Ready or not, the future is here. Technology is freeing us from our desks to work anywhere, at anytime.
In a Future Workplace study, 76 percent of respondents believe work is no longer just where you are; it’s what you get done. Driving this belief are generational changes in the workplace experience, both physically and in the tools and technologies used.
Smart Business spoke with Stephan J. Cico, managing director of All Covered Pittsburgh, IT services from Konica Minolta, about the tools and technologies that will affect the future of productivity.
Office management technologies
New office management technologies make the office smarter. Virtual visitor management systems offer a range of options, even helping forgo full-time staff to manage the front desk. Meeting scheduling tools connect people, keep meetings on track, increase collaboration and streamline how meetings are conducted.
Internet of things
In the office, an interconnected system saves time and increases productivity. Desktop and mobile devices can connect to appliances and sensors, in and out of the workplace.
Consider this: You schedule a presentation from your tablet at home. Your tech, alerted via smartphone, fixes the printer’s low toner so your materials can print. In the meeting room, printed copies await, the audiovisual equipment is set up and the smart coffee machine has brewed coffee. The gadgets communicate, the appropriate parties are notified and all your needs are met.
Advanced collaborative tools
Advanced collaborative tools manage workflow and provide real-time access to important documents — no matter where you are, or what time of day. Cloud-based document management applications like SharePoint provide a secure place to store, organize and share information.
Mobility is more than a remote workforce; it’s about giving employees the tools to succeed. Employees want to use their own devices to access company information and applications. A Bring Your Own Device policy can increase productivity and realize savings, but controlling and scaling mobile usage is critical. Mobile device management can manage devices from a single console, update devices remotely and ensure the safety of your network.
Also, distributed computing or virtual desktop infrastructure allows companies to run applications in the cloud, fully replicating a work desktop experience from any device.
Customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI)
These sales analytic tools help you leverage data to grow your business. BI takes large volumes of data and analyzes it into insightful information that can predict future conditions. CRM tracks marketing and sales data, reporting on what’s working and what’s not. It helps build better customer relationships through targeted campaigning.
The opportunities are limitless. Robots can aid remote medical procedures or underwater ship maintenance. They can carry warehouse items so workers avoid strain or injury. And drone delivery is just a form of robotics automation.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is still being shaped. An AI system simulates human thought as it mines massive amounts of data. Today, AI applications can adjust marketing campaigns based on a target group’s signals, but someday AI may help doctors predict a heart attack before a patient feels it.
3-D printing is being fully integrated into the smart workplace to increase efficiency, boost productivity and impact profits. Car parts, smartphone cases, fashion accessories and even jet engines are being printed today. Plus, research and technology companies are developing quick prototypes affordably.
At the center of this is security. Security in this environment is incredibly challenging, yet paramount. Companies must have a comprehensive strategy, because for all the great opportunity these technologies afford, there is also great risk.
Insights Technology is brought to you by All Covered Pittsburgh