UC, game-changing technologies to bring “work to the worker”

UC, game-changing technologies to bring “work to the worker”
This article first appeared on Best in UC. In less than a decade, the workplace could look completely different. And unified communications (UC) may be the key to ensuring smooth, consistent communication in companies that embrace the new workplace model. Consider the initial findings of CoreNet Global’s comprehensive look at the workplace, Corporate Real Estate 2020. The study shows that technology is radically changing the nature of work. In addition to collaboration and unified communications, the study points to advances such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biometric security, sensor-driven smart buildings and more. The survey of 200 executives predicted that “bring your own technology” (BYOT), also known as “bring your own device” or BYOD, will impact the size and design of the corporate office. Fewer square feet will be needed per employee, and workplaces such as cubicles and personal offices will be replaced by open, collaborative spaces. “BYOT is happening now,” according to Corporate Real Estate 2020 Technology Team member Keith Perske of E-Business Strategies. “Corporations cannot keep up with personal technology, so the next step is already happening.” The shift implies a change for corporate information technology (IT) departments, whose long-standing role of providing computing power for companies will migrate to the cloud. This is already resulting in a new emphasis on enabling mobility and other forms of flexible work, as well as increasing the IT interface with corporate real estate executives who often manage alternative workplace strategies. “Cloud computing is about to be replaced by ‘always-networked’ personal devices with near-infinite memory,” Perske said. While Corporate Real Estate 2020 participants consider the BYOT concept to be predictable, they regard cloud replacement as a revolutionary change to come. Another revolutionary concept, unified communications, will enable cloud replacement and BYOT. It’s all about the integration of voice, data, graphic and video for the first time in a single device. “It’s fast becoming collaboration in the pocket,” Perske said. “One day soon, it will take the form of wearable technology.” Industry experts also identified several “game changing” workplace and technology forces that will pronounce themselves by 2020 and that go beyond being revolutionary. One of them is biometric-based security. “Technology security will become biometric,” Perske said. “Security poses real issues in the distributed work environments which many companies have adopted to increase productivity, collaboration and innovation.” These and other outcomes, such as the use of predictive technologies to more effectively forecast future demand for office space, are also linked to intelligent infrastructure and smart buildings. They will tend to be smaller in scale yet provide a competitive advantage in terms of virtual teams and collaboration with multiple stakeholders. “Smarter and smaller” are the terms defining these changes. They are framing the concept of “globally networked enterprises.” “In tomorrow’s world, work will go to people; people won’t necessarily go to work,” says Corporate Real Estate 2020 Workplace Team member Steve Hargis of HOK. “But that won’t diminish the importance of place, because people, and companies, need human interaction to thrive.”

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