Herman Miller Live OS

For well over a decade now, our partnership with Herman Miller has taken us through important explorations in workplace innovation: from the Leaf Lamp, one of the first LED task lamps, to the globally ubiquitous Sayl Chair and Public Office Landscape, an office system with collaboration as its core experience.

With Herman Miller we have been exploring for many years the role of technology in the office. The aim is to answer the question of what happens when our workplace becomes intelligent – how can this benefit both the employee and the company?

Live OS is the answer to these questions. Live OS is an intelligent office system that promotes physical activity for employees, and provides added functionality to the overall workplace. Herman Miller drew upon our expertise in consumer technologies and user-centered design to support in developing the concept, create a vision for how Live OS can transform workplace experiences, and design the user experience and interactive desk controller.


In developing the vision for Live OS, our team explored what possibilities an intelligent office could bring to both the company and its employees. By adding sensors to both the desk and the chair, the system is able to draw from Herman Miller’s expertise in ergonomics and use subtle nudges to suggest postural changes for the employee, or a transition from sit-to-stand or back again.

As the employee is recognized through the Live OS app, his or her personal preferences and presets stay with them everywhere they go. This is perfect for ‘hot seat’ or ‘hoteling’ offices, where employees can experience a more personalized experience in a shared workspace. When an employee approaches a shared desk, they simply need to put their smartphone near the desk module, and their presets are automatically applied via Bluetooth.

Since Live OS knows how desks are being utilized, it anonymizes and aggregates this data for employers to understand the functionality of their workplace. The Live OS dashboard is specifically designed to respect employee privacy and assist employers in gaining data-based insights to improve workplace strategy, furniture and ergonomic choices, and optimize real estate usage. Companies can simultaneously provide an improved workplace experience for employees and maximize the functionality and use of the office environment.


The Live OS system is differentiated through its simple on-device interface and subtle experience design to drive positive behavioral changes. It does this through a gentle vibration in the desk, with the physical interface module attached to the desk discreetly lighting up. In this way, employees become aware of their sedentary behaviors and are assisted in becoming more active.

The employee can choose to ignore the notifications – but if they do decide to change their posture to a standing one, a light touch on the easily reachable module automatically raises or lowers the desk to that specific employee’s presets. Slight grooves on the interface’s upper and lower front surface can also be pushed to move the desk manually. LEDs inside of the opaque interface can light up in a variety of colors to signal additional functionality as well, with future plans to show whether a desk is available or reserved for use in a hot-desking scenario.

The Live OS app goes one step further and enables personalized insights and suggestions that are driven by activity and performance data. These recommendations can surface as summary dashboard analytics through to recommendations on how to improve posture and can create a more curated ergonomic plan to suit each person’s preferences throughout the day and week.

Further, the aggregate data is used to analyze and capture broader workplace optimization and ergonomic metrics and can take never-before captured statistics and leverage them to inform a better, healthier, and more optimized workplace environment.

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