The Coming Driverless Mobile Office Era: Seventeen Mind-Bending Examples
Coworking spaces like WeWork may soon have a new kid on the block to worry about.
Driverless technology will invariably open the door to a whole new era of non-commuting vehicles, and one of the earliest examples we’ll see will be the driverless mobile office.
If you can imagine having an “office” pull up in your driveway, somewhere in the range of an 8’ X 12’ space, or perhaps an 8’ X 24’ conference room, with dimmable windows, projectors, sound systems, 5G-enabled, with flexible, reconfigurable furniture that is perfect for both working alone and hosting meetings, you’ll get the picture.
Executives need only Wi-Fi in, plug in their calendars, and the entire day can be managed from their mobile office, picking up people for each new meeting, and dropping them off before the next meeting begins.
Rather than working from the isolation of home or a single office, mobile offices will add exotic new dimensions to every workday. But they can be far more than just offices.
Mobile offices can also be working laboratories, tattoo parlors, manufacturing operations, arbitration courts, zoning resolution stations, police command centers, mobile ERs, fertility clinics, or pawn shops. Some will be owned by businesses while others will be part of a fleet and leased on a per-use basis.
Most importantly, these vehicles can operate as moving billboards wrapped with giant branding and marketing messages emblazoned on every available surface.
Turning Every Day into a Mobile Work Day
New products require new approaches to doing business. Sometimes it’s a different way of approaching sales, branding, manufacturing, marketing, or finding new vendors. In each of these situations, businesses need to develop fresh thinking and form new relationships. What better way to tackle these new demands than to turn each day into a dynamic mobile experience where forward progress is not only a motto, but also a common way of doing business?
Here are seventeen scenarios designed to explode your thinking and help you reimagine your entire business strategy:
1. New Housing Development Office
A young couple has just put down a deposit for a semi custom home and your job is to show and upsell possible upgrades for the soon-to-be-constructed home. With a complete showroom filled with everything from countertops, to exterior rock and brick, and elaborate audio/visual displays, you pick up the couple, travel to the construction site, and accompany them to other homes under construction, allowing them to touch and feel the difference of every decision.
Will there be a driverless mobile cooking school in your future?
2. Cooking School
Every morning the cooking school travels around town picking up its students, with unique tastings, conversations, and learning moments happening in between each stop. Once everyone is in place, the experience starts with a stop at a local garden where fresh herbs and vegetables are picked and added to the ingredient list. The mobile kitchen is designed to make virtually any type of food and the on-board chef(s) are always quick to improvise and match the type of training to the audience they’re working with. And the ever-changing views outside will make it a fascinating experience to remember.
3. The Investment Pitch Office
Investors, sitting in distant offices surrounded by fellow investors, often lose perspective on the true nature of startups and the type of working laboratory needed for newbies to succeed. By forcing the investors to meet directly with the entrepreneurs on their home turf, they will have a far better appreciation for the time and effort being exerted by the startup team, and the nuanced “little things” that can make a huge difference in the overall success formula.
4. Speed Dating
When was the last time you stepped out of your house r local coffee shop to go on a speed date? Never, right? In the very near future, the cure for loneliness is only a few clicks away. And next-gen AI will connect you with people you may actually care about meeting. Each 5 minute speed date, where you are literally speeding around town during the encounter, can lead to as much or as little as you want to have happen.
5. The Click-on-Me Marketing Model
Over the next few years a large percentage of consumers will be wearing smart glasses. In this era, many forms of retail will transform into more of a performance art as location and real estate take a back seat to product models who spend their day trying to get people to “click and buy” whatever they’re pitching. People who are good at attracting attention will naturally be drawn to this line of work, as every new day will have them searching the next great location. As models, each of whom will become intimately attached to their products, will be constantly refining their approach, using various forms of music, percussion, dance, rhythmic chanting, mime, and comedic gesturing to gain both the trust and respect of their audiences they find themselves performing for. Naturally, they will learn new techniques from each other as they travel from one stop to the next.
6. The Experiential Classroom
For both kids and adults, the amount of learning we take away from any experience is directly proportional to the number of micro learning moments our mind is actively exposed to. When we switch from a static classroom to an ever-changing backdrop, our minds are naturally switched into a high level of alertness. However, the highest value learning happens when attentiveness, place, emotion, technique, and demonstration all intersect into one super memorable moment. While a mobile classroom does not instantly make all these things happen, it does improve the likelihood it will.
7. Group Coaching
As most coaches know, the value of their advise improves exponentially when a third party can directly validate a key point with a personal experience. In today’s world, where the irregular cadence of everyday business makes group coaching problematic, placing it into an AI-managed join-on-the-fly process, where every pickup and drop-off schedule can be synced to fit with your timetable, the true value of involvement will become far more spontaneous and potentially far more therapeutic as the best coaches learn to ride the wave of each and every transition.
8. Mobile Chiropractor Office
Doctors, dentists, and chiropractors all get bored being inside the same walls day-in and day-out. For chiropractors, making house calls may be the best marketing tool ever, especially for people who have severe mobility issues, or recent back issues. This could also be true for physical therapists, trainers/coaches, and massage therapists.
