Guest Blog by Brian Mackow-McGuire, Product Manager – Voice and Data, Maintel
The world is changing so quickly that it’s difficult to know what life will be like next year – let alone in a decade’s time. If we think back to ten years ago, how many of us would have predicted the ubiquity of then-nascent technologies such as smartphones and apps, or the way we have built our lives around them. How, then, can we accurately predict what technology will be like in 2030?
As Nobel laureate Nils Bohr points out, prediction is very difficult – especially when it’s about the future. But while only a fool would make firm and fast forecasts about what technology will look like in 2030, we can still trace a few likely paths of progression from today.
A virtual working world
According to PwC, there are four possible future worlds driven by mega trends of technological advancements. All of these four possible futures are united under one overarching prediction: that technology will increasingly be used to assist, augment and replace human work by 2030.
It’s overwhelmingly likely that one of the principal ways workers will experience this change is through virtual meetings. By 2030, instead of firing up a laptop and logging on to the corporate network, the whole experience will have evolved. Developments in virtual reality (VR) mean that it will be possible to put on a headset regardless of your location, activate iris recognition and open up the gateway to the new ‘office’. The goal for 2030 will be to ensure that teams can join a virtual meeting space reserved for a team brainstorm so that the colleagues you once interacted with in person will now appear in their avatar forms.
How will this work?
To make this virtual world a reality by 2030, businesses will be required to embrace and invest in wearable technologies. Employees entering a virtual meeting space will be required to put on their VR headsets, bringing the office into view and allowing the employee to look around the virtual meeting space.
However, there will be certain limitations to this way of working. For example, although we should be aiming to join meetings via wearable tech including watches, joining without wearing a headset would mean taking part via audio only, with no visuals. This means the experience will be less immersive and the ability to benefit from voice commands will be hindered.
To ensure employees are engaged in their environments, businesses should ensure they have the equipment in place for employees to join with visuals. Voice command technology will also allow an employee to simply say the word “action” in order to assign an individual an action which will be sent straight to their own app which is connected to the meeting room. The benefits of sending actions straight to an employee’s own device are second to none in improving efficiency, productivity and organisational procedures.
Making the vision a reality by 2030
Another hurdle is that these technologies rely on the development and convergence of several different industries, including battery power, haptic receptors, compute processing capability and network connectivity.
To be able to implement these technologies over the next decade, organisations will need to examine and analyse successful change management and technology introductions from the past decade to apply these lessons to future projects. For example, over the past decade cloud service providers have become much more commonplace, with many business building IT strategy and delivery around cloud-delivered applications, infrastructure and platforms.
Each business will also be required to move its learning and development and knowledge management tools online. In doing so, they can ensure that everyone in the organisation becomes comfortable and familiar with what an online learning environment looks like, with the confidence to navigate online portals at ease. However, ultimately, the development of an organisational culture depends on its ability to adapt to change.
To achieve the vision of a virtual office by 2030, it is vital that organisations learn to embrace and adapt to change quickly. This means investing in the latest wearable technologies and equipping employees with the right tools needed for the full experience. There’s a lot of work to be done, but if we look at where we were ten years ago compared to where we are now, then anything is possible.