Becoming a computer technician is a great point of entry into the IT field. In addition, computer hardware certifications can help demonstrate your knowledge and competency in maintaining computers, mobile devices, printers and more. Below, you’ll find our pick of six computer hardware certifications to help you get your IT career off the ground.
Although we cover our favorite hardware certifications here, the idea that hardware can operate independently of software (or vice versa) isn’t true. If you dig into the curriculum for any specific hardware-related certs in any depth, you’ll quickly realize that software is in control of hardware.
Software comes into play for installation, configuration, maintenance, troubleshooting and just about any other activity you can undertake with hardware. The hardware label simply indicates that devices are involved, not that hardware is all that’s involved.
|BICSI Technician (BICSI)||384||657||30||92||1,163|
Differing factors, such as specific job role, locality and experience level, may impact salary potential. In general, hardware professionals can expect to earn somewhere in the mid-$60,000s. SimplyHired reports average earnings at $71,946 for IT technicians, with highs reported at almost $116,000. The average national salary for computer hardware technicians ranges from about $31,000 to more than $53,000. However, some certifications command higher salaries. Certification Magazine’s “Annual Salary Survey” (Salary Survey 2018) average salaries for CompTIA Server+ at $98,060 and the A+ credential at $97,730.
The CompTIA A+ certification is the granddaddy and best known of all hardware credentials. For anyone serious about working with PCs, laptops, mobile devices, printers or operating systems, the A+ should at least be on their radar, if not in their game plan.
Since the first A+ credential was awarded in March 1993, the program continues to draw active interest and participation. With more than 1 million IT professionals now possessing the A+ credential, it is something of a checkbox item for PC technicians and support professionals. It also appears in a great many job postings or advertisements.
A+ is also ISO 17024 compliant and accredited by ANSI. Thus this credential must be renewed every three years in keeping with concomitant requirements for continuing education or regular examinations to maintain certification currency. Some 20 continuing education units (CEUs) are required for renewal.
Earning an A+ from CompTIA involves passing two exams: 220-901 and 220-902. exam 220-901 focuses on hardware, networking, mobile devices, connectivity and troubleshooting. exam 220-902 draws on knowledge of installing and configuring common operating systems (Windows, Linux, OS X, Android and iOS). It also covers issues related to cloud computing, security and operational procedures. Candidates will find a variety of question formats, including standard multiple-choice, drag-and-drop and performance-based questions on these exams.
Candidates who earn the A+ often find themselves in job roles that include technical support specialist, field service technician, IT support technician, IT support administrator or IT support specialist. The A+ is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense (in DoD Directive 8140/8570.01-M). Also, technology companies, such as Ricoh, Nissan, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dell, HP and Intel, require staff to earn the A+ certification to fill certain positions.
The A+ certification encompasses broad coverage of PC hardware and software, networking and security in its overall technical scope.
|Certification name||CompTIA A+|
|Prerequisites & required courses||9-12 months of experience recommended|
|Number of exams||Two exams (maximum of 90 questions, 90 minutes): 220-901 and 220-902 (CompTIA Academy Partners use the same numbers)|
|Cost per exam||$211 per exam. Exams administered by Pearson VUE. exam vouchers available at CompTIA|
CompTIA offers several self-study materials, including exam objectives, trial questions and study guides ($178 for the eBook $198 for the print edition), as well as classroom and e-learning training opportunities. Credential seekers may also want to check out the CertMaster online learning tool. Links to CompTIA training materials may be found on the certification webpage.
Given the popularity of Apple products and platforms, and widespread use of Macintosh computers in homes and businesses of all sizes, there’s demand galore for Mac-savvy technicians.
The AppleCare Mac Technician (ACMT) 2018 credential is Apple’s latest hardware-related ACMT certification. (The credential was formerly called the Apple Certified Macintosh Technician or Apple Certified Mac Technician.) Per Apple, the ACMT 2018 “qualifies a technician to repair all the Mac products that were covered by prior ACMT certifications, plus all other Mac products that were produced before April 2018.” Technicians with the ACMT certification who work at an Apple-authorized service facility are allowed to perform service and repairs.
The ACMT’s two required exams are the Apple Service Fundamentals and the ACMT 2018 Mac Service Certification. Service Fundamentals focuses on customer experience skills, ESD and safety, troubleshooting and deductive reasoning, and product knowledge. The Mac Service exam covers troubleshooting and repair of Mac hardware (mainly Apple iMac and MacBook Pro systems). Note that the Apple Service Fundamentals exam is also required for the Apple Certified iOS Technician (ACiT) 2018 certification.
The ACMT 2018 is a permanent credential and does not require annual recertification. However, as new products are added to the Apple portfolio, AppleCare will make associated courses available through Apple Technical Learning Administration System (ATLAS). You must complete these courses to service new products.
|Certification name||AppleCare Mac Technician (ACMT) 2017|
|Prerequisites & required courses||AppleCare Technician Training recommended|
|Number of exams||Two exams (must be taken in this order):
Apple Service Fundamentals exam (SCV-17A) OR Apple Service
Fundamentals exam (SVC-18A)
ACMT 2018 Mac Service Certification exam (MAC-18A) Each exam: 70 questions, 2 hours, 80 percent passing score
Tests administered by Pearson VUE; Apple Tech ID number required
|Cost per exam||TBD|
|Self-study materials||Self-paced training: Apple Technical Learning Administration System (ATLAS)
Instructor-led training courses: LearnQuest
BICSI is a professional association that supports the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, mainly in the areas of voice, data, audio and video, electronic safety and security, and project management. BICSI offers training, certification and education to its 23,000-plus members, many of who are designers, installers and technicians.
BICSI offers several certifications aimed at ICT professionals, who mainly deal with cabling and related technologies. Two credentials, the BICSI Technician and the BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) are pertinent (and popular) in this story.
The BICSI Technician recognizes individuals who lead an installation group or team, perform advanced testing and troubleshooting of cable installations, evaluate cabling requirements, recommend solutions based on standards and best practices, and roll out new and retrofit projects. Technicians must be well versed in both copper and fiber cabling.
Candidates need a good deal of knowledge about the hardware, networking devices and communications equipment to which they connect cables.
To earn the credential, candidates must pass a single two-part exam consisting of a hands-on practical evaluation and a written exam. In addition, candidates must possess at least three years of verifiable ICT industry installation experience within the past five years. Credentials are valid for three years. Certification holders must earn 18 hours of continuing education credits (CECs) in each three-year credentialing cycle and pay the current renewal fees to maintain this credential.
Interested candidates should also check out other BICSI certifications, such as the Installer 1 (INST1), Installer 2 Copper (INSTC) and Installer 2 Optical Fiber (INSTF).
An advanced credential, the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) is so well respected that the Department of Defense Unified Facilities requires RCDD for all telecom-related design projects. The RCDD is geared toward experienced ICT practitioners with at least five years of ICT design experience. Alternatively, candidates who do not have the requisite experience but who possess at least two years of design experience plus three years of knowledge “equivalents” (combination of approved education, certifications or education), may also sit for the exam. All experience must have been within the preceding 10 years.
RCDD candidates should be able to create and prepare system design specifications and plans, as well as recommended best practices for security design requirements, for business automation systems. RCDDs are also well versed in data center, cabling systems and design for wireless, network, and electronic security systems.
To earn the credential, candidates must meet the experience requirements, submit the application plus credentialing fees, along with a current resume. In addition, candidates must submit four letters of reference two of which much be from current or former clients. One reference may be personal while the remaining references must come from the candidate’s employer.
Other advanced BICSI certifications include the Outside Plant (OSP) Designer, Data Center Design Consultant (DCDC) and Registered Telecommunication Project Manager (RTPM).
|Certification name||BICSI Technician|
|Prerequisites & required courses||Three or more years of verifiable ICT industry installation experience (must be within past five years to qualify)
Adhere to the BICSI Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct
Physical requirements: Distinguish between colors, stand for extended periods, lift and carry up to 50 pounds, climb ladders, and possess manual dexterity necessary to perform fine motor tasks
Technician exam prereqs: Both the Installer 2, Copper and Installer 2, Optical Fiber credentials OR the Installer 2 credential
Note: There are no additional credentials required for candidates attempting the Technician Skip-Level exam.
50 hours review of BICSI Information Technology Systems Installation Methods Manual (ITSIMM)
|Number of exams||One two-part exam, including written exam (140 multiple-choice questions*) and hands-on, performance-based exam (hands-on performance exam delivered last day of TE350 course; written exam administered the day after the completion of the TE350 course)
*If the candidate doesn’t have both the Copper and Optical Fiber Installer 2 credentials or an Installer 2 credential, the written Skip Level exam will have 170 questions.
|Cost per exam||$295 (non-refundable application fee must be received by BICSI 15 days prior to exam; retake fee of $130 applies)|
|Self-study materials||Information Technology System Installation Methods Manual, 7th edition electronic download, $220 member/$240 non-member; print and download combo, $260 member/$290 non-member; printed manual, $220 member/$240 non-member, Web-based training through BICSI CONNECT|
|Certification name||BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD)|
|Prerequisites & required courses||
Five or more years of verifiable ICT industry design experience (must be within past 10 years to qualify)
Two or more years of verifiable ICT design experience (must be within the past ten years) plus three additional years of ICT equivalents from approved education, experience, or ICT licenses or certification (CCNA, for example)
Adhere to the BICSI Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct
DD101: Foundations of Telecommunications Distribution Design ($1,030) (BICSI CONNECT online course)
DD102: Designing Telecommunications Distribution Systems ($2,815)
125-150 hours of TDMM study
TDMM flash cards ($275)
RCDD Test Preparation Course ($925) (BICSI CONNECT online course)
|Number of exams||One exam (100 questions, 2.5 hours)|
|Cost per exam||$495 BICSI member/$725 non-member application fee, (non-refundable application fee must be received by BICSI 15 days prior to exam; retake fee of $225 BISCI member/$340 non-member)|
Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual, 13th edition (TDMM) electronic download ($310 member/$380 non-member; print and download combo, $350 member/$435 non-member; printed manual, $310 member/$380 non-member)
Web-based training through BICSI CONNECT
Cisco certifications are valued throughout the tech industry. The Cisco Certified Technician, or CCT, certification is an entry-level credential that demonstrates a person’s ability to support and maintain Cisco networking devices at a customer site.
