Could you imagine doing your job today using a typewriter? The question may sound absurd, but this is exactly how we’ll think about the tools we currently use, decades from now.
Technology has fueled our constant search for a better way to do things. From the first microcomputer to the latest tablet, the tools we use every day to conduct work have changed considerably—and the change is not slowing down anytime soon.
So, what will become the new norm in the years to come?
Here are three tools that will redefine how we work.
Voice is taking over
From keyboard and mouse—the ultimate tag team in computing—to touchscreen tap and scrolling, we’ve come a long way in how we interact and work. However, in our never-ending search for convenience, even touchscreen interfaces are beginning to seem old as we replace them with voice-activated alternatives.
There has been a rapid increase in the adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants in this past year. In fact, by the end of 2018, 5.7 million Australians owned a smart speaker. In the world of business, 91% of decision-makers globally are investing in voice assistants with voice commerce a top objective, according to an Adobe survey.
Personal home assistants led the charge of voice-activated appliances, but the technology is swiftly expanding to all manner of devices and applications. From voice payments to better connections between brands and consumers, voice technology will have a huge impact on business.
5G will lay the foundation of the next digital revolution
1G phones allowed us to talk to each other on the move, 2G allowed us to send text messages, 3G gave us the mobile internet, and 4G made it all so much faster. In fact, 4G is the reason we’re able to stream music, watch live TV on the go, and video call each other today. But all that is about to get even faster with 5G— which is some 12 times faster than Australia’s NBN today.
Two-thirds of organisations intend to deploy 5G technology by 2020, according to Gartner.
5G massively accelerates the data transmission speeds generated from a 4G network, and is set to release a surge of innovation, giving rise to a wave of new possibilities for businesses. For example, 5G could very well be the missing piece of the autonomous vehicle puzzle because it is fast enough to support the ability for machines to react with human-like reflexes.
Moreover, fusing 5G with AI will super-scale the Internet of Things (IoT), making true smart cities a reality. The number of proposed smart city applications continues to grow, but only a handful of these are a reality. 5G will support a larger adoption of these technologies at scale in diverse areas such as traffic management, waste management, supply chain control, health management, and smart education.
Out of the cloud and to the edge
IDC forecasts the growth in connected IoT devices (41.6 billion) is expected to generate 79.4 zettabytes of data in 2025.
That quantum of data is going to require a lot more computing power and intelligence to overcome the latency imposed by the internet’s many on/off ramps. Enter edge computing, the next networking philosophy focused on computing at the source of data rather than over a long distance, reducing latency and bandwidth use.
Geo-distributed machine learning (GDML)—or artificial intelligence on the edge—will enable organisations to meet governance challenges presented by the rise in IoT devices and the data they produce in geographically diverse places. At a national level, GDML can solve country-specific regulatory challenges around data sovereignty by auditing data stored at regional data centres.
Additionally, combining edge capabilities with 5G transmission rates of 10 gigabits per second will enhance streaming of everything from music and video, to virtual and augmented reality, giving rise to a whole new set of possibilities.
Technology will continue to redefine how we work. Voice will enable contactless and frictionless interactions. 5G will supercharge technologies like AI and IoT. Edge computing will allow businesses to optimise their infrastructure to better support these technologies.
The tools of the future are close, and it’s time for businesses to get ready to harness them.