Steelcase Unveils New Technology to Make Power More Accessible in Offices and Schools

Company announces Thread, an ultra-thin power system that runs under carpet

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 2015 – Steelcase today announced the introduction of Thread, a new kind of power system designed to provide any carpeted space with power where and when people need it. The announcement came as a result of Steelcase research that revealed 73% of workers work with three or more devices to get their job done and 95% of post-secondary establishments allow mobile devices in classrooms, yet 20% of college students say it is difficult to charge their devices on campus.

“Access to power in many workplaces and education facilities remains scarce. In our research, we saw workers choosing uncomfortable places to work and study simply to gain access to power for their mobile devices,” said Jan Carlson, general manager, architectural solutions for Steelcase. “Our devices are an integral part of our work and life—yet seamlessly bringing power to all spaces has been time consuming, complex, costly and rigid, without any flexibility for future needs.”

The Thread power system transforms any carpeted floor into a power source. This patented system runs power through an ultra-thin modular track designed to be laid under carpet. The track attaches to a low-profile connector and a standing power hub or adapter. The power hub allows workers to access six standard outlets at seated height. Thread power system is a one circuit, 20 amp system allowing enough power to support laptops, mobile devices and even host powered furniture such as media:scape®. As users demand, each power hub can be moved to a different connector throughout the space, or anywhere within a 5 foot radius from each connector.

The Thread power system can be installed easily in any new or existing building, and provides organizations future flexibility for change in workplace design by enabling fast and easy reconfigurations.

Inspired by Steelcase ethnographic research, the Thread power system meets the needs of workers and students today. Steelcase researchers observed workers and students in pain and sacrificing basic needs while trying to gain access to power. Most notably, the team observed:

  • Loss of mobility to move throughout a space;
  • Loss of comfort and correct ergonomic postures;
  • Loss of control and choice over where to work, study or learn;
  • Disruption of work flow and creativity.

Traditional building construction was not designed to meet the extreme demands for power today, leaving many workers in pain and without control of their day. Our researchers saw people sitting on the floor, climbing under furniture and working in physically damaging postures, all to power their devices and get work done,” continued Carlson. “If power was always within reach, people could create, problem solve, focus and recharge anywhere. Thread is designed to bring freedom back to workers by giving them choice and control over where they work.”

The Thread system is fully UL/cUL LISTED, ADA compliant and will be available spring 2015.

For more information about Thread visit here.

About Steelcase Inc.

For over 100 years, Steelcase Inc. has helped create great experiences for the world’s leading organizations, across industries. We demonstrate this through our family of brands – including Steelcase®, Coalesse®, Designtex®, Details®, PolyVision® and Turnstone®. Together, they offer a comprehensive portfolio of architecture, furniture and technology products and services designed to unlock human promise and support social, economic and environmental sustainability. We are globally accessible through a network of channels, including over 800 dealer locations. Steelcase is a global, industry-leading and publicly traded company with fiscal 2015 revenue of $3.1 billion.


Audra Hartges
(989) 323-0488