The Routing & Switching credential best fits our list of best computer hardware certifications, and it serves as an essential foundation for supporting Cisco devices and systems in general.
The CCT requires passing a single exam. syllabus include identification of Cisco equipment and related hardware, such as switches and routers, general networking and service knowledge, working with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC), and describing Cisco IOS software operating modes. Candidates should also have a working knowledge of Cisco command-line interface (CLI) commands for connecting to and remotely servicing Cisco products.
|Certification name||Cisco Certified Technician (CCT) Routing & Switching|
|Prerequisites & required courses||
Recommended training: Supporting Cisco Routing and Switching Network Devices (RSTECH) ($299)
|Number of exams||One: 640-692 RSTECH (60-70 questions, 90 minutes)|
|Cost per exam||
Exam administered by Pearson VUE.
|Self-study materials||Cisco Study Material page provides links to the course, study groups, exam tutorials, and other related content, including exam syllabus, training videos and seminars.|
CompTIA also offers a server-related certification, which steps up from basic PC hardware, software, and networking syllabus to the more demanding, powerful, and expensive capabilities in the same vein usually associated with server systems.
The CompTIA Server+ credential goes beyond basic syllabus to include coverage of more advanced storage systems, IT environments, virtualization, and disaster recovery and business continuity topics. It also puts a strong emphasis on best practices and procedures for server problem diagnosis and troubleshooting. Although Server+ is vendor-neutral in coverage, organizations such as HP, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, Xerox, Lenovo and HP use Server+ credentialed technicians.
Those who work or want to work in server rooms or data centers, with and around servers on a regular basis, will find the Server+ credential worth studying for and earning. It can also be a steppingstone into vendor-specific server technician training programs at such companies as those mentioned above, or with their authorized resellers and support partners.
Note that the CompTIA Server+ exam is still listed on that organization’s website as “good for life,” meaning it does not impose a renewal or continuing education requirement on its holders. The SK0-004 launched on July 31, 2015. Typically, exams are available for at least two years. If CompTIA’s revision history for Server+ is any guide to future updates and revisions, then it’s likely that we’ll see a new exam making an appearance sometime before the end of 2019.
|Certification name||CompTIA Server+|
|Prerequisites & required courses||No prerequisites
Recommended experience includes CompTIA A+ certification plus a minimum of 18-24 months IT-related experience
|Number of exams||One: SK0-004 (100 questions, 90 minutes, 750 out of 900 passing score)|
|Cost per exam||$302. exam administered by Pearson VUE. exam vouchers available at CompTIA.|
CompTIA offers a number of self-study materials, including exam objectives, its CertMaster online study tool, trial questions, books and more. Formal training courses are also offered. Links to CompTIA training courses may be found on the certification web page. Additional resources may also be found at the CompTIA Marketplace.
There are many more hardware-oriented certifications available that you might want to consider. As you get into IT and start to develop a sense of your own interests and observe the hardware systems and solutions around, you’ll be able to dig deeper into this arena.
You can investigate all the major system vendors (including HP, Dell, IBM, and other PC and server makers) as well as networking and infrastructures companies (such as Juniper and Fortinet) to find hardware-related training and certification to occupy you throughout a long and successful career.
Although ExpertRating offers many credentials, we rejected them after viewing several complaints regarding the general quality of the courses. Obviously, such complaints are from disgruntled customers but were enough to make us proceed with caution.
This is also an area where constant change in tools and technology is the norm. That means a course of lifelong learning will be essential to help you stay current on what’s in your working world today and likely to show up on the job soon.
The HP Idea programme offers teachers in Africa the opportunity to create digital capabilities based on educational frameworks from leading global universities.
For veteran teacher Deone Schoeman, learning does not end at the final ring of the bell.
In her Afrikaans first additional language and life-skills classrooms at the Rutanang Primary Enrichment Centre in the North West province, she places an emphasis on revision exercises to be done at home with help from parents. But completing the homework can be challenging – especially since the onset of Covid-19, which led to widespread disruptions to the academic programme.
“Learners did not submit their homework, and cooperation from parents with regards to the engagement with and completion of homework was a major challenge. We need parents to assist us with facilitating homework so that the classwork can improve,” Schoeman says.
Like many teachers around the world, Schoeman has had to find innovative new ways of providing value to her pupils both in and out of the classroom.
Along with five of her colleagues, she recently enrolled in HP’s Innovation and Digital Education Academy (HP Idea) programme, which, in collaboration with Intel, offers educators in Africa the opportunity to create digital capabilities based on educational frameworks from leading global universities.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, founder of the Umlambo Foundation
The HP Idea programme forces principals and teachers to think innovatively of ways to tackle the various challenges that they are faced with
HP Idea isn’t a course to teach educators how to use computers; it’s an initiative that gives them the confidence to innovate in how they deliver their classes, now and in future.
The programme is part of HP’s commitment to improving learning outcomes for 100-million people globally by 2025 and has thus far been launched in 15 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
In SA, HP partnered with the Umlambo Foundation to roll out the HP Idea programme at local schools.
“At Umlambo, we believe in the power of education, its ability to change people’s lives, and its power to create a prosperous future,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, founder of the Umlambo Foundation.
"No child should be left behind, and that is why the HP Idea programme is such an inspiring and successful initiative. It forces principals and teachers to think innovatively of ways to tackle the various challenges that they are faced with.”
The six teachers at the Rutanang Primary Enrichment Centre who completed the programme have since adapted its modules to solve the challenges they previously faced.
Schoeman developed strategies – using the d6 School Communicator app, a standalone application designed to simplify school–parent communication – to facilitate group meetings, independent surveys and group surveys for parents to encourage communication and participation.
“This resulted in better compliance from parents and improvements in the completion of homework,” she says.
HP Idea fellow and mathematics teacher Reginald Khutsoane noted a significant increase in student and parent participation since the programme started.
“Learners are now more confident and eager to work than before. Since we adopted techniques learnt from the HP Idea programme, not only are learners more involved but parents as well,” Khutsoane says.
Reginald Khutsoane, HP Idea fellow and mathematics teacher
Since we adopted techniques learnt from the HP Idea programme, not only are learners more involved but parents as well
For technology teacher Ricardo Smit, using the digital innovations he got from the programme brought a renewed sense of excitement to his course material.
“One of my key takeaways was how to transform traditional teaching using technology to accommodate pupils with various barriers to learning. I now incorporate technology in my classroom using problem-based or project-based learning,” he says.
The programme has not only helped these teachers create value for their students but also allowed them to explore new skills in managing a diversified classroom environment.
With more than 28 years' experience as an educator, Agnes Mantsie Lesejane is proof that teacher education is a lifelong journey.
The programme exposed Lesejane to varied teaching methodologies, which she says helped her overcome barriers to inclusive education and plan lessons to better accommodate pupils who speak different languages.
Rutanang Primary School principal Isaac Pila, who enrolled his staff in the HP Idea programme, believes that empowering teachers and equipping them with new skill sets is the only way for them to adapt to the changing landscape of education.
Pila notes that academic results have improved at the school since the programme took effect, while parent participation and collaboration also increased significantly.
“We have used HP Idea's additional teaching strategies to assist in broadening our partnership with parents. Not only are our learners now better able to cope with the curriculum, but they have also shown more interest in learning. The initiatives we have adopted are also spreading to other schools through professional learning communities, where teachers convene interschool forums to share good practices,” Pila says.
HP’s goal is to have 30,000 teachers be part of the HP Idea programme by 2023. Since its inception in September 2020, nearly 500,000 students have stood to benefit from innovations brought into their classrooms by teachers enrolled in the programme.
“It is motivating to know that the value of the programme has a ripple impact on HP Fellows, their careers, their environments and, most importantly, the learners who are the greatest beneficiaries of the programme,” says Mayank Dhingra, HP’s senior education business leader for the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.
This article was paid for by HP.
Sixty years after Hewlett-Packard Co. employees first began moving into Building A on the company’s new Loveland campus in October 1962, the company that once grew to employ more than 9,000 workers in Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley does not have the presence that it once did.
Today, HP’s successor companies — Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) and HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) — occupy 580,000 square feet in Fort Collins, with HPE employing 800 people. (HP Inc. did not respond to requests for information.)
But HP’s legacy extends far beyond that footprint, from spinoff companies that continue to employ thousands of workers to the real estate that HP left behind.
Much of the Fort Collins campus is now owned by Broadcom, which essentially is a spinoff of a spinoff, i.e. HP’s spinoff of Agilent Technologies Inc., which then sold its Semiconductor Products Group to an investment group, creating Avago Technologies Inc., which acquired Broadcom in 2015.
No HP employees remain at the Loveland site, where it all started, but another spinoff of a spinoff — Keysight Technologies Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), which grew out of Agilent in 2014 — maintains an operation there.
In Greeley, nothing remains of an HP operation that was once the center of the city’s nascent tech sector.
HP’s three Northern Colorado campuses have witnessed far different fates since the company began divesting local operations, and selling local properties, with tech remaining the driving force in Fort Collins, and tech and manufacturing enjoying a resurgence at what was the Loveland campus. Greeley, however, has seen demolition of the long-vacant HP building, with the bulk of the acreage transformed for residential, retail and other uses.
