Tired of fighting for the only outlet in airport Starbucks so you can get some work done on the road? Well, debuting at SXSW today is a new tool for all you frequent travelers, freelancers, and mobile workers of all stripes. LiquidSpace is an app with the ambitious goal of unlocking the hidden or inaccessible workspaces all around us.
According to LiquidSpace, as the company fills out its maps and databases, you'll be able to open up the app, geolocate yourself, then browse nearby workspaces with reviews, prices if they apply, and click reserve.
This could be a quiet vacant desk, a stately conference room for your special occasion, a private members-only club, or a public park. Anywhere you can get some work done. So the idea goes.
Today is the launch of beta testing. Sign up here to get on the beta list.
It will certainly be a while before an app like this reaches its full potential. At its root LiquidSpace is trying to build a marketplace in temporary workplaces, not just desk rentals, but spur of the moment office real estate choices. That's a major goal that could change the way we work.
In economic terms, an empty desk is real estate waste. An untapped resource. But it's just too expensive and time consuming to figure out how to rent your partner's desk while he's visiting the new client in Chicago for a couple of day. Harder still, if the vacancy is only for a couple hours.
If LiquidSpace, or any other coworking directory, can make the act of setting up shop on the go an instant and painless process, then we'll doubtless see more flexwork offices created, more private homeowners opening their doors, and certainly a glut of happy (well, happier) freelance iPhone-using techies.
But we're still a long way off from searching for a half-day hot desk set up like we look for a restaurant suggestion. It took years to get to where we are with online and mobile restaurant listings—still not halfway to fully functional, in my opinion—and building out any database to a tipping point will take time.
How long will depend on how badly owners want to make a buck on their idle real estate resources.