanisms, such as locks based on fingerprints, codes and similar digital tokens.
Interesting to note that even if physical location per se is likely losing importance, the increased use of technology will require the collection of personal data to make these 'new' offices work. As per usual, whenever technology takes the scene to enable changes in our lives, it brings along the conventional privacy and security risk concerns: How is the information collected, shared, protected and sold/licensed to third parties?
Offices left vacant by coronavirus could become the residential towers of the future, according to the architect Lord Norman Foster, but there may be just as much demand for the space from data centres.