SINGAPORE - When two interns working in a company in Finland told their boss he was speaking too loudly on his phone while they were coding, he told them to make him a phone booth.
Instead, they invented a soundproof meeting pod to complement open space offices and started a company in 2010 - Framery Acoustics - which has sold over 11,000 pods to more than 60 countries.
The company is one of over 300 exhibitors taking part in a unique three-in-one exhibition showcasing innovative products, held at Marina Bay Sands, Sands Expo Convention Centre from July 18 to 20.
The event is organised by BizLink Exhibition Services, a subsidiary of Sphere Exhibits, the events and exhibition arm of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).
The exhibition, comprising Singapore Gifts & Premiums Fair (SGPFair), PrintPack+Sign (PP+S) and Office Expo Asia (OEA), features exhibitors from 14 countries.
SGPFair's showcases environmentally-friendly products like sustainable bags, clothing, and Virtual Reality viewers.
Among other things, PP+S features 3D printing, packaging materials, and other new printing- and packaging-related technologies.
OEA's exhibitors will demonstrate ways to nurture creativity and comfort in the workplace. One of the exhibitors is Framery Acoustics.
Mr Tuukka Oksala, the firm's sales manager for South-east Asia, said open spaces facilitate easier communication between workers, but reduce the privacy of workers and introduce noises and distractions.
The soundproof meeting pods was developed by Samu Hällfors and Vesa-Matti Marjamäki, who used recycled material for the pod's interior of felt and acoustic foam. The pods can be relocated to any part of the office.
A one-person pod costs S$14,000, while a bigger one, which can fit four people, costs S$29,000.
Another exhibitor is Canadian firm ARHT media, showcasing its hologram technology developed at a cost of $9 million Canadian dollars (S$9.3 million).
The technology allows speakers and performers to be projected from a distant place using a transparent screen, so that they can engage and interact with the audience as if they are there in the flesh.
The firm's general manager Lincoln Cheung said with the technology, "people no longer have to fly". He added: "Communication is 90 per cent non-verbal and this invention will revolutionise how people interact."
Mr Chua Wee Phong, executive director of BizLink Exhibition Services, said that millennials have created shifts in the overall buying behaviour of people.
"This results in a demand for unique and yet durable products and services, that are environmentally-friendly and meet business and branding needs," said Mr Chua, who is also SPH's executive vice-president of circulation.