The world of work is rapidly changing. Modern professionals are continuously redefining the concept of what it means to work in a conventional office. Coffee shops, short train hops, taxi rides and the departure lounge, for example, rarely feature a persistent internet connection – let alone a handy power socket. But with the game-changing Elite Dragonfly, HP’s latest 2-in-1 business convertible laptop, the company hopes to tackle this culture shift at its root.
In order to find out how, we spoke to HP’s Global Head of Design, Stacy Wolff, and UKI MD, George Brasher, who explains how the company has managed to precision-engineer a laptop fit for anything the future could throw at today’s modern professional.
The Elite Dragonfly includes Intel’s latest technology – the fruit of its Project Athena innovation programme, which is designed to deliver a new class of advanced laptops for mobile workers who demand more. “The PC is in an evolutionary state, it’s not static,” says Wolff. “And for our Dragonfly, it is the next step of what the mobile PC user is demanding.”
It’s a sleek, 13.3-inch, 2-in-1 convertible magnesium alloy laptop that runs on Intel’s i7 U-series vPro processor, and weighs less than 1kg, making it the world’s lightest compact business convertible. It comes in an eye-catching iridescent blue, with embedded 4G LTE connectivity and a 24-hour battery life that can charge to 50 per cent in 30 minutes, enabling future-focused professionals to ditch tethered hotspots and cumbersome charging cables for good.
HP used a combination of materials in the manufacturing process to create an advanced type of magnesium. This material enabled the company to find a balance between both weight and structure, while still allowing the transmissibility required for LTE. “What you’re seeing with the Dragonfly is a greater focus on advancing the materials versus just advancing the form factor, advancing the aesthetics, advancing the colour – it’s more about the science within that allowing us to create a form factor that is highly desirable.”
As Wolff explains, “The trailblazer – the person that’s outside the office probably more than in the office – seeks that balance of those three things: weight, battery performance and overall connectivity.” Striking that balance means that freelancers or those working in different countries away from the office are able to clock in their hours and get work done, no matter where they are in the world.
It’s something that’s becoming increasingly important to today’s gig economy workers, with recent figures estimating that there are now five million self-employed people in the UK, with two million of these working on a contracted or freelance basis. “We seek to alleviate pain points,” says Wolff. “We all suffer those. I want to charge when I need to charge, I want to always be securely connected, I don’t want to have to carry extra weight. So those considerations have to be woven in to make sure that the design is good today, but will be great tomorrow.”
Design has become an important part of how HP builds its products, and it’s something that Wolff is keen to emphasise. “If I go back in my tenure from design, in the past, you would do concepts that were based around a series of specifications,” he says. “Within HP, design has taken on a very strategic role. We’re defining experiences, we are breaking through and driving technology. When you think about the devices we’re making, we’re addressing just about every aspect of where technology starts to show itself within our lives. For me, that’s very exciting.”
And the company has worked hard to meet future generations’ needs. According to a report by human resources research firm Inavero and freelancing website Upwork, 73 per cent of companies will be using remote-work employees by 2028, with Generation Z – the latest to enter the workforce – viewing remote working as a necessity. This differs to baby boomers, who only work remotely 58 per cent of the time. A separate report published last month from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found that younger generations are seeking more and more flexibility when it comes to work, with one in four 18-24-year-olds having worked as a freelancer or contracted worker at some point in their lives.
“A Gen Xer went to a place to work; a millennial has places where they work. I don’t think you see within Gen Z the distinction of work or life – it’s everything,” says Brasher. “For us, when we think about design, we try to address future needs.”
“The trick was to build a device that’s as portable as possible without compromising on functionality or performance,” Brasher adds. “For instance, the Dragonfly features a full suite of security tools, including the Sure View privacy screen, which can be activated by pressing the F2 key. There’s even a webcam kill-switch.”
Wolff sees HP as a company that connects the worlds of work and life. “If you think about it, we do consumer products, and we do commercial products. We even do products for specific verticals, from medical to education to retail, as well as specialist workstation devices for heavier workloads,” he points out. “We’re at that intersection of multiple needs. For us, we see ourselves as responsible for more than simply bringing products to market, but also taking the tech industry in new directions.”
And one of these new directions is in the realm of sustainability, something that Gen Z-ers consistently rank as something they find important. The Elite Dragonfly also has this at its core. The speaker enclosure, for example, has been made using ocean-bound plastics, collected from beaches and riversides. It’s a forward-looking philosophy influencing the entire HP ecosystem, ensuring that minimising impact on the planet plays as important a role as redefining the way we work.
According to a CGS report published earlier this year, Gen Z rank ethical businesses and manufacturing as a top factor when making purchases, with 68 per cent of the generation having made a purchase based on the product’s eco-friendly merit in 2018.
“We’re starting to embody materials that can be reused and repurposed. You’re going to see it from our packaging plans to other devices that go out. Sustainability is utmost in our focus,” says Wolff. “It takes one product to set the direction, and I think Dragonfly is that leading point.”
Find out more about the HP Elite Dragonfly by visiting hp.co.uk/dragonfly