That we exist in an age of remarkable technological progress is obvious. Just how quickly technology is shaping and re-defining our everyday reality, though, can be hard to observe on a micro-level. Technology is actively reshaping how we live and — more significantly — how we work, both individually and as a team. Technology is aggressively changing the work place as we know it, and these are the innovative technology trends that will change professional practice in the near future.
The scale of information growth is reaching a level where humans simply cannot handle it without the aid of intelligent computers, and this is truer than ever in the workplace. AI could be a massive asset to companies struggling to manage their large amounts of data. Dr. Jim Hendler, director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Application, spoke of the possibilities for AI in the corporate work place:
“The natural convergence of AI and big data is a crucial emerging technology space… Increasingly, big businesses will need the AI technology to overcome the challenges or handle the speed with which information is changing in the current business environment.”
Artificial Intelligence is rapidly on the rise, with giants like Google and Facebook putting millions of dollars into AI companies. Though AI might seem like a distant, futuristic dream, it will be integrated into business practices before you know it.
In the span of a few years, 3D printing has gone from being a shock-factor type of technology that’s inaccessible to the vast majority of the public to an increasingly-popular and affordable new technology that has broken into the mainstream.
3D printing opens up a world of opportunity for businesses in many industries by allowing entrepreneurs to become their own manufacturers, giving them the ability to go straight from design to production, thereby eliminating the need for warehousing and changing how parts are distributed while reducing overall risk.
More significantly, 3D printing puts the power in the hands of the entrepreneur and lowers the threshold for new businesses to enter into a given market by allowing small businesses to prototype their designs and produce parts without capital investments, opening the door for innovations that were previously the exclusive domain of technology firms.
The Internet of Things
Any article you might stumble across detailing new technology trends is bound to mention the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and this article is no different. The ‘Internet of Things’ might sound like technical jargon or business buzzwords but the concept behind the Internet of Things has a profound impact on the business world.
Put very simply, the Internet of Things is the idea of connecting virtually any device that has an on/off switch to the internet, and then, by extension, connecting all those disparate devices to each other. The IoT is, therefore, a giant network of connected ‘things’ (including people). Essentially, all your separate gadgets and devices will (finally) all work together in harmony to streamline productivity and make everything you do much, much easier.
Forbes provided a promising example of how the Internet of Everything could affect your everyday life:
“Say for example you are on your way to a meeting; your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take. If the traffic is heavy your car might sent a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late.”
The IoT is a complex notion, but even this simplified explanation of the idea highlights just how significantly this technology could change your work life – and general life – for the better.
Picture this: your boss is out of town but wants to be present for a team meeting. She could audioconference in, yes. Or she could use videoconferencing and give a firmer illusion of ‘presence.’But wouldn’t it be even more effective if your boss conferenced in as a hologram?
The concept of appearing as a hologram presence in a meeting might seem like something out of The Matrix, but, in reality, this scenario could be possible in the not-so-distant future. Researchers at the University of Arizona have developed a new type of holographic presence that projects a three dimensional, full color moving image and spectators can see the image without any type of visual aid.
Taking holographic technology from science fiction into the corporate work place might seem strange but the possibilities are expansive. Holographic technology could be used for product demonstrations or advertising purposes, at conferences or even in day-to-day meetings around the office.
When you think of ‘virtual reality,’ I doubt maximizing your business productivity is the first possibility you think of. And while virtual reality undoubtedly holds great potential in the realm of entertainment, VR technology holds promising possibilities for business practices as well.
Laird Malamed, the COO at Oculus, an industry leader in VR technology, believes that VR can offer innovative new solutions to businesses:
“Imagine being in a product review with people from around the globe – your operations lead is at the manufacturing plant, your marketing head is visiting an ad agency, your product lead is at the R&D Lab and your CEO is at HQ. In VR you will be able to all be together and have the product in that virtual space.”
Though all these technological innovations may not end up being a vital part of your professional practices immediately, it’s easy to see how these groundbreaking technologies could have a profound impact on how we work. The technological landscape as we know it is rapidly transforming and these new tech innovations open up a world of possibilities for the corporate work place of the future.