ABCN: Looking Forward to a Bright 2013

Happy New Year - 2013
Happy New Year - 2013

As 2012 draws to a close and ABCN prepares to welcome in the New Year, Chairman Frank Cottle shares his thoughts on what has been a busy and successful 12 months for the ABCN team, as well as the wider business centre community as a whole.

“Whoo hooo – we made it again! No end of the world from the Mayan Calendar, no crisis that we couldn’t overcome, and nothing but a bright 2013 to look forward to,” says Frank.

“When we look back we all should see a lot of accomplishments around our industry in 2012,” he added. And 2012 has certainly seen plenty of activity and accomplishments within the flexible workspace industry.

Throughout the year, Officing Today has been reporting on the daily movements, events and achievements of workspace operators across the globe. We have celebrated the successes of individual business centre brands – such as Orega’s much deserved title of ABCN’s UK Operator of the Year 2012 – and tracked the various trends that have shaped, and continue to influence, our industry.

Mobile working is having a great impact on our industry – so much so that the big hitters are continuing to invest heavily in the mobile workforce and are making it an integral part of their strategy for future growth. At Officing Today we have looked at how to attract more mobile clients and flagged up the rise of the third workplace. As part of this mobile working trend, coworking – and in particular coworking communities – is becoming a significant part of the workspace industry.

In typical ABCN style we have embraced such changes and helped our members to do the same, for instance, by teaming up with Coworking Europe to offer special conference discounts. Many of our members are not just keeping up with the trends, but are actively paving the way for others to follow – such as RJmetis’ new software Spacedadi, which is set to help business centre operators improve the way they sell flexible space to clients in 2013.

2012 also saw the launch of ABCN’s new Ally concept. And for Alliance Virtual Offices, the launch of its currency converter was just one more step towards its major growth strategy.

Of course 2012 also saw the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. Once local residents and businesses had begun picking up the pieces in the aftermath of the ‘superstorm’, it became clear that the flexible workspace industry was right at the forefront of the relief effort for locally affected businesses. A combination of quick thinking, great coordination, late nights, social media and an open door policy helped many businesses get back on track much quicker than hoped.

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2012 also saw the sector continue to diversify in many different directions. One such unique concept is office space at sea – and we look forward to seeing how this will materialise in 2013.

Indeed, the office of the future is a hotly debated topic and one that will no doubt become much more sophisticated and more technologically-driven than we could ever hope to imagine. Who knows what the “office” will look like in five, ten or fifty years from now?

“When we look forward we should see a pathway that’s as brightly lit as I have ever seen in all the time that I’ve been hanging out in the world of virtual and serviced offices,” says Frank as he welcomes the New Year. “As the song says, ‘our future’s so bright… we gotta wear shades!’

“Have fun in the New Year… and celebrate every day as the start of something great.”


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