Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Digital Table: A Story Part 1

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming illustrated eBook, The Digital Table, available October 22. Follow nsquared here for more information on its release.

The Rate of the Adoption of Technology 

Technology is the tool we use to move the world forward. It is the tool that we invent to meet a need - to count, to cool, to connect.
For this reason it is also a driver of our behaviour. We learn to go to the kitchen for food instead of the market. We learn to check our Maps app and bin the Street Directory. We learn to tap a book.
The graph above demonstrates how new technology is being adopted at an increasingly rapid pace. This also means that our behaviour is changing and adapting at its quickest pace in history. The past twenty years has seen incredible advancements in personal device technology and we have changed our behaviour to meet it. But, in some regards, this behaviour model we have been trained into goes against our nature.
The digital table is a response to this behaviour shift. And to fully understand its place, we will start 200 million years ago…
Our neocortex, the word to make anyone sound smart, developed 200 million years ago. It separated us from our reptilian counterparts for two significant reasons, and explains our drive for constant improvement.
And so the Neocortex has led us to where we are today. In the cloud.

 A Cloud Revolution

The cloud is the latest term given to larger computer power. The cloud, as it appears, is an infinite resource of computing power being used to revolutionalise our communications systems, extending our data from our limited finger tips to endlessly accessible locations.
This means that in many ways, hardware is becoming commoditised. A $99 tablet at the local supermarket is no longer a shock. Our understanding of computers is changing.  Technology has shifted so significantly that instead of technological “silos”, our behaviour is changing in a way that shows we understand everything is, and should be, connected.

Time to Re-Imagine

This siloed technology ignores our natural social drive. We have trained ourselves to behave in this way as this was the only technology available to us. 
The definition of “multi -user technology” is changing. It is not about sharing a computer any more. Multi-user technology isn’t about replacing the individual device. Multi-user technology is about creating spaces to share information together; collaborative spaces to connect meaningfully in the real world again. Multi-user technology is a different mechanism for interaction in the new world.
It’s time to re-imagine technology beyond the single-user.

Check out nsquared here, learn more about multi-user technology here or visit our Facebook or LinkedIn pages

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Size Matters Not

This week's blog is written by our director, Dr Neil Roodyn 

Recently a few things have come together that have me thinking about a question I get asked a lot; 'how big is the company'. Sometimes the question comes in different forms, 'how many developers work there', or 'how many UX designers are in the team', inevitably they come down to a question about the number of people available to work on a project or deliver a solution. The more rigorous form of this questions comes in vendor or supplier questionnaires that ask for a diagram of the organization chart for the organization.

Before I get into a discussion that this question is at best pointless, I would like to take a trip back in time to review how business (especially, but not specifically in technology) has changed in the last 100 years.

The evolution of technology has meant we can as do more with less 'resources'. I put resources in quotes because I have loathing for calling people a resource, they are human beings, calling people a resource belittles their value. Yet I am also including other assets in this bundle of 'resources', including computer power, machinery costs, printing costs, marketing, sales, etc….

For example if you wanted to print out 10,000 copies of a professional color flyer for an event 100 years ago, you would have needed some people to help you with design and layout. Then obtain access to some expensive printing equipment  and people to operate that equipment. Today you can spend an evening at home on your laptop, download countless free templates, layout your flyer as you desire and send it to be printed by email, and delivered within a couple of days to your work place. Of course you can also go to countless online resources (such as Odesk or Fiverr) and find someone who will put the whole thing together for you at a low price. Also you probably wouldn’t bother to actually print it any more, instead it would an email newsletter, or web ad. With the capability of profiling people online, it also means that you might only need 1000 targets to get the desired result, rather than 10,000, as you know so much more about the people with whom you are communicating.

The point is you can do a lot more with a lot less and this is validated in the  Scott Galloway talk 'Who is the Fifth Horseman?' . Galloway points out that technology companies that apply technology internally to help drive their own business are managing to reach very high revenues per employee, Amazon generating $10M in revenue per 17 employees and Apple making $10M in revenue for every 5 employees. While the rest of this talk is fascinating and worth watching. A big take away for me was this small number of people required to achieve great results. Technology is the enabler here, the ability to deliver more with less.

I have recently had some interesting conversations with technologists and investors in the heart of the technology world, Silicon Valley. They are discussing the need for rapid growth and old school thinking that in order to be successful you need to have a fast growth company, and fast growth in traditional terms means, people and 'resources'. It is a common concept that in order to scale up the business you need more people, but is it still true?

Read the full article here

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

The One Trick to Skyrocket Your Productivity

Be Active.

Manage Your Energy Levels

Our body is made up of chemicals. We are giant, glorified walking petrie dishes. If you put in the time to ready consider what you are putting into your body and how you are treating your body: what your body responds to, what it doesn’t; then you will see extraordinary effects. Maybe three coffees isn’t as good at improving your productivity in the longer term as it feels like it is. Then again, maybe it is. Keeping account of the food you eat, what hours of the day you feel buzzed and those that you don’t, will help you maintain a consistent energy level the whole day. Suddenly 3pm is as productive as 10am.

Mindful Exercise

Something that has been found to remarkably help people improve productivity is doing 30 minutes of exercise before work begins. The rhythm of a jog creates a mindfulness, preparing people for the day ahead. Already, people have solved problems before they are even in the office. Something you must keep in mind too (and to continue this jogging theme), productivity is a marathon and not a sprint. It is something to work toward, and like a jog, takes effort initially but the fruits will realise themselves quickly enough.

This is not to mention that a daily or even weekly jog will improve your energy levels in the longer term, keeping you alert and energised for the whole day as well as improving your sleeping habits.


Active Workplace

Another way to keep active, employed at a management level, is to upgrade your office from a cubicle farm or open plan office into an Activity Based Workplace (ABW). Rather than sitting people in one place and keeping them confined to one particular work station, ABW is about providing a a variety of office environments to create a more social workplace in order improve collaborative workflow. The range of office environments might include hot desks, more casual relaxed workspaces and central team spaces called “anchor points”, where people can share ideas and host meetings. ABW forces employees to be less sedentary, more active and as a result, more productive and enjoy working more. 


Keeping active is a mindset not only for you but also a mindset for an organisation. At nsquared we design and build for AWB environments, and staying true to our belief, we also work in an active way. Meetings are often walk-and-talks between pairs, and for larger groups, our stand up DIGITABLE PLUS meetings are dynamic and pointed, keeping us constantly moving. To top it off, running seems to be the default mode of nsquared legs, spurring each other on at our daily stand up meetings. An active office is an engaged office.

Follow nsquared on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit our website here. Have a productive day!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Whole New Interface. A Whole New Opportunity.

Introducing nsquared tabletopTM, our 360 degree multi-user operating system designed especially for the digital table.

The new design had one simple goal: a screen that lets any amount of people do exactly what they want to do.

The result is an intuitive, elegant interface which brings people together to genuinely collaborate, unlike so much technology that exists now. Using free-floating content boxes which are fully manipulable, rotatable and scalable, nsquared tabletop enriches interactions and improves productivity between people.

To bring nsquared tabletop to life, we have developed nearly 20 custom apps which are now available, ranging from productivity tools to multi-user games.

Who did we have in mind when designing nsquared tabletop? The forward-thinking office, lobby, school, library, shopping centre… the possibilities are endless. Anyone who appreciates innovative solutions and understands the value of collaboration, nsquared tabletop was developed for you.

Working together in the same physical space with cutting edge multi-user technology; welcome to the next step in collaboration.

Work. Together. Better. nsquared tabletop is available now. Contact us for more details, or visit our website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter pages.