9. Mobile Retreat
As mobile offices and mobile events gain traction, we will also be reinventing other kinds of opportunities that are not intuitively obvious. Taking people out of their normal office setting, and grouping them with others, who they would not normally meet, has been gaining acceptance as a proven model for experiential learning. However, by adding a mobile component, where every destiny and learning experience becomes part of each day’s soon-to-be-revealed mystery, has the potential for adding excitement and involvement that is currently missing in today’s business retreats.
10. Mobile Dentistry
The idea of performing a root canal on a squeamish patient while traveling down a bumpy, pot-hole infested stretch of highway does not instill confidence in most would-be dental customers. But the actual dental work would be much more refined that that. Making stops at each new client, as a way of insuring a full schedule without the dreadful waiting room experience, and having the actual finely detailed dental work performed in a stationary vehicle, makes sense. But between those times the operation would be fully mobile.
11. Industrial Training
Every existing industry will be introducing new tools, techniques, software, procedures, and policies over the coming years, and managing the ongoing training and education side of the business will become far more challenging as the rate of change accelerates. For this reason a number of mobile training services will begin offering “we’ll-come-to-you” instruction and training packages designed specifically to match the needs of particular businesses.
12. 12-Step Meetings
Those who frequent a local 12-step meeting like AA, NA, MA, or GA can finally emerge from the basements and backrooms and feel like they’re reintegrating with society. And transportation issues will no longer be an acceptable excuse for not being there. In fact, a drive through the problem areas of a city may garner additional recruits and may make the groups themselves less introspective and more proactive.
13. Mobile Gaming Salon
In just a few years, the stereotypical basement-dwelling game fanatic will be a thing of the past. In addition, games themselves will transition from today’s couch potato button-pushing marathon to more of an aerobic workout. At the same time, the advent of mobile salons will open the door to location-specific gaming experiences that are tied to hyper-local cultures and the neighborhood people and street-level architecture that exemplify them. Mobile gaming will open the doors to radical new game designs, business models, tournament play, and entirely new entertainment styles.
14. Personalized Retail-Manufacturing Shop
As we move into the era of hyper-individualized products and services, we will begin to see a wide variety of both mobile retail and mobile manufacturing operations spring up. Whether its shoes, guitars, dinnerware, candles, sweaters, or smart home devices, customers will have the option of sorting through styles, materials, colors, and features before hitting the purchase button. Some items will require a body scan, others will need installation, and still others will involve training. But whatever the product or service demands, having a mobile team arrive in style will make you feel like you’re part of the process.
15. Group Therapy/Counseling Center
– 90% of what happens in life, happens from just showing up. And when the “showing up” part has been reduced to walking out your front door and stepping into a session, it’s hard to find a valid excuse to say “no.” Group therapy has long been the social “push” to both correct your thinking and adjust your approach to the issues you’re dealing with.
16. The Volunteer Center
If you’re the volunteering type, every day begins with you checking alert messages about possible topics or events where you can join forces with other like-minded volunteers to tackle the project of the day. As soon as you click “ok,” you will receive an ETA for the mobile volunteer office that will pick you up and whisk you off to the job site. But in this setting, you’ll be able to meet the other volunteers beforehand and learn about the challenges ahead before you arrive.
17. Mobile Daycare
Young people who have to wrestle through the demands of getting themselves and their kids ready each morning, before making the commute to a daycare center and then to work, know all too well the taxing nature of this morning ritual. However, if the “daycare comes to you,” suddenly the 8-10 phase changes you make each morning, suddenly seem far more doable. Mobile daycare also opens the door for more road trips and adventures for the kids. Childhood never seemed more exciting!
The options are as limitless as our imagination
The key thing to remember is that even though driverless technology will make our roads and highways operate far more efficiently, it doesn’t mean less traffic. In fact, just the opposite.
Autonomous vehicles will unleash new thinking for all kinds of non-commuting and utilitarian vehicles that currently don’t exist.
Naturally the true spectrum of opportunity will depend on pricing. But keep in mind, as the labor cost associated with driving disappears, and rather than spending a boatload on an expensive office in the high rent district, the mobile office may indeed be more affordable than you first think.
The original idea of having a traveling office was to give people slightly more control in their lives, and an ever-changing backdrop to lighten the tedium of business. With this arrangement, owners can run their business as many hours as they want, and simply park it when they’re done.
In the past, businesses had set hours, and storefront operations were very rigid and inflexible. But mobile businesses don’t require either the real estate investment or the staffing necessary to cover the hours the business community expects of them. Everything about mobile offices has a way altering traditional thinking.
The Coming Driverless Mobile Office Era: Seventeen Mind-Bending Examples
I was thoroughly intrigued when I found out the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado was offering a degree in asteroid mining.
Yes, the idea of extracting water, oxygen, minerals, and metals from an asteroid sounds like science fiction to most people, but it’s not that far away. In fact, Colorado School of Mines’ newly launched “Space Resources” program will help people get in on the ground floor.
After thinking about the proactive nature of this approach, it became abundantly clear how backward thinking most colleges have become.
