by Hollie Wegman ・ Office Hacks

Office Hack #25 — Mozilla’s TV Hack

Envoy is all about making things easier and more fun in the office. In that spirit, we are proud to bring you our new Envoy Office Hacks podcast series. Every week, we deliver the coolest, most ingenious, and just plain fun fixes people have invented to improve efficiency and productivity in their workplace.

Watching TV at work? Sign me up.

This week’s Envoy Office Hack is brought to you by the creative minds at Mozilla, the makers of Firefox.

Alright, you may not be able to watch your favourite series with this hack — but what you can see through Mozilla’s TV Hack will be relevant to who and where you are around the office.

And Mozilla, being Mozilla, designed this TV hack to be open-source, of course.

It all started when two TVs were mounted on a wall at Mozilla’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Developers were tasked to “do something interesting” with them… so they created a centralized server called Corsica to feed customized content to its screens.

What type of content, you ask?

First came lunch menus, then commuter times, then helpful company metrics all updated in real-time.

“I started kind of just scratching my own itches: what’s for lunch, what’s the drive time if I wanted to leave for San Francisco right now from the Mountain View office…” Matt Claypotch, Developer Relations, Mozilla

All Mozilla TVs aren’t the same though. Each screen (and there are plenty) is designed to display content suited to its surrounding space.

“There’s nothing worst than having flashing puppy GIFs out of the corner of your eye when you’re trying to code.” Matt Claypotch, Developer Relations, Mozilla

For instance, if you’re in the engineering pod you might see currently reported Firefox bugs and crashes splashed across the screens.

Current job openings and referral links are visible in the recruitment pod.

In the kitchen, where the the atmosphere is more casual, you can watch cute puppy GIFs.

As the project grew, more and more people made suggestions on the type of content they’d like to see on the screens… and things evolved accordingly. Many people were even trained on how to program the screens themselves.

“I want people to feel empowered to change the office around them, sort of terra-form the environment so that it supports them working well in whatever way that is.” Chris Lonnen, Engineering Manager, Mozilla

The result? Must-see Mozilla TV that creates more knowledgeable and engaged employees.

“It really closes that feedback loop when everyone is seeing the same numbers. Everyone gets to participate in this analysis and doesn’t have to wait until something is boiled down to a report.” Matt Claypotch, Developer Relations, Mozilla


How to hack it

If you want to hack empathic screens for your office, Mozilla has made its process available through open-source software.

Total Cost: Starts at $145.

Happy viewing!

Listen & Subscribe

You can listen to the full story in the Envoy Office Hacks podcast. Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes — just click here and hit ‘subscribe.’