The potential of modern technology took center stage across the world when the pandemic struck. Whether it was medical research, public infrastructure, industries or our workplaces – modern technology more than just saved the day, it has shown us the way forward. The ways of working have changed, and enterprises are preparing for a future that’s even more technology-dependent than ever before.
To take a reflective approach, driving value from workplace technologies and, more importantly, IT flexibility has become a top priority since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic thrust the world into a time of unprecedented disruption and dramatic workforce changes. As organizations have endured shutdowns, layoffs, furloughs—their IT needs have fluctuated over a short period. With this global disruption, organizations realized they needed new kinds of IT tools and workplace technologies to support the vast number of professionals around the world shifting to remote work arrangements.
Since our workplaces will have these never-done-before social distancing practices, reduced hours/days in the office, remote workers and hybrid collaborations; companies will need to leverage emerging technologies that can equip their office spaces with the right capabilities to engage and connect their workforce productively.
Cloud capabilities: Native and hybrid cloud services offer opportunities to lower overhead costs while simultaneously optimizing your work procedures. Cloud-friendly document-sharing and collaboration tools such as One Drive for business have become effective substitutes for older options that provided only a fraction of similar services. Similarly, since the workforce has access to every tool, document and resource they need for their job, cloud services make remote work more of a possibility than ever before. This allows enterprises to save on operational expenses like rent by eliminating the amount of physical space needed for on-site staff – a major concern these days.
Artificial intelligence (AI): Around 60% of C-level executives surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value said they believe in artificial intelligence becoming a valuable asset for their workforces. Due to their broad use-cases, AI-powered tools can suit a host of needs and fill many productivity gaps that organizations may be experiencing. From estimating the likelihood of generating leads in a campaign, developing workplace policies to rapidly reviewing CVs, artificial intelligence has the potential to optimize your task flow from low-level issues so you can be more efficient with higher priority issues and projects. Artificial intelligence is also proven to remove subjective biases that people subconsciously express in their decisions, workplace policies and judgements.
Blockchain: Given that blockchain is a perfect vehicle for sharing data securely, its role in the workplace looks promising. Many institutions are starting to implement blockchain-based data storage on a wider scale. Deloitte’s global blockchain survey conducted in 2020 showed the growing significance of blockchain among CEOs. Organizations believe that blockchain is now a core aspect to stay competitive in the market, as claimed by 83% of the answers in the survey. 55% of respondents claimed that blockchain is necessary for future growth compared to 53% in 2019. From 2019 to 2020, the enterprise that has introduced blockchain has almost doubled. Other evolving use cases of blockchain include securing classified documents, title transfer and protection, and even a more efficient voting system. Blockchain is also being used to track and manage shipping systems.
Mixed and Augmented Reality: The use-case associated with AR technology is visualizing information using AR-enabled devices. Such AR technology will enable the user, for instance, to fix a problem by looking at prompts digitally overlaid over a physical entity. AR-enabled devices have helped industrial workforces visualize everything from entire structures to specific components during the construction process, providing real-time, contextual data. Team members can communicate with anyone using AR technology for help in completing a project via live-streamed audio-visuals from a remote location to an office-based colleague for their expertise or resources, so they can perform tasks together. AR coupled with IoT technologies can provide trainees with immersive sessions as a hands-on way of learning skills and tasks without leaving their work environment.
IoT: Covid-19 has forced businesses to bolster their employee safety standards to protect against an unseen foe, and IoT technologies will play an important role in keeping people safe. IoT technologies will power things like touchless offices and smart social distancing in the future. One of the best uses of the Internet of Things is for predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance involves keeping track of everything from building systems, hardware, office furniture, and various technologies, especially in today’s hybrid workplace. IoT technology makes it easier to track and get to-the-minute data on how each asset is performing.
Technology will continue to play a leading role in the transformation of office spaces, their predictive maintenance and the rise of the hybrid workplace. As enterprises proceed to create workplace policies around the future of remote work strategy, they must pay attention to the emerging technology trends that may potentially power the next workplace of the future.