When colleges decide on a new degree program, they must first recruit instructors, create a new curriculum, and attract students. As a result, the talent churned out of these newly minted programs is the product of a 6-7 year pipeline.
For this reason, anticipatory-thinking institutions really need to be setting their sights on what business and industries will need 7-10 years from now.
The Risk-Averse Nature of Education
When Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen released his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, his core message that disruptive change is the path to success, was only partially embraced by higher education.
While many were experimenting with MOOCs and smart whiteboards, changes in the subject matter of their courses still evolved at the traditional pace of discovery.
This is not to say colleges are not innovative. Rather, the demands of today’s emerging tech environment are forcing business and industries to shift into an entirely new gear. And that most definitely includes our academic institutions.
From a management perspective, it’s far easier to oversee a contained system where all variables are constrained. But during times of change, we tend to give far more power to the “unleashers,” who are determined to test the status quo and release ideas and trial balloons to see what works.
For this reason, managers and creatives often find themselves on opposing sides, and the winners of these warring factions often determine what we as consumers see as the resulting ripples of change.
Offering Pilot Programs
When Facebook bought Oculus Rift in March 2014 for $2 billion, the job boards went crazy, as there was an instant uptick in the demand for VR designers, engineers, and experience creators. But no one was teaching VR, and certainly not the Oculus Rift version of it.
Colleges have a long history of being blindsided by new technologies:
- When eBay launched, no one was teaching ecommerce strategies
- When Myspace launched, no one was teaching social networking
- When Google launched, no one was teaching online search engine strategies
- When Uber launched, no one was teaching sharing economy business models
- When Apple first opened their App Store, no one was teaching smart phone app design
- When Amazon first allowed online storefronts, no one was teaching the Amazon business model
- When YouTube first offered ways to monetize videos, no one was teaching it
Since most academic institutions are only willing to put their name on programs with long-term viability, the endorsement of half-baked agendas does not come easy. However, that is exactly what needs to be done.
Colleges can no longer afford to remain comfortably behind the curve.
52 Future College Degrees
As a way of priming your thinking on this matter, here are 52 future degrees that forward-thinking colleges could start offering today:
- Space Exploration – space tourism planning and management
- Space Exploration – planetary colony design and operation
- Space Exploration – next generation space infrastructure
- Space Exploration – advanced cosmology and non-earth human habitats
- Bioengineering with CRISPR – policy and procedural strategies
- Bioengineering with CRISPR – advanced genetic engineering systems
- Bioengineering with CRISPR – operational implementations and system engineering
- Bioengineering with CRISPR – ethical regulation and oversight
- Smart City – autonomous traffic integration
- Smart City – mixed reality modeling
- Smart City – autonomous construction integration
- Smart City – next generation municipal planning and strategy
- Autonomous Agriculture – robotic systems
- Autonomous Agriculture – drone systems
- Autonomous Agriculture – supply chain management
- Autonomous Agriculture – systems theory and integration
- Swarmbot – design, theory, and management
- Swarmbot – system engineering and oversight
- Swarmbot – municipal system design
- Swarmbot – law enforcement and advanced criminology systems
- Cryptocurrency – digital coin economics
- Cryptocurrency – crypto-banking system design
- Cryptocurrency – regulatory systems and oversight
- Cryptocurrency – forensic accounting strategies
- Blockchain – design, systems, and applications
- Blockchain – blockchain for biological systems
- Blockchain – large-scale integration structures
- Blockchain – municipal system design strategies
- Global Systems – system planning, architecture, and design
- Global Systems – large-scale integration strategies
- Global Systems – operational systems checks and balance
- Global Systems – governmental systems in a borderless digital world
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - drone film making
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – command center operations
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – municipal modeling and planning systems
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – emergency response systems
- Mixed Reality - experiential retail
- Mixed Reality – three-dimensional storytelling
- Mixed Reality – game design
- Mixed Reality – therapeutic systems and design
- Advanced Reproductive Systems – designer baby strategies, planning, and ethics
- Advanced Reproductive Systems – surrogate parenting policy and approaches
- Advanced Reproductive Systems – organic nano structures
- Advanced Reproductive Systems – clone engineering and advanced processes
- Artificial Intelligence – data management in an AI environment
- Artificial Intelligence – advanced human-AI integration
- Artificial Intelligence – streaming AI data services
- Artificial Intelligence – advanced marketing with AI
- Quantum Computing – data strategies in a quantum-connected world
- Quantum Computing – quantum-level encryption and security
- Quantum Computing – quantum computing implementation strategies
- Quantum Computing – AI-quantum system integration
More so than any time in history, we have a clear view of next generation technologies. Naturally, we’re still a long way from 100% clarity, but for most of the technologies listed above, the shifting tectonic plates of change can be felt around the world.
Without taking decisive action, colleges run the risk of being circumvented by new types of training systems that can meet market demands in a fraction of the time it takes traditional academia to react.
The ideas I’ve listed are a tiny fraction of what’s possible when it comes to emerging tech degrees. Should colleges stick their neck out like Colorado School of Mines and offer degrees that may not be immediately useful? Adding to that question, how many college degrees are immediately useful today?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.