NeoCon Top 6: Technology and Specialty Products on the Cutting Edge

In this third part to our NeoCon report, we’re looking at those odds and ends that aren’t quite contract furniture and finishes, but are nevertheless intriguing products that can help beautify a commercial project — or make it smarter.

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

In this third part to our NeoCon report, we’re looking at those odds and ends that aren’t quite contract furniture and finishes but are nevertheless intriguing products that can help beautify a commercial project — or make it smarter. Stay tuned for our picks of the best seating, furniture and textiles from the fair. And if you missed them, check out our favorite Flooring and Finishesas well as the best Privacy and Acoustics products.


When this glass company’s CEO Ed Geyman made a fateful rest stop in Italy, he stumbled upon the beautifully sleek and contemporary tempered-glass bath furnishings of Soema, leading to a collaboration for a line of stunning commercial bath products including glass, glass-and-porcelain and compact high-pressure phenolic laminate cubicles; high-tech glass surfaces and washbasins; electronic faucets, soap dispensers and dryers; glass doors; and glass or CHPPL lockers. We particularly love how mirrors can be etched with symbols to direct users on hand-washing and -drying — no more guessing. Aesthetic options range from 26 standard glass colors to 12 digitally printed wood grains on glass and stone-mimicking porcelain.

Dyson: Dyson Airblade V

This brand is already a household name in both the residential and commercial markets for its innovative vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans, air purifiers, hair dryers and powerful commercial hand dryers. The latter, however, hasn’t exactly been known for its quiet operation — until now. The popular Airblade V model has been reengineered to operate 30 percent quieter than its predecessor, and we heard the significant difference at NeoCon with a side-by-side model demonstration. Dyson was able to achieve this by reducing the air aperture sizes, redesigning the motor package and precisely tuning down the digital motor. Yet none of these changes compromise the fast hygienic hand-drying synonymous with the Airblade V. Other bragging rights: It implements a HEPA filter for advanced protection against bacteria and viruses, has a running cost up to 80 percent less than some other popular hand dryers, produces up to 79 percent less CO2 than some hand dryers and boasts a sleek compact-profile design.

Herman Miller: Live OS

The furniture giant is on board with the Internet of Things, as demonstrated by its new Live OS program for connected furnishings in the workplace. Using sensors on select Herman Miller furnishings, it helps remember user preferences for, say, sit-to-stand desks, including reminders to stand up and change postures if the user wants to practice healthier behavior in the office. It also collects anonymous data on desks to help employers measure workplace strategy for optimizing real estate usage. This subscription-based service includes an app and dashboard.

Humanscale: Infinity

A sleek and beautiful modern task light, Infinity is super-slim, from the adjustable arm to its disc-shaped multi-chip LED head, which is rated for 50,000 hours and stays cool to the touch. The user-friendly control is a touch sensor integrated right into the top of the head for powering on or off or dimming, while a PIR sensor detects user presence to conserve energy. And the arm utilizes a constant torque “Forever Hinge” that allows seamless, smooth and secure positioning to meet the needs of different users and tasks.

Humanscale: QuickStand Eco

QuickStand Eco comes to the rescue when retrofitting an older desk with a sit-to-stand product isn’t possible or is just too costly. This height-adjustable product — which can accommodate single or dual monitors up to a total of 35 pounds — works straight out of the box and can sit on just about any type of desktop or tabletop. The unit smoothly repositions for ultimate user-friendliness and features a self-locking mechanism to ensure against equipment accidents. The streamlined unit is available in white or black.

MechoSystems: WhisperShade DC Electronic Drive Unit

This shade system’s DC motor features special sound-dampening brackets that make it inherently quiet during operation yet is powerful enough to handle shades of up to 24 feet long or 40 pounds heavy. It boasts 16 preset stopping positions (making it ideal for solar heat and glare control needs), customizable shade positions, built-in networking (MechoNet) for use with other MechoSystems motors and optional wireless control.