Hewlett-Packard Co.’s history in Northern Colorado began in Loveland, but it almost didn’t start that way. Loveland had to compete with Boulder for an HP expansion, but problems with potential Boulder sites — and a strong pitch from Loveland civic and business leaders — prompted Colorado native David Packard and other HP executives to select Loveland instead, according to an HP Computer Museum post on the history of the Loveland plant.
The plant — with a temporary building opening in 1960 and the first permanent building in 1962 — initially produced power supplies but eventually began producing desktop computers and calculators. HP’s Loveland operation also produced a variety of computer peripherals, including printers and instruments, such as voltmeters.
The campus — on the northeast corner of South Taft Avenue and 14th Street Southwest — remained a bastion for HP’s global operations for decades, but change began in the late 1990s.
HP spun off Agilent in 1998, and by 2005 only 500 people remained at the Loveland site, according to the HP Computer Museum.
The Thompson School District acquired one building on the former HP/Agilent campus in 2004, an 88,000-square-foot building at 800 S. Taft Ave. that was formerly home to Colorado Memory Systems Inc., which built the structure in 1984. Colorado Memory Systems was founded by former HP employee Bill Bierwaltes. The company manufactured computer tape backup systems and was acquired by HP in 1992.
The school district purchased the building for $4.7 million and now uses it for its headquarters.
Just to the east is Keysight Technologies, at 900 S. Taft Ave. Keysight spun off from Agilent in 2014, developing test and measurement equipment.
Keysight’s Loveland building encompasses more than 139,000 square feet.
Kari Fauber, vice president of Keysight’s global partner sales and ecommerce, told BizWest in an email that the Loveland facility is “primarily a research and development site, but also hosts teams from legal, sales, marketing, finance, logistics and services.
“Keysight delivers advanced design and validation solutions that help accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world,” she said. “Keysight’s dedication to speed and precision extends to software-driven insights and analytics that bring tomorrow’s technology products to market faster across the development lifecycle, in design simulation, prototype validation, automated software testing, manufacturing analysis, and network performance optimization and visibility in enterprise, service provider and cloud environments.”
Keysight’s customers span the worldwide communications and industrial ecosystems, aerospace and defense, automotive, energy, semiconductor and general electronics markets, Fauber said.
Keysight also maintains operations in Colorado Springs and Boulder. It acquired Eggplant Software Inc., with U.S. headquarters in Boulder, in 2020 for $330 million.
Keysight employs 14,300 worldwide and employed about 300 people in Loveland at the time of the spinoff from Agilent. The company recorded revenue of $4.94 billion in 2021.
With Agilent’s retrenchment in Loveland, the company negotiated a deal in May 2011 to sell the bulk of the Loveland campus to the city for $5.8 million.
Plans to revitalize the campus were ambitious, with the Colorado Association of Manufacturing and Technology eventually selecting the site in June 2011 for an Aerospace and Clean Energy Manufacturing and Innovation Park, known as ACE. The project was touted as creating up to 10,000 jobs.
But the proposal faltered early on, with developer United Properties withdrawing from the project in August 2011, citing unattainable timelines.
Loveland then selected Bowling Green, Kentucky-based developer Cumberland and Western to develop the property, with the city selling the property to the company for $5 million.
Plans for the ACE park formally ended in March, when CAMT withdrew from the project.
Even before that, Cumberland and Western had rebranded the site as the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology.
Cumberland and Western invested in upgrades to the property, including some tenant finishes, and successfully lured Lightning eMotors Inc. (NYSE: ZEV) as a tenant. In April 2016, Cumberland and Western announced that EWI, a Columbus, Ohio-based organization that promotes manufacturing technologies, would open an applied research center at RMCIT.
But it all wasn’t enough, and Cumberland and Western opted through commercial brokerage CBRE to put the property on the market for $22.8 million in October 2020.
Loveland site sells, rebrands
Cumberland and Western eventually found its buyer, although not for the full asking price. In late October 2020, a group of local business owners, led by Jay Dokter and Dan Kamrath, purchased the 811,000-square-foot property for $15.5 million under the entity RMCIT LLC.
Dokter, CEO of Loveland-based Vergent Products Inc., and his partners began working to increase occupancy from an anemic 16%.
The new owners quickly got to work, rebranding the property as the Forge Campus in March 2021.
“We just observed all of the potential that didn’t happen and thought, ‘We could do that,’” Dokter said. “What we saw was 40 to 50 companies in here, collocated, creating an innovative tech environment. And the price was right, too. So we knew that it wasn’t as risky. We also saw building prices were going up for a lot of commercial.”
Cumberland and Western’s initial approach to the property was to secure a single, large occupant, Dokter said.
“I think there was a fair amount of activity. They seemed to be going more for the grand slam, one occupant, and that market is extremely limited,” he said, adding that Cumberland did refocus to allow smaller companies in.
The vision of Dokter and his partners was clear from the beginning: Create an environment in which occupants would build an innovation ecosystem, interacting and feeding off of one another.
The owners moved one of their own companies into the Forge — Bongo, which provides video-assessment solutions for experiential learning. The investors also plan to relocate another of their companies, Vergent Products, a contract design and manufacturing company, into the facility within a couple of years.
Dokter said one of the key advantages of the Loveland property was the maintenance that Cumberland and Western provided for almost a decade.
Often, vacant properties are allowed to decay, with damage by weather, vandalism and neglect. Not so with the Loveland site. Cumberland and Western continued to employ a team of one part-time worker and three full-time workers to maintain the property and conduct real estate tours.
“The cool thing with Cumberland and Western is that they spent a lot of money maintaining the property,” Dokter said. “I never forget, the first time I came here to get a tour … there was a nice man waxing the floor over here in an empty building — one of those machines that go back and forth in an empty building. That impressed me that it was quite preserved.”
“Big buildings like this, you don’t just shut the lights off and walk away,” said Rob Blauvelt, property manager for the Forge and one of the full-time workers who maintained the property during the Cumberland and Western years.
Cumberland and Western maintained a contract for upkeep of the 22 acres of roof. Landscaping was maintained, although at a lower level than when the property was occupied. Cracks in parking lots were filled. HVAC systems were maintained.
“It was three and a half people watching an empty building for 11 years,” Dokter said.
The property’s 16% occupancy at the time of purchase included 12 tenants, but that number has doubled to 24. Another five tenants are housed on-site in The Warehouse accelerator, a nonprofit organization that occupies 48,000 square feet of donated space.
Allison Seabeck, executive director of The Warehouse, said the organization has three alumni members and three off-site members, along with the five onsite members.
A capital campaign has raised $1.1 million out of a $4.8 million capital raise, allowing the organization to add a staff member and proceed through Phase I of its construction plan, creating space for nine companies.
Phase II of the capital campaign entails raising another $1.25 millon, including $750,000 to create space for 15 more companies, including installation of a series of “garage pods” in the accelerator space, providing turnkey manufacturing space for startups that need access to manufacturing floor space, equipment, ample power, compressed air and other features.
Future expansions will include further buildout, including community space, a training room, additional equipment, a share marketing studio and other amenities.
Including The Warehouse, occupancy at the Forge stands at 54%, Dokter said, with other leases pending.
One exact addition is Veloce Energy Inc., a Los Angeles-based company that produces modular devices to make electrification easier.
Veloce moved its Colorado location from north Fort Collins into the Forge campus in May. The company employs 12 people locally.
Additionally, E.I. Medical Imaging, a trade name for OrcaWest Holdings Inc., will move into the Forge. E.I. Medical Imaging develops real-time ultrasound devices for use by veterinarians and livestock producers.
Lightning eMotors, which Cumberland and Western first brought to the site, has expanded rapidly, growing from 142,386 square feet when Dokter and his team acquired the property to 250,000 square feet and 260 employees. The company provides commercial electric vehicles for fleets and went public in 2021.
The Forge thus far has a mix of large clean-tech and other manufacturing companies.
“They’re more complimentary than you would think,” Dokter said of the tenant mix. “That is the whole idea. We want to do more and more mixing and explaining who does what.”
With Vergent Products, Dokter already has two clients within the Forge, with another three potential clients. That cross-pollination can be seen among other tenants as well, he said.
One additional amenity will foster even more interaction: The Forge soon will reopen the old HP cafeteria, bringing a variety of local restaurant and catering companies in to provide a mix of dining options.
Blauvelt stressed the quality of the construction that is attractive for potential manufacturers.
“What you have here are structurally sound buildings with solid floors, with a massive amount of power, a massive amount of heating and cooling water, a good amount of compressed air, infrastructure for process vacuum … and you have a campus that’s just inviting as a workplace,” Blauvelt said.
“This thing has awesome bones,” he added, “and it’s really easy to fit a business into here. It’s not very challenging to fit a complex operation into this space.”
And that 22 acres of roofs? Future plans call for installation of solar panels, further emphasizing the site’s focus on clean technologies.
Stability characterizes Fort Collins site
No city in Northern Colorado has maintained as much of HP’s legacy operations as has Fort Collins, a site that opened in 1978 and employed as many as 3,200 HP workers at its peak.
In fact, HP — both Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. — remain prominent employers on the campus, located on the northeast corner of East Harmony and Ziegler roads — with HP Inc. leasing space within Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s two buildings on 71.5 acres.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s operations there employ 800 workers and are varied.
“The Fort Collins site houses a range of business units and functions — from servers to R&D to marketing. It’s a multi-use facility and not dedicated to any specific part of the company,” Adam Bauer, a spokesman for HPE, said in an email to BizWest.
