Research Topic

The Workplace of the Future: How Current Technologies Will Transform our Offices, Services we Use and the Industrial Environment

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About this Research Topic

In the last decade, workplaces have evolved towards digitization. Today we are aiming at new concepts of workplaces, and in the near future, people will work in digitally connected environments where a natural human machine interaction and an agile access to data will be available. Interaction among humans ...

In the last decade, workplaces have evolved towards digitization. Today we are aiming at new concepts of workplaces, and in the near future, people will work in digitally connected environments where a natural human machine interaction and an agile access to data will be available. Interaction among humans acting in physically distant spaces, the presence of artificial embodied agents, and the availability of augmented reality sources of information will be common in every-day working experience.

Research on Human-Machine Interaction, Virtual Environments, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Physical Systems will play central roles in this revolution of our workplaces, contributing to the creation of mixed working environments that bridge digital and physical worlds. The research outcomes will inspire the next generation of products and services for the workplace of the future.

In this new and evolving domain, key challenges include:

• Automatic correlation of visual information about physical surroundings with digital knowledge contained in an underlying enterprise database. This integration will suggest and trigger the appropriate response depending on the context and needs of the user.
• Design of appropriate workspaces and working processes, exploiting the potential of ICT, including mobile systems, multiple-sensor data, sensor networks and internet of things.
• Creation of shared virtual work-spaces to facilitate interaction, co-working, and information sharing among individuals who may be physical very far away. Here, the enabling technologies are computer vision, augmented reality, machine learning. They will allow for the development of effective methods for scene understanding and activity recognition, the creation of virtual environments, combined with a focus on the user’s comfort and state of mind.
• Introduction of robotics agents interacting with humans and the surrounding environment and becoming effective working companions. In this context the ability of a robot to interact with humans in shared activities will be a further crucial issue.

The aim of this Research Topic is to gather contributions from the industry and academics and to share recent advancements and new perspectives in those areas that will characterize the revolution of the workplace of the future.

Contributions on the following topics are welcome:
• ICT and evolution of working processes: digitalization of working processes, virtual offices, Industry 4.0, Internet of Things
• Shared virtual environments: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Computer Vision methods for mixed reality.
• Human-Human interaction in virtual meeting rooms, Human-Machine Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction: motion analysis and gesture/action/activity recognition; affective computing, face and body expression analysis, emotion recognition; user experience evaluation, ergonomics.
• Machine learning models: deep learning and semi-supervised architectures for learning adaptive models from high dimensional data streams and heterogeneous data sources.
• Devices and sensors for virtual and mixed reality: mobile devices, head-mounted displays, VR devices, RGBD sensors, smart environments and sensors, eye-tracking. Ubiquitous sensing networks and IoT: environmental and behavioral sensing, occupancy sensing and spatial utilization, indoor air quality and comfort metrics; Internet of things for building control.


Keywords: Workplace of the Future, Computer Vision, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Environments, Machine Learning, Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, Ubiquitous Sensing Networks, Internet of Things


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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