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WeWork Debuts The AI Desk

Mary Finnigan, WeWork Director of European Transactions (centre) with Mark Bruno, Managing Director Datscha UK (left) and Tony Skipper, Director, 5plus Architects

The AI desk is about to be born, thanks to WeWork and Amazon's Alexa, and it could be coming to a WeWork office near you very soon.

WeWork is trailling artificial intelligence in New York which is "at the convergence of AI and office furniture," We Work European Transactions Director Mary Finnigan said at the Bisnow Manchester State of the Market event.

"This comes out of the analytics we've done on our spaces," Finnigan said. "What we've developed in some locations in New York is the ability that as you approach your desk, the desk will recognise you via a phone app, will raise the desk to the right height, will know if you prefer standing or sitting desks, and will adapt the temperature or lighting according to how you customised the app.

"So it's about customising spaces to suit our members, whilst recognising that different people can come in and out of the space on a regular basis."


RSM Head of RE Construction Ian Taylor; Hines UK Managing Director Anthony Leonard; Managing Director Datscha UK Mark Bruno; WeWork Director of European Transactions Mary Finnigan and 5plus Architects Director Tony Skipper, moderating the discussion.

The disclosure is the first sign of movement in a project believed to have been running since late autumn 2017 for WeWork employees only.

The coworking giant has been using Amazon's Alexa for Business platform exploring what would happen if Alexa was not tied to physical spaces, but to individuals. Testing has been taking place at their Chelsea, New York, base, TechCrunch reported in November.

According to TechCrunch, the aim is to make any desk, anywhere in the world, suit the unique user, using the Alexa iPhone app, rather than needing to use Echo in the same room.

The development comes out of wider work on data analytics. "We’ve used our experience from our 250 locations to make the design of each space community-driven," Finnigan said.

"So we’ll use data from previous build-outs right down to where we put an armchair or a beer tap to encourage communication, and that is all done with the aim of facilitating community and members doing business with each other."

Follow further coverage of the Bisnow Manchester State of the Market event later this week.