The Fort Collins campus sits on the East Harmony Road corridor, the focal point of a cluster of high-tech companies that includes Broadcom, Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices and others. “Certainly, having other tech players with whom we partner and do business in close proximity helps create an ecosystem that is mutually beneficial,” he said. “That’s true in Fort Collins, Silicon Valley, Houston — everywhere we have a large presence.”
Bauer said that Fort Collins “is an important location for HPE, and again, is host to a range of business units and functions that span the company. It remains one of our biggest employment hubs in the U.S. and is an important part of our history. We do not anticipate any change to Fort Collins’ role in the company at this time. We actually are in the process of renovating the site to accommodate our hybrid, Edge-to-Office working model that arose out of the pandemic.”
HPE leases space to HP Inc., which did not respond to BizWest requests for comment. The city of Fort Collins estimates that HP Inc. employs 1,100 local workers, but that number could not be verified.
HPE in April 2019 sold a building on the Fort Collins campus — at 3420 E. Harmony Road — to an entity owned by McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc. of Loveland for $21 million. Bauer declined to speculate on any plans to sell additional properties.
“We continuously evaluate our real estate portfolio based on a variety of criteria including usage, opportunities for cost optimization, and other factors,” he said. “I can’t speculate on future real estate transactions.”
The McWhinney building is largely vacant, although fully leased. Madwire formerly occupied the third floor and a first-floor gym space, but the company has put the space on the sublease market, although it continues to pay rent.
Additionally, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) has vacated 80,000 square feet within the building. The company had opened a call center in 2016, with plans to house up to 600 employees.
But those plans changed in September 2019, when the company announced closure of the operation. Comcast’s lease expires in 2027, with the space put up for sublease.
A federal contractor based in Maryland, ASRC, or Arctic Slope Regional Corp., leased 31,000 square feet of the Comcast space in August 2020. The company operates as a contractor to federal intelligence, aerospace and health-care information-technology agencies.
Micro Focus, a spinoff of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, occupies about 16,000 square feet in the building.
Peter Kast, a broker with CBRE who is listing space in the building for sublease, said the campus and other corners of East Harmony and Ziegler roads benefit from infrastructure put in place to serve HP.
“If you look at it from an infrastructure point of view, it’s one of the few places in town that has redundant fiber and redundant fiber, so people like this that have needs for those kinds of things, there’s not that many choices, so in terms of an infrastructure location, it’s great,” he said.
He noted that HPE, HP, Broadcom, Intel, AMD and other high-tech companies in the area capitalize on a concentration of skilled workers.
“The thing that’s so attractive about Fort Collins for these guys is the intellectual capital, the people who do this kind of work, who are trained to handle, whether it’s software or hardware design,” he said. “We’ve got a ton of people who do chip design in this town.”
The biggest player in that space locally is Broadcom, which has continued to invest in its Fort Collins operation. Although the city of Fort Collins estimates that Broadcom employs 1,150 workers locally, the company told BizWest in 2019 that it employed 1,747, including 1,313 employees and 434 contingent workers.
Broadcom owns a large swathe of the former HP campus, with its predecessor, Avago, completing several major expansions.
The company, in its most-recent quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, cited ongoing supply-chain disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the importance of the Fort Collins operation.
“We have been, and expect to continue, experiencing some disruption to parts of our global semiconductor supply chain, including procuring necessary components and inputs, such as wafers and substrates, in a timely fashion, with suppliers increasing lead times or placing products on allocation and raising prices,” the company reported, noting shutdowns at key suppliers and service providers around the world.
“Any similar disruption at our Fort Collins, Colorado manufacturing facility would severely impact our ability to manufacture our film bulk acoustic resonator (“FBAR”) products and adversely affect our wireless business,” the company said.
Despite those challenges, Broadcom, HP and related companies remain key components of the Fort Collins economy.
SeonAh Kendall, senior economic manager for the city of Fort Collins, said Hewlett Packard, Broadcom and other companies in the East Harmony Road corridor are “going strong.”
“We are seeing that they’re kind of staying in the area and growing with spinoffs in there as well,” she said. “I do think that it is a critical piece for us in terms of the employment as well as the contributions that the companies as well as employees have in our community.
“There are opportunities for additional growth in those locations,” she added, “and opportunities for a lot of collaboration. I think one of the greatest strengths is that we’re able to retain the talent here. Sometimes, we have seen folks leave AMD and go to Intel, or leave Intel and go to HP and vice versa.”
She noted that companies in the area work closely with Colorado State University, Front Range Community College and the Poudre School District on issues such as talent and retention.
Greeley facility sees different fate
Greeley’s Hewlett-Packard facility was the last to be built, the first to close and the only one to be torn down — at least most of it.
The facility, opened in 1984, focused on scanners, tape drives and other devices, but HP closed the operation in 2003, shifting what was then 800 workers to other locations. About 640 workers were transferred to Fort Collins, with another 165 shifting to Flextronics International Ltd. Flextronics purchased DII Group Inc., which was buying HP’s tape-storage manufacturing business.
HP put the property on the market and seemed to attract widespread interest at first, including for a potential expansion of Aims Community College. But that and other deals fell through, prompting HP to sell the building to a group of local investors. HP sold the 355,000-square-foot property on 157 acres in August 2004 to Boomerang Properties LLC, headed by local investors Bruce Deifik and Jeff Bedingfield, a Greeley attorney. The purchase price was $8 million, far lower than HP’s $14 million asking price.
“Up to this point, HP has not been willing to divide the property or divide the facility,” Bedingfield told the Northern Colorado Business Report, a predecessor to BizWest, in August 2004. “Their desire is to sell everything and let the buyer determine how best to use it.”
Boomerang intended to subdivide the HP building to support perhaps four smaller tenants.
“There’s been a lot of talk that you can’t get big blocks leased, that the best thing is to bulldoze the facility,” Bedingfield said in 2004. “It’s too fine of a facility to begin talking about any kind of changes to that place, other than demising it into large blocks.”
But the new owners also envisioned that surrounding acreage would be transformed into residential neighborhoods, retail centers and office uses.
The project soon was taken over by City Center West LP, a Denver development company affiliated with Westside Investment Partners Inc., which acquired the building and adjacent acreage for $8.36 million in 2007. Some holdings were owned and developed under the umbrella of BV Retail Land Holdings LLP.
City Center West began selling acreage for retail, residential and other uses:
City Center West continues to own residential land on the former HP campus but sold the remaining vacant building and some acreage to LaSalle Investors LLC, a unit of Waltel Cos. Inc. LaSalle demolished the remaining HP building, preparing the site for future development.
But the company faces opposition to plans to rezone the property from Industrial – Low Intensity to Residential – High Density. About 10 neighboring residents voiced opposition to the rezoning request at a June 7 Greeley City Council meeting.
Residents voiced fears that LaSalle planned to build a large apartment complex on the property, which they said could exacerbate existing traffic problems.
Several City Council members also voiced opposition to the R-H zoning, preferring a less-intensive Residential – Medium Density zoning.
“It’s just too intense right now,” Councilman Dale Hall said. “I’m uncomfortable making this R-H. I’m OK with Residential Medium Intensity.”
In the end, LaSalle’s attorney asked that the council continue the discussion to the July 19 City Council meeting.
Greeley’s westward expansion
Why Greeley’s HP facility faced such a different outcome than campuses in Fort Collins and Loveland can be attributed to a variety of factors.
First, the technology sector in Greeley has never developed to the scale of Fort Collins’ or Loveland, which enjoy closer proximity to Colorado State University. Even before HP’s closure, Greeley had seen the departure of home-grown printed-circuit-board manufacturer EFTC Corp., founded in Greeley as Electronic Fab Technology Corp., which left for the north Denver suburbs.
But the greatest factor seems to be the pattern of Greeley’s residential and commercial growth, which has pushed inexorably westward for several decades.
Ben Snow, director of economic health and housing for the city of Greeley, said the area around “the core of the apple,” meaning the HP building, has transformed.
HP’s Greeley facility was once on the city’s outskirts, with little nearby retail and far less residential development.
“When you look at what’s happened over the last 10 years out there, it has sort of defaulted to what I would describe as typical suburban growth,” Snow said, pointing to the King Soopers and other retail development across 10th Street, as well as retail and residential projects on former HP land surrounding the building.
He noted that for years, he and his predecessors in the economic-development community sought to preserve the industrial zoning for the building as a way to balance the city’s housing stock with a solid employment center.
“It just never took,” he said. “We never could get a secondary use in there … At some point, you have to listen to the market signals.”
Although many potential users toured the facility, one obstacle, he said, was that the building had fallen into disrepair.
“Once people went in, because that building essentially had been neglected and abandoned for so long … it was kind of a magnet for that kind of vandalism. There was evidence that people were inside the building at different times.”
“Greeley has tried for 20 years to get some industrial users to reinhabit, to reanimate that building, to no avail,” he said.
Additional reading: “HP in Colorado,” Measure (HP’s inhouse publication), November-December, 1982.
Hydrocarbon Processing (HP) sat down with Dr. Hiroaki Kanokogi (HK), General Manager, Yokogawa to discuss how artificial intelligence (AI) can and is being used in the hydrocarbon processing industry. Dr. Kanokogi’s organization recently announced that it used AI to autonomously control a chemical plant for 35 consecutive days. The AI used in this control experiment, the Factorial Kernal Dynamic Policy Programming (FKDPP) protocol, was jointly developed by Yokogawa and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology.
HP: What makes this AI (FKDPP) different from other forms of AI that can be applied in plant operations?
HK: In the industrial AI sector, the vast majority of AI is what we call “problem analysis AI.” This kind of AI analyzes the data that is provided to detect anomalies for predictive maintenance, predict quality or determine the cause of issues. It is generally used to support human decision-making.
