From fax machines to smartphones, business is constantly adapting to new technology. Here, Phil Jones looks at the technologies that will emerge in the future
Some of the most significant changes that technology has delivered in the last three decades have been in the field of productivity and communication.
Thirty years ago, business was all about the importance of relationships, getting in cars and having human "facetime", with the paperwork being dealt with later.
If someone was out of the office, they were effectively out of contact. Sending documents was a slow and cumbersome affair.
The fax machine and email were two of the big technology breakthroughs which facilitated faster business, ironically both now being seen as yesterday’s tech. Now we have mobile phones, tablets, web-conferencing and social networks.
Communication is instantaneous, simple and cheap. We can transmit documents, videos and images anywhere in the world, instantly and at no cost. You need never be out of reach (unless you want to be, of course).
The world of work has changed profoundly in the last 30 years and it will continue to change over the next 30.
Machines will perform mundane tasks, currently the responsibility of humans Augmented reality will become much more significant as network bandwidth increases. We are already seeing
experiments with hologram-like technology in the entertainment business and this will spread into office life, allowing us to send replicas of ourselves into virtual business meetings.
Equally, we will consume information on the move in this way through wearable displays which will push connectedness to a new level, hyper-tasking our way to a new reality.
Technology will enable to you to work really effectively with people anywhere in the world, as if you are virtually in the room with them, presenting immense opportunity for collaboration and new market development. This will take mobile working to a different place altogether.
These are technologies that are in development now and over the next 30 years will become commercial products and part of accepted human behaviour. Many of the developments will unambiguously improve our lives but others may be uncomfortable and hard to deal with in some of their aspects. Take robotics, for example. There is no doubt that, 30 years from now, machines will be performing many mundane tasks that are currently the responsibility of human beings. That may free us from drudgery, but it may also pose difficult questions, not just for business, but for society as a whole.
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Category: Personal Finance