The Best New Office Furniture

Today’s offices are designed to respond easily to change. With that in mind, furniture companies are rolling out versatile offerings that suit different needs. Here are five particularly adaptable options.

ICF Sense Mobile Glass Board
An elegant alternative to standard whiteboards, this glass board has a wood veneer base. You can connect boards to create a larger writing space. Another plus: The glass is easier to clean than the usual plastic surface. Available in natural or black stains.
Cost: $2,423

 

Loftwall Wave Divider Screen
Loftwall’s recycled aluminum screen features curved surfaces that diffuse sound and light. It measures 78 inches tall, comes in three lengths, and can be connected to other dividers. Available in white, black, orange, yellow, and red.
Cost: Starting at $1,090 for a 4-foot-long screen

Knoll Toboggan Chair
Designed to encourage spontaneous gatherings, the Toboggan Chair has a backrest that doubles as a small desk. The chair, created for Knoll by Antenna Design, has a molded plywood seat and back, and a steel frame. It comes in a variety of colors.
Cost: Starting at $375

Darran Rift Table
This sit/stand desk can also serve as a conference table. The desk, which has a wood veneer top and steel base, can be raised or lowered with the flip of a switch and includes a system for hiding cables. Available in several shapes and sizes.
Cost: Starting at $3,690

Luxo 360 LED Task Light
The compact Luxo 360 takes up minimal space but can light a large area when fully extended. The lamp, which is 19.3 inches tall, swivels 360 degrees at the base and head. It can be dimmed and set to shut off after four or nine hours. Available in black, gray, and white.
Cost: $290

 

Tech Trends: Next on the Agenda

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Check out cool apps that keep you on schedule all day.

 

I’ve always had a hard time staying on schedule during business trips, which usually include multiple meetings in various locations. If I had my way, I’d bring along an assistant. On a recent trip to Denver, I tried the next best thing: two new mobile apps, Google Now and Cue.

Google Now, which comes loaded on smartphones and tablets running the new Android 4.1 operating system, works with Google Calendar, Maps, and searches, along with your device’s GPS. I tested it on Google’s Galaxy Nexus phone. During the day, I could touch the Google search bar on my home screen to see “cards” with timely information.

Before I left my hotel, Google Now served up a card with the weather forecast for Denver. As I drove downtown, a card appeared with information on a nearby bus route. Later that day, I received a reminder for a 3 p.m. meeting one hour in advance, along with a map, directions, and an estimated driving time of 55 minutes based on current traffic. I hustled out the door and arrived just in time. Thanks, Google Now.

After two days, the software got smarter. Each morning, for instance, it provided an estimated driving time from my hotel to downtown Denver. As I headed back to my hotel around dinnertime, it pulled up cards with details on nearby restaurants, including links to a map, directions, and reviews. Not quite an assistant, but close.

On the second half of my trip, I tried Cue, a free app for iPhones. Unlike Google Now, Cue is not location based. Instead, it organizes your daily schedule by scanning information in linked apps on your phone. The free version of Cue lets you choose from more than a dozen apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar, and OpenTable (for dinner reservations). You can also pony up $4.99 a month for a premium account that you can link with business-friendly apps, including Salesforce and Evernote.

When I added an appointment with a Denver start-up to my Google Calendar, it appeared on my Cue schedule in about 10 minutes, along with the location and name of the marketing director who e-mailed the meeting invitation. When I received a FedEx shipping confirmation in Gmail, the tracking number and a link to FedEx.com popped up on my schedule. Cue handles flight confirmations the same way. The level of detail was impressive, but I missed the maps and real-time traffic updates. In fact, I was late to some appointments because of traffic.

The bottom line: If you spend a lot of time on the road, Google Now is great. If you’re looking for a scheduling app that works with a variety of programs, Cue is the way to go. For me, there was a clear winner: Google Now, you’re hired.

 

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