In this case with a chemical plant, we are talking about autonomous control AI, which searches for the optimal control model by itself and then implements that. There are several forms of AI for control (TABLE 1); however, based on the analysis of a global survey in February 2022, our organization confirmed that there were no other forms of AI that directly change the manipulative variable in a chemical plant. We are very confident about this. This uniqueness can deliver a great benefit to customers, as this next-generation control technology can control operations that have been beyond the capabilities of existing control methods (PID control/APC) and have up to now necessitated manual operation based on the judgements of plant personnel.
TABLE 1. Primary characteristics of AI used in plant control
For areas that cannot be automated with existing control methods (PID control/APC), the AI deduces the optimum method for control on its own and has the robustness to autonomously control, to a certain extent, situations that have not yet been encountered.
Based on the control model it learns and deduces, the AI inputs the level of control (manipulative variable) required for each situation.
The benefits of FKDPP are as follows:
(1) Can be applied in situations where control cannot be automated with existing control techniques (PID control and APC), and can handle conflicting targets, such as achieving both high quality and energy savings.
Support for areas with automation built-in
AI can take over the task, currently performed by operators, of inputting target values (set value) for areas where automation has been implemented using existing control methods (PID control/APC).
AI uses past control data to perform calculations and enters target values (set value).
・Automation of manual tasks and achievement of stable operations is possible.
Operational support for people
AI proposes target values (set value) that operators will refer to when performing operations.
AI uses past control data to suggest target values (set value) to humans.
・Differences due to operator proficiency level will disappear.
HP: What were the major benefits of incorporating AI within the chemical plant setting?
HK: It could autonomize an area that could not be automated with existing control methods, while ensuring safety and improving productivity.
Until now, there have been many parts of the plant that have not been fully automated. The next generation control technology using reinforcement learning-based AI (FKDPP) will autonomize areas that could not be automated with existing control methods while ensuring safety and improving productivity. FKDPP is a disruptive innovation that allows for a different dimension of control, particularly in such areas. This AI technology can be applied in the energy, materials, pharmaceuticals, and many other industries where the daily monetary value of operations in large-scale plants is in the range of tens of millions of dollars. Autonomous control AI (FKDPP) can greatly contribute to the autonomization of production around the world, ROI maximization, and environmental sustainability, and will have a major economic impact.
HP. How can FKDPP generate control model in only around 30 learning trials?
HK: Autonomous control is possible with our unique and original algorithm that requires only around 30 learning trials. Yokogawa has been developing the control AI since 2017. Yokogawa’s core competence and strength lies in measurement, control, aggregating information, and producing value. This unique AI algorithm incorporates our operational technology (OT) know-how on the gathering of sensor data from throughout plants to optimize plant operation and control. By implementing the knowledge Yokogawa has for controlling plants, we can eliminate the number of calculations drastically and generate the control model with that number.
There is no AI that is fit for all purposes. Wolpert and other people proved mathematically that "machine learning can produce excellent results when it is domain-specific" in 1995. This is a famous theory to predict the development of AI and machine learning by domain. AI specific to a particular field or domain may exceed human capabilities. So, both deep understanding on AI itself and the domain knowledge are required.
HP. Can AI do all operations? Or are plant personnel still needed for operations?
HK: In the field trial, the AI directly controlled the operations through the DCS without the need for human intervention. This AI has the potential to be used for controlling a wide range of operations across a variety of industries. However, although the AI can carry out optimal operations of the controlling point, plant personnel are still needed to monitor the status in the control room, just like we do for PID control and APC.
HP. Where can we utilize FKDPP in the energy industry?
HK: There are still many operations in the energy industry that are difficult to control automatically, and so are basically still managed manually by skilled operators. This is because chemical reactions tend to be nonlinear and are affected by disturbances, so that makes it difficult to use a mathematical approach using PID. We think that there is a possibility to enable optimal and autonomous control in such difficult areas.
One example is the control of the large boilers that produce the steam used by rotating turbines for thermal power generation. A related application is gas combustion control in gas turbines. Regarding renewable energy, controlling how geothermal energy is efficiently used for power generation is quite a challenge. FKDPP allows us to leapfrog the automation stage and go directly from manual to autonomous control in these kinds of areas.
HP: What was a major takeaway from this exercise?
HK: The biggest takeaway was that we can ensure safe autonomous control with AI that improves productivity and reduces cost and time loss.
This test confirmed that reinforcement learning AI can be safely applied in an real plant and demonstrated that this technology can control operations that have been beyond the capabilities of existing control methods (PID control/APC) and have up to now necessitated the manual operation of control valves based on the judgements of plant personnel. Also, losses in the form of fuel, labor costs, time, etc. that occur due to production of off-spec products were eliminated.
HP: What's next for this form of AI? Do you plan on deploying this on other petrochemical/refining units?
HK: We are certainly looking to work with customers on field trials for other processes and applications to confirm the versatility and robustness of FKDPP, and demonstrate the value in terms of the profitability and sustainability benefits it can deliver. This time, we established and Checked the three steps for ensuring safe operations. Next, we need to streamline this process so that customers can test and deploy this technology as quickly as possible.
HP: Going forward, do we foresee AI replacing the traditional method (PID)? Or will it be limited to few niche applications?
HK: FKDPP can be applied to most kinds of control including situations that could not be automated with existing control techniques (PID control, APC). Not only that, we have confirmed in a variety of application experiments that FKDPP can achieve stabilization 1/2 to 1/3 quicker than conventional control (PID control), without overshooting. This characteristic will be beneficial for customers who have furnaces and injection molding machines.
Dr. Hiroaki Kanokogi is the General Manager at Yokogawa. He joined Yokogawa in 2007 and is currently pursuing the development, application, and commercialization of AI designed for production sites. Dr. Kanokogi is one of the inventors of the FKDPP algorithm, and he was previously engaged in machine learning application R&D at Microsoft Japan. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo.
By Emma Okonji
HP, global producers of laptops and printers, has announced its latest services for the Nigerian market as part of its commitment to help information technology(IT) teams in the country rise to the challenges that organisations are facing today.
The new services, which were designed to enhance employee’s productive capacity, include: HP Active Care for proactive device support and maintenance; HP Proactive Insights for intelligent fleet monitoring and HP Proactive Endpoint Management for multi-OS, endpoint management.
Announcing the new services, Global Head and General Manager, Personal Systems Services, HP Inc, Sumeer Chandra, said: “HP has a portfolio of insight-driven services that put actionable insights at IT’s fingertips by securely collecting device telemetry and applying analytics and deep learning via the HP TechPulse platform.”
During the recently concluded CES 2021 exhibition, HP announced HP Smart Support that helps IT teams reduce HP Support call times. With this capability, which is available at no additional cost to customers, HP customer service agents now have access to device-level insights through cloud-based telemetry. This allows the agents to Excellerate the customer support experience and reduce the amount of time end users spend on support calls. HP Smart Support is expected to be available via download in early March.
“With half of the global workforce working remotely, IT teams are facing unprecedented challenges. They have been tasked with managing, securing, and supporting computing devices for a workforce that is spread across multiple locations, often without the ability to help them in-person. At the same time, it has become paramount for IT to help deliver higher productivity and improved employee experiences with technology,” Chandra said.
“Ensuring today’s working environment has minimal impacts on productivity means identifying and resolving device issues before they become problems.
“Even before the global pandemic began, more than half of IT managers identified that increased predictive technology analytics will be prioritised when it comes to their device management strategy,” he said.
He revealed that the HP Active Care uses artificial intelligence from HP TechPulse to help IT proactively identify needed device repairs and make replacements, if needed, saving valuable employee time and frustration.
“The service provides a combination of predictive device health analytics, proactive help desk ticket creation, remote support, remediation services, and next business day onsite response to keep employees up and running. IT teams can also reduce downtime with automatic case generation, which opens a help desk case when an issue is detected and triggers the customer’s IT team to schedule a repair,” he added.
“IT managers can now measure, track, and Excellerate their employee end-user experience using analytics and employee experience campaigns, or surveys. Employee engagement is largely driven by their experiences with technology and engagement is correlated with retention. “HP wants to help organisations proactively identify and address technology-related issues that can Excellerate employee experiences and engagement,” he said.
As the world becomes more mobile, it's clear that many people prefer tablets and laptops to the traditional desktop. That said, although some are predicting the death of the desktop, chances are they'll never go away completely, so the question becomes: Do you want a large, powerful gaming machine, or do you want a small, compact, general purpose machine?
If you're looking for the latter, HP has a machine for you. Dubbed the HP EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini (just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?), the computer is in a tiny form factor, not much larger than a standard cable modem or home network switch.
The HP EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini is comparable in size and weight to the Mac Mini. Although the HP EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini is roughly 0.3 pounds heavier, it's also slightly smaller and more compact.
|HP Desktop Mini||Mac Mini|
|Weight||2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)||2.7 pounds (1.22 kg)|
|Height||1.3 inches (3.4 cm)||1.4 inches (3.6 cm)|
|Depth||7.0 inches (17.7 cm)||7.7 inches (19.7 cm)|
|Width||6.9 inches (17.5 cm)||7.7 inches (19.7 cm)|
The great thing about this machine is that, due to its size, it can be used practically anywhere. HP said some of the target markets for the EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini are hospital crash carts and school computer labs, but a case could be made to use the device as an inconspicuous home theater PC, or mounted under a cabinet in a kitchen if needed as well.
The power supply is housed externally, and is your typical power brick that plugs into the back of the desktop and into the wall.
As with most other HP products, the Desktop Mini can be configured in different ways, depending on individual need: For example, WiFi and Bluetooth are both optional. The machine also comes with either an SSD or a "spinning rust" drive, and while an internal optical drive is not an option, the PC has six USB ports, so one can easily be connected if needed, although this partially negates the advantage of the form factor.
