We recently reviewed 7 predictions for the workplace of the future - changes that we are likely to see in business communications over the coming year, which look set to change the way we work in 2015 and beyond.
In summary, the workplace of the future will be about HOW we work rather than WHERE. The technology to support virtual workplaces is there now, but there are 5 important innovations that we foresee having an even greater impact on collaboration by virtual meetings.
1. The Workplace/Internet of Things
The concept of the “Workplace of Things” spurs from the idea that workers around the world are becoming increasingly mobile, and that the work environment itself is smarter than ever. At least one-third of employees in the U.S. and Europe are considered “virtual”—meaning they work from home or on the road most or all of the time (Frost & Sullivan). Meanwhile, next-generation technologies such as augmented reality and the “Internet of Things” are expected to accelerate employee efficiency and productivity, allowing people to work and collaborate anytime, anywhere.
By 2020, the number of physical objects connected to the Internet will grow to 50 billion and the long-term economic opportunity of “The Internet of Things” is estimated to be between $10-15 trillion. The Internet of Things — sometimes referred to as the “Industrial Internet” or machine-to-machine communication — will facilitate video communication by making it easier and more natural for people to interact with the tools and objects of the physical world.
2. Wearable Technology
Currently best exemplified by Google Glass, Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Project Morpheus—wearable technology will grow from sales of 10 million units in 2014 to 100 million units by 2018. These devices will increasingly integrate video. Google Glass, for example, has a new app that allows users to broadcast what they are seeing, which currently has application in hospitals and energy companies to educate students and engage workers in innovative ways. Oculus Rift is being employed by companies such as Tesla to radically transform how industrial components are designed and manufactured.
3. Higher Video Resolution
UltraHD (4K) and higher video resolution continues to improve in terms of price, quality and performance. As it does, we will see more users migrate to video collaboration as a means working together efficiently and effectively across the globe. Continued software advances will also increase the number and type of devices (e.g. PCs, tablet, smartphones, wearables, virtual reality tools, etc.) that can accommodate video conferencing.
4. Global Internet Access
Within the next six years it is expected that 1000 nanosatellites and 30,000 drones are to be launched. In combination with other ambitious projects such as Project Loon—Google’s plan to deploy a network of high-altitude balloons to help deliver high-speed Internet access—it is well within the realm of possibility that by 2020, all 7-plus billion inhabitants on the planet will have the ability to use video communications.
5. A Complete Shift in Mind-Set
An old Chinese adage claims “The periphery is the new centre.”
No longer is the physical workplace the centre of work. The new centre is wherever the worker is located—be it in their home, local coffee shop or out in the field on the “periphery” with a customer. Organisations must steer away from yesterday’s old mind-sets and toward tomorrow’s emerging realities. In the workplace, video is shifting the meaning of the business meeting room. The meeting room of the future will no longer necessarily be a physical location. New and improved unified communications tools are making it possible to conduct ad-hoc meetings anywhere, anytime.
We are likely to see a complete paradigm shift not just in the workplace but in the way we communicate in general, as smartphones, tablets and wearable devices proliferate, and as ever more sensors and location devices are installed in—and on—physical objects. This is leading to a mind-set of “Connected Intelligence.” In a world of 50 billion connected devices and objects the world is going to become hyper-connected and very intelligent, and the way in which workers interact with customers, colleagues, products, machines and their physical environment will be transformed.
These are just 5 of our predictions for how technology will change the way we work. Download our free eBook Revolutionising the Future Workplace, and learn more about how the workplace of the future will be transformed by the growth in video collaboration.
Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos