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ASB's high tech office breaks workplace traditions

Divina Paredes | Dec. 18, 2013
ASB's new head office environment means employees can work anywhere, with the device of their choice, and printers are often on respite. CIO New Zealand takes a tour of North Wharf in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

Bergin says the team is already exploring Windows 8 for the virtual desktop infrastructure, and from an infrastructure point of view, there is nothing that will stop having other devices as BYO. Jones notes some staff have Android phones and tablets that they are bringing to work.

The wireless infrastructure relieved the need for a cable environment, and freed staff from permanent and individual workstations. "Under the desk is a thin client. All you can see is a screen and a keyboard. So literally you can sit down in any of these workspaces and pick up exactly where you left off," he says.

Each staff member, however, has a locker which he or she can personalise. The staff member can choose where to work, from public spaces known as "boathouses" to free working spaces known as "neighbourhoods".

Workspaces that house different business units are grouped into "neighbourhoods". In each neighbourhood there are a variety of high, low and medium focus work settings and people are able to select which of these best suits the activity being worked on and change accordingly throughout the day.The work spaces are designed to ensure a passer-by will not be able to hear any of the discussions. Staff have free access to audiovisual screens.

The different collaboration areas provide greater flexibility to work with other people while wireless technology and mobile devices drastically decrease reliance on paper

North Wharf is a stunning building towards Auckland's waterfront, with a structure mirroring Auckland's volcanic cones and lighthouses. "It is designed to be very visually diverse, very much like a village concept," says Bergin.

There are two buildings joined by a glazed multi-level walkway over Te Wero Lane. It has a total of 18,000 square meters over six floors, with each floor larger than a standard rugby pitch. Aluminium louvres arranged in a pattern of fin and leaves in front of the north of the building deflect heat and light without obstructing the view of Auckland Harbour.

At the entrance to the building is the state of the art Innovation Lab. Here, customers can perform all regular banking functions they have come to expect at any ASB branch. The laboratory has a foreign exchange desk and a 24-hour ATM. Noticeably missing are paper brochures or traditional teller counters. Instead, customers can use a raft of interactive technology designed to help them explore new ways of banking, says Bergin.

Related: Inside ASB'sInnovation Lab: A bank branch without tellers and print brochures.

There are gesture-based, interactive 103-inch plasma screens operated by Microsoft Kinect motion sensors. Customers can navigate through digital brochures, real-time rates and videos using gestures and without touching the screen.


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