Our review unit came equipped with an Intel Core i5 4570T quad core processor, and a single 4GB DDR3 memory module running at 800MHz, but the device supports a wide range of CPUs, from a Pentium G3220T, a wide array of i3 processors, all the way up to the i7 4785T. It also has two DIMM slots, so is capable of supporting up to 16GB of RAM.
Since the HP EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini is not a gaming PC, the machine uses Intel HD Graphics 4600. While fine for general work, you won't be playing Far Cry 4 at maximum settings anytime soon.
The front of the EliteDesk Mini consists of a headphone and microphone port, useful if you want to use the box for Skype or Lync Skype for Business. There's also two USB 3.0 ports, a small speaker, and of course, the power button.
The back of the box is where the action is. HP included four more USB 3.0 ports, two of which you'll probably want to use for a mouse/keyboard combination, a gigabit Ethernet port, a speaker port, two DisplayPort connections and a legacy VGA connector. This is also where the fan exhaust lives, as well as two ways to physically lock the device, and a simple thumbscrew to get to the inside of the machine.
Based on how you configure the HP EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini, the price can range from roughly $600 all the way to $1,200.
As they did with the EliteBook Folio 1040 G1, HP has once again confused matters by shipping the device standard with Windows 7, while proudly displaying a Windows Pro 8 sticker on the bottom of the machine. And just as with the EliteBook, they once again included Windows DVDs so that users can install Windows 8 themselves, although they provide no optical drive to do so. While I understand that the device is mainly targeted at the enterprise market, I hope that HP follows Dell's lead by providing USB thumbdrives at some point in the very near future.
That said, all of my tests were run using the provided version of Windows 7, updated with all of the latest patches and service packs.
One of the biggest disappointments is the fact that the device comes with quite a bit of bloatware out of the box. For an enterprise class machine, I'd expect a clean installation, but instead you're presented with icons for Box, Skype, and HP Trust Circles right on the desktop, with some other unneeded utilities scattered around under the installed software. It's not the end of the world, but I prefer installing my own software. If you like using Box, it's useful to note that you receive 50GB free for purchasing this machine.
HP doesn't pretend that this device is going to replace a gaming rig like the Digital Storm Vanquish II I reviewed earlier this year. It's definitely a standard desktop replacement in a tiny form factor, and it's marketed and priced accordingly. Having said that, the EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini did fairly well in our benchmarks, especially when compared to another general use type machine, the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1, which I also reviewed earlier this year.
The box performs adequately for light gaming, but you definitely won't be playing games like Far Cry or Crysis on it. On the gaming benchmarks we ran, the EliteDesk 800 did better than the EliteBook Folio 1040 when it came to Ice Storm and Cloud Gate, but actually ended up worse, with a score of only 525, on the demanding Fire Strike test. As expected, the results were all dwarfed by the Digital Storm Vanquish II, a box made specifically for gaming.
On the other hand, the EliteDesk 800 performed very well on benchmarks focusing on standard day-to-day operations. Once again it edged out the EliteBook Folio 1040, but by a much narrower margin, scoring 4,209 in the "Work Accelerated" test, a 3,211 in the "Creative Accelerated" test, and 2,845 in the "Home Accelerated" test.
Below, you can see a chart showing the performance capabilities of the HP EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini, the EliteBook Folio 1040 G1, and the Digital Storm Vanquish II, all of which we reviewed.
|HP UltraBook 1040 Folio||HP EliteDesk||Digital Storm Vanquish II|
|Work Accelerated||3,316||4,209||Did Not Test|
|Creative Acceslerated||2,390||3,211||Did Not Test|
The device has a single fan that vents out the back of the chassis, and the fan noise is nearly non-existent, which is a good trait in a tiny machine that's supposed to be able to be hidden out of sight and out of mind. In addition, the box runs cool: After going through all of the various benchmarks, there was no noticeable increase in air temperature at the exhaust vent, and the case itself felt the same as it did before the benchmarks. It doesn't appear that overheating will be an issue with the EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini.
The graphics card on the EliteDesk Mini is capable of supporting up to three displays. Although it's curious that HP included two DisplayPorts while still leaving an old VGA connector, obtaining cables to convert from DP to DVI and HDMI are pretty easy to find. In my tests, I converted from DisplayPort to DVI and had no issues connecting up to two different monitors.
The built-in speaker, while capable of playing sounds, isn't something you'll want for more than occasional use. It's fine for playing alerts, but music and games sound hollow and tinny. That's not surprising, since most people use external speakers on their desktops anyway.
The EliteDesk 800 Desktop Mini supports vPro, which helps Excellerate desktop security, especially in the enterprise. It's also important to note that, because the EliteDesk is focused on the enterprise market, it comes with three years on-site support. That means, for example, that if your power supply or fan dies, a technician will come over to your house to fix the box if you need them to, which is pretty handy. If you don't need vPro or the on-site support, it might be worth looking at the ProDesk 600 which has the same form factor but at a cheaper price.
The HP EliteDesk 800 MIni Desktop is a very compelling machine for those who still want a general purpose device in their house. The tiny form factor means it can be placed practically anywhere, especially when paired with a wireless keyboard and mouse. It also uses very little power, only 8W when idle, so you won't get shocked when you see your electricity bill.
For those who want expandability, this device probably isn't for you. Storage space is one of the most limiting factors, but is understandable due to the form factor. While you could easily add an external hard drive using one of the many USB 3.0 ports the box has, that really defeats the purpose of such a small machine.
If you're looking for a general purpose box and space is at a premium, such as in a dorm room or a small office, you can't go wrong with the HP EliteDesk 800 Mini Desktop. If you want more flexibility and don't mind sacrificing physical desk space for it, then you can safely look elsewhere.
A visit to HP’s Design Studio, where the team takes creative leaps and deliberate steps in the quest for good-looking and eco-positive products.
Northampton, MA --News Direct-- HP Inc.
In a conference room at HP’s Silicon Valley campus, a cornucopia of materials is placed all around. On the table and walls are swatches in fashion-forward colors (teal green, scarlet, rose gold) and novel textures (mycelium foam, crushed seashells, recycled rubber from running tracks, fabric from recycled jeans). Even more unexpected: pairs of high-end athletic shoes, and lots of them; luggage and backpacks, teapots and totes; stacks of gorgeous coffee-table books on syllabus ranging from furniture to architecture — all to inspire the look and feel of devices that HP has yet to imagine.
Being able to touch, test, and debate about these items in person is part of the process, a creative collaboration Global Head of Design & Sustainability Stacy Wolff and his talented team of designers are grateful to be able to do side by side again inside their light-filled studio in Palo Alto. With each iteration of an HP laptop, desktop, or gaming rig, they endeavor to push the bounds of sustainable design while offering consumers a device that they’re proud to use each day.
For the last few years, HP’s design work has gained recognition, evidenced by the studio’s gleaming rows of awards. But there’s not a single name listed on any of them. “Everything we do is by collective effort. We win as a group, and we lose as a group,” says Wolff. “If you won an award, someone else had to do maybe a less glamorous job to deliver you the freedom to do that.”
The team of 73 creatives in California, Houston, and Taipei are from backgrounds as varied as design, engineering, graphics, anthropology, poetry, ergonomics, and sports journalism. There’s one thing they have in common, though. Disagreements are dealt with by amping up their communication and doubling down on what they know to be their source of truth. “If we let the customer be the North Star, it tends to resolve almost all conflict,” Wolff says.
HP’s head of design has led a massive shift in how HP approaches design since its split from HPE in 2015, steering the company toward a more unified, yet distinct, visual identity, and a willingness to experiment with both luxury and mass-market trends. Wolff’s team is responsible for delivering the award-winning HP Spectre and ENVY lines, including the HP Spectre 13 (at the time of launch, hailed as the world’s thinnest laptop); the HP Spectre Folio (the first laptop with a leather chassis); the HP ENVY Wood series (made with sustainably-sourced, genuine wood inlays); and the HP Elite Dragonfly (the world’s first notebook to use ocean-bound plastic). Among the honors: In 2021, HP received seven Green Good Design Awards from the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.
Today, Wolff and his team are in their recently outfitted studio, which opened late last year in HP’s Palo Alto headquarters. In the common areas, there is an inviting atmosphere of warm wood and soft, textured surfaces. Designers are tapping away at their keyboards, breaking off to share quick sketches and notes in an informal huddle around a digital whiteboard. In the gallery — an airy space that looks a lot like an upscale retail store — foam models, proof-of concept designs, and an array of laptop parts, keycaps, speakers, and circuit boards are splayed out on stark white countertops. Light from the courtyard pours in from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
“The studio has become a home,” says Wolff, who’s been with the company for 27 years. “When you think about a house, where does everybody go? Where is the love, and creation, and the stories being told? All that is shared in the kitchen.”
Granted this kitchen also has a really, really nice espresso maker.
The new space, like the kitchen, bubbles with energy and fuels the collaborative process, which was somewhat stifled when everyone was working remotely. “Creativity is a magical thing,” Wolff says. “That’s why it’s so important to design in a common space. We took for granted the process of organic product development. When you work from home, it becomes almost serial development. There’s no serendipity.”
After months of improvising the tools they needed to work together, the team finds that being back in the office is where they can be most creative and efficient. “Designers are very hands-on,” says Kevin Massaro, vice president of consumer design. “Everything in the studio is tactile.”
Yet, the time spent working remotely produced valuable insights that are informing future products, such as a PC camera disaggregated from the monitor so it can be manipulated to capture something on a person’s desk (like a sketch); super-wide-screen displays with integrated light bars that offer a soft backlight for people working late at night; and monitors that adjust to taller heights, to better accommodate a standing desk.
In exact years, the team has also turned its sights toward defining — and redefining — what sustainable design means for HP. In 2021 HP announced some of the most aggressive and comprehensive climate goals in the technology industry, bringing new complexity — and new gravitas — to what Wolff and his team are aiming to accomplish.
“You’re no longer just a company that’s manufacturing technology, you’re a company that’s helping to better people’s lives,” Wolff says. Working toward HP’s goal to become the most sustainable and just technology company is less about integrating greater percentages of recycled materials into new products, and more about an accounting of the entire life cycle of a device, from the electricity used over its lifetime and the minerals mined for its batteries, to the chemicals used in its painted powder coating and what exactly happens to a product when returned for recycling.
When a customer opens a box made of 100% recycled molded fiber packaging to reveal the premium Elite Dragonfly PC, which made waves for being the first notebook with ocean-bound plastic, that’s where this team’s efforts become tangible.
The Dragonfly isn’t only a triumph of design, it proved that circularity can be an integral part of mass-manufacturing for personal electronics. The third generation of that same device, released in March (see “How the HP Elite Dragonfly Took Flight,” page 36), raised the bar for battery life and weight with a new process that fuses aluminum and magnesium in the chassis, the latter of which is both lightweight and 100% recyclable.
This was a feat of engineering alchemy, says Chad Paris, Global Senior Design Manager. “Not only do you have different properties of how these metals work together, it was a challenge to make sure that it’s seamless,” he says. The team innovated and came up with a thermofusion process that lends a premium feel to the Dragonfly while keeping its weight at just a kilogram.
This inventiveness dovetails with Wolff’s pragmatic approach to sustainability. Not only does each change have to scale for a manufacturer the size of HP, it has to strike the right balance between brand integrity and forward-leaning design. “We can take waste and make great things,” Wolff says, gesturing at a pile of uniform plastic pellets that used to be a discarded bottle. “But ultimately, we want our products to live longer, so we’re designing them to have second lives.”
A sustainable HP notebook, no matter what materials it’s made from, needs to look and feel like HP made it, says Sandie Cheng, Global CMF Director. The CMF (colors, materials, finishes) library holds thousands of fabric swatches, colored tiles, and paint chips and samples, which Cheng uses as inspiration for the look and feel of fine details such as the touch pad on a laptop, the smooth glide of a hinge, or the sparkle of the HP logo peeking through a laser-etched cutout.
Cheng and her team head out on scouting trips to gather objects from a variety of places and bring them back to the studio, composing their own ever-changing mood board. In the CMF library, there are Zen-like ceramic-and-bamboo vessels picked up from an upscale housewares boutique in San Francisco alongside scores of upholstery samples in chic color palettes, hunks of charred wood, and Nike’s Space Hippie trainers.
Most of these materials will never make it to production, but they offer up a rich playground for the team’s collective imagination. Foam made from mycelium (i.e., fungi threads) is an organic material that can be grown in just two weeks. Perhaps one day it could be used as material to cover the Dragonfly chassis, even if right now it couldn’t survive the daily wear and tear we put on our PCs. Or its spongy, earthy texture might inspire a new textile that lends a softer feel to an otherwise hard-edged device on your desk.
“We as designers have to think outside the box to stay creative and inspired, but we also have to develop materials that can be used for production,” Cheng says. “It’s a balance of staying creative and also being realistic.”
The same holds true for how the materials are made. Manufacturing with fabric is notorious for producing massive amounts of waste because of the way patterns are cut, but HP wants to change that with its own soft goods, such as the HP Renew Sleeve. It’s made with 96% recycled plastic bottle material, and importantly, the 3D knitting process used to make the laptop sleeve leaves virtually zero waste, generating only a few stray threads.
Earlier this month, Cheng and her team went to Milan, Italy, for fresh inspiration. They attended Salone del Mobile 2022, one of the industry’s largest textile, furniture, and home design trade shows, to get a sense of the big design trends of the next few years, including what Cheng calls “the centered home,” which evokes feelings of comfort, coziness, and calm.
She explains that the blurring of work and life means that what consumers want in their next device, whether it’s one issued by their company or selected from a store shelf, is something that looks and feels like it fits into their personal spaces. “Your PC should be really versatile and adapt to whichever environment you’re in and how you want to use it,” she says.
Consumers also want to feel good about their purchase, which increasingly means choosing brands that care for the finite resources on our shared planet. A 2021 report by research firm IDC found that 43% of 1,000 decision-makers said sustainability was a critical factor in their tech-buying choices.
As the Personal Systems designers charge ahead into a sustainable future — whatever it brings — they’ll surely do it in their iterative, measured, and collaborative way.
“When it comes to sustainability, it’s all about forward progress, and everyone’s job is a sustainability job,” Wolff says. “As founder Dave Packard said, ‘The betterment of our society is not a job to be left to the few. It’s a responsibility to be shared by all.’”
View additional multimedia and more ESG storytelling from HP Inc. on 3blmedia.com
View source version on newsdirect.com: https://newsdirect.com/news/how-hp-designers-think-about-sustainable-pcs-440842278
Low-priced Windows tablets (or detachable 2-in-1 models with snap-on keyboards) are less popular than Android or iPadOS tablets for good reason—most struggle with day-to-day tasks and don't include accessories. That describes the Microsoft Surface Go 3 and the HP competitor seen here, the Tablet 11-be0097nr ($379.99 as tested, exclusive of its key accessories). The 11-inch HP slate has some good qualities—its touch screen offers a better image than you'd get from an inexpensive laptop, and its rotating camera is impressively sharp and colorful.
But its battery life is a bit too short, its Intel Pentium Silver CPU will have you yawning and drumming your fingers waiting for basic operations, it has only one USB port and no headphone jack, and you'll pay an extra $218 for a pen and keyboard cover. Unless you truly need Windows in tablet form at a very low cost, the 2021 Apple iPad delivers a superior tablet experience, while the admittedly much pricier Microsoft Surface Pro 8 remains the gold standard for laptop-replacement Windows tablets. Among budget convertibles, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 is a larger but much more capable option.
At 0.32 by 9.9 by 7 inches (HWD), the Tablet 11 is almost the same size as the Surface Go 3 (0.33 by 9.7 by 6.9 inches) and the 2021 iPad (0.3 by 9.8 by 6.8 inches). The touch screen isn't borderless, but a tablet's shouldn't be; the bezels are just wide enough for you to grip the device without your fingers smudging the screen.
Build quality is first-class, with a slick Gorilla Glass 5 display and an aluminum casing. There's no flex or flimsy feel. My only possible gripe is that silver is the only available color.
The Tablet 11 weighs a tolerable 1.32 pounds; its included fabric kickstand adds another pound. The Surface Go 3 is just 1.2 pounds with a built-in kickstand, but it's less versatile since its kickstand doesn't work in portrait (vertical) mode and isn't a protective cover. The HP earns another point for working in portrait mode with its keyboard. (See the keyboard connectors in the photo below.) Strong magnets ensure the kickstand won't come loose unintentionally.
The Tablet 11's most intriguing feature is its rotating camera, which works as a front- or rear-facing shooter. Its rotation is actually motorized, not manual; pressing a button spins the camera 180 degrees in about two seconds. It can rotate further while front-facing so your face is centered in the picture.
The camera excels at face-to-face video chats, shooting clear and well-lit full HD (1080p) video at 30 frames per second with effective autofocus. It's light-years ahead of the cheap 720p webcams found on nearly all laptops. HP's GlamCam widget, which opens when the camera is activated, offers low-light adjustment, keystone correction, framing, digital zoom settings, and preferences for apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom Meetings.
The camera also captures stills up to 12.6 megapixels, an impressive resolution for a tablet camera. It does reasonably well with highlights, though a basic smartphone would fare just as well. The trial shots below don't do it full justice—this is a superb videoconferencing camera.
The HP Tablet 11's other big selling point is its 11-inch touch screen. Its 2K (2,160-by-1,440-pixel) resolution is higher than the 1,920 by 1,280 pixels of the Surface Go 3.
The picture is very good; our DataColor SpyderX Elite measured it at 383 nits of brightness, close enough to HP's claimed 400 nits. I also measured a respectable 98% coverage of the sRGB color gamut coverage and 77% of Adobe RGB. The glass surface is crystal-clear, though it's easy to smudge. Sun glare is a problem outdoors, but that's typical of most such screens.
Artists and writers will want to get HP's Rechargeable MPP 2.0 Tilt Pen ($69). Sized like a normal pen (5.9 by 0.4 inches), it has two buttons and includes extra tips.
The tablet's glass screen is too slick to feel like you're writing on paper, but you can get used to it easily enough. The pen has a handy battery indicator on the eraser end that blinks red when the battery is low; it plugs into a USB-C port to recharge.
The other accessory you'll likely want is the HP Tablet Keyboard. It snaps onto the slate magnetically, adding 0.6 pound of weight and 0.2 inch of thickness. Its Microsoft Surface-like $149 price seems steep since it doesn't add extra ports or functionality beyond typing and isn't backlit.
That said, the keyboard provides a snappy, engaging typing feel despite its undersize keys, and its touch pad tracks and clicks nicely. The fabric covering is refreshing, too, and the keyboard doesn't need batteries. Like most other detachables, though, the setup doesn't work well on anything but a solid surface. Your lap, for instance, is a no-go.
Port selection is one of the HP slate's weaknesses, its sole physical connector being a USB 3.2 Type-C port. There are no other ports, not even a headphone jack.
Making matters worse, the USB-C port is also used for power, so you can't connect any wired peripherals while charging the tablet. The Surface Go 3 does better on this score, with a dedicated power jack. Meanwhile, the HP's power button is further along the left edge; it doubles as a fingerprint reader. (The camera, as fancy as it is, doesn't support facial recognition for logging in.) Rounding out the physical features are a volume rocker and a nonfunctional nano-SIM slot on top, the latter presumably for a future model with mobile broadband.
Audio is another area where the Tablet 11 could have done better. Its twin speakers project strained sound through slits in the bottom of the screen.
The Tablet 11-be0097nr reviewed here (the only available version at this writing) has a 1.1GHz, quad-core Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor, 8GB of LPDDR4X memory, a 128GB PCIe solid-state drive, and Windows 11 Home in S Mode, along with support for Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth wireless. It's backed by a one-year warranty. The base configuration of Microsoft's Surface Go 3 (also a Pentium-based model) offers just half the RAM and storage for $20 more, though the price difference narrows once you factor in the accessories.
Using the Tablet 11 for everyday tasks requires patience. The Pentium Silver's minimal power signature, which allows the tablet to be fanless and silent, limits its performance. Scrolling through web pages and switching among a few tabs is fairly smooth, but the HP's lack of oomph is obvious everywhere else. Opening the Start menu is a chore; installing Windows updates takes a long time. Even with 8GB rather than 4GB of RAM, the tablet was unable to complete some of our benchmark tests, though the 128GB SSD is a big improvement on poky eMMC flash storage.
Besides the Core i3-powered Surface Go 3 we tested (our Go 3 review trial was an upgrade from Microsoft's $399 Pentium starter model), I matched the HP against the $749, OLED-screened Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED T3300, which has the same Pentium Silver N6000 chip. The high-end Surface Pro 8 and thrifty Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 convertible round out the test group.
Our first test is UL's PCMark 10, which simulates a variety of real-world productivity and office workflows to measure overall system performance and also includes a storage subtest for the primary drive. We consider 4,000 points the threshold for solid everyday productivity, and the Tablet 11 (and Surface Go 3) barely scored half that. Its low storage test score indicates its SSD is no great shakes, either. The entry-level Lenovo laptop did far better.
Three other benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC's suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon's Cinebench R23 uses that company's Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs' Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).
The Tablet 11 performed poorly even next to the Vivobook Slate, which uses the same CPU. I noticed the HP got toasty while testing, so it was likely thermally throttling its performance. (The Asus model being much bigger, the internals are likely thermally much more forgiving under load.) Though its 8GB of memory is theoretically sufficient, it joined the 4GB devices in failing to complete our Adobe Photoshop performance test (not graphed here).
We normally run two game simulations or graphics benchmarks, but UL's 3DMark wouldn't install on the HP Tablet 11. It's not much of a loss; our other test, the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, shows this little tablet isn't going to be playing the latest games anytime soon. Browser-based titles or casual games from the Windows Store are likely all it can handle.
PC Labs tests laptops' and tablets’ battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) with screen brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100% until the system quits. Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting are turned off during the test. We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its software to measure the screen's color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—and its brightness in nits (candelas per square meter) at the screen's 50% and peak settings.
The Tablet 11’s time landed it in the upper range of HP’s official battery life estimates of 6 hours and 45 minutes to 9 hours and 30 minutes, but it’s still last place among this group. That said, the Tablet 11 does offer as nice of a screen as you can expect at this price. It’s just shy of the Surface Go 3’s peak brightness but, as I noted earlier, has a finer resolution. It outdoes the Lenovo’s screen in every way.
That said, the Tablet 11 does offer as nice a screen as you can find at this price, nearly matching the Surface Go 3's brightness while offering finer resolution and topping the Lenovo's display in every way.
The HP Tablet 11 doesn't match up to our favorite Windows economy tablet, Microsoft's Surface Go 3, because of its ho-hum battery life and missing headphone jack. Its few advantages include a sharper screen, more storage, and a removable kickstand cover that works in portrait mode, but they're not enough to offset those cons.
The larger issue is that neither tablet offers a great value or user experience. Sluggish performance makes day-to-day tasks frustrating, and their base prices don't include their costly keyboards and pens. The Apple iPad is a superior tablet, and a budget convertible like the Lenovo is a more productive platform if you really want Windows.
[Editors' Note, July 12, 2022: We updated the battery life section (and bar chart) of this review after a rerun of our battery rundown test delivered a better result with the standard movie file wholly contained on the internal storage.]
I was onstage recently at a theater in Minneapolis with the improvisational comedy team The Theater of Public Policy, or T2P2. Co-founders Tane Danger and Brandon Boat conceived the idea of bringing on stage someone to talk about a serious course — the economy in my case — and take questions from the host and audience.
The guest segments at these events are serious, but the discussion is interrupted by two long improv sequences in which the actors unleash their imaginations and spin fanciful tales based on the conversation. One question from the audience involved the economics of generational conflict: Isn’t the older generation hoarding wealth and absorbing too much government spending, leaving little behind for younger generations? (The improvisers loved playing off that question.)
I get variations of the generational conflict assumption all the time. The stoking of generational resentment is practically a cottage industry. Business consultants and ideologically driven think tanks seem enamored with the theme that generational warfare lurks everywhere from the policy arena to the workplace.
Yet the idea that the relationship between older and younger generations is a zero-sum economic game is wrong — very wrong. The far more powerful story is one of generational interdependence and the advantages that come from nurturing common bonds and mutual opportunities.
For one thing, what is often labeled intergenerational conflict has nothing to do with age and everything to do with increasing inequality, considering the massive upward redistribution in wealth and income over the last several decades.
For another, the younger generations and their future selves have a huge stake in the current fight by older generations to crush ageism and to build age-friendly institutions. Think about it: Considering gains in life expectancy, odds are someone who graduated from college this spring will work for 50 to 70 years.
“Younger people are the ones who have the most at stake,” says Robert Kramer, founder of Nexus Insights, a think tank in Annapolis, Maryland, focused on advancing the well-being of older adults by reimagining the possibilities unleashed by increased longevity. “A lot of change won’t happen in my immediate lifetime. I’m 72.”
The theme of generational interdependence ran throughout the discussions at the Revolutionize conference in Boston in late April. The conference, organized by the Age-Friendly Institute in Waltham, Massachusetts, along with Aging 2.0, brought together experts from various parts of the aging ecosystem to learn from one another’s efforts to create more age-friendly communities, work environments, homes, healthcare and other critical infrastructure.
Participants were asked at the last session to describe the main point, or takeaway, they would take home with them. Almost everyone emphasized how reimagining society’s major institutions to realize the promise of increased longevity was an intergenerational task.
This isn’t about older adults,” summarized Anne Doyle, president of Lasell Village, an educational retirement community housed at Lasell University, a private university in the Auburndale section of Newton, Massachusetts. “It’s about everybody.”
Let’s bury the “kids versus canes” false rhetoric, now and forever.
The benefits of highlighting the connections between generations are easy to multiply once you start looking. Take the experience of work, one of society’s most important institutions. The notion that there is systematic intergenerational conflict at the workplace doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
For example, in a meta-analysis of three work-related outcomes — organizational commitment, turnover intention and job satisfaction — published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, scholars found little substantive differences among workers from different cohorts.
Survey research by the IBM Institute for Business Value suggests that millennials, Gen Xers and boomers shared common work goals, including making a positive impact on the organization, dealing with a diverse group of people and working in teams.
Research also shows that multigenerational teams are the most productive because the generations learn from each other on the job. That’s the main message of a detailed international study published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2020, “Promoting an Age-Inclusive Workforce: Living, Learning and Earning Longer.” (The report is based on data from six countries over 15 years, from 2002 to 2017.)
Here is the key conclusion from the report:
“The benefit of age diversity is that it enables workers of different ages to collaborate, share knowledge and support each other in complementary ways. Age diversity has the potential to make a firm’s productivity greater than what the sum of its workers’ individual productivities would suggest. Such complementarities tend to be particularly strong between young and older workers.”
The housing market offers another example of the generations combining resources to Excellerate well-being. The number of people living in multigenerational family households quadrupled to nearly 60 million from 1971 to 2021, calculates Pew Research Center. The share more than doubled to 18% of the U.S. population.
Multigenerational living is not only a sensible way to share the cost of housing, it’s also a convenient arrangement for child care and elder care. No surprise Pew’s scholars found that multigenerational households are less likely to be poor than those living in other types of households.
There is still a long way to go. The kind of major transformations required to create age-friendly institutions for multiple generations isn’t easy. The design, rules and legal framework for America’s core social and economic institutions were developed when life expectancy and health expectancy was 20 to 30 years shorter, notes Ruth Finkelstein, executive director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College, in an essay for the Milken Institute Center on the Future of Aging.
Initiatives that Excellerate the livability of cities for older people, transform colleges into multigenerational learning institutions and add aging to diversity, equity and inclusion programs are good for younger generations, too. Sadly, the rate of change has been slow and incremental so far. It’s no coincidence the conference tapped into the “Revolutionize” theme.
That said, reform begins with building off the foundation of strong mutual generational dependence, rather than focusing on conflict and zero-sum perspectives. “The stakes couldn’t be higher as we choose between two paths forward, prompted by the new demographics and the arrival of our profoundly multigenerational future — one characterized by scarcity, conflict and loneliness; the other by abundance, interdependence and connection,” writes Marc Freedman’s in “How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations.”
I’ve learned from improv actors that the key expression is “yes, and” versus the more common “yes, but.” Most of us respond with “yes, but” statements in conversations at home and at work. Yet the “but” framing often shuts down ideas, closes off explorations, and deflates the conversation. The mantra “yes, and” encourages openness to new ideas and opportunities and fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation.
If the “yes, and” creative framework holds for relations among the generations — young and old alike — the prospect of a multigenerational age-friendly societal transformation could accelerate fast.
Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor for American Public Media’s Marketplace. An award-winning journalist, he is author
of “Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money and Happiness in the Second Half of Life” and “Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and The Good Life.”
This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2022 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.
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