Technological advances have always had a major impact on the enterprise. Over the past 30 years computers have gone from our desks to our pockets and are now even finding their way onto our wrists and faces.
Typewriters, mainframe computers, desktop computers, laptops, the Internet, PDAs, smartphones and many other technologies, have all led to vast changes and improvements to business operations. We’re currently undergoing another big shift in the back-end of business technology, with the continued rise of the Cloud, big data and cognitive computing.
At the front end, the number of computing devices we use is on the rise, with many people having a smartphone (or two), a tablet and laptop or desktop computer. Each of these technologies have had a big impact on the way in which business is done and how businesses operate.
Devices and technology alone aren’t enough though. They need to be used in a joined up, strategic way to deliver real value. This is something that IBM and Apple are hoping to deliver through their partnership. Their collaboration demonstrates the importance of bringing together big data, the cloud and apps that focus on driving productivity and efficiency for employees.
As the number and variety of devices we use continue to rise, it’s important that business leaders look at how to support and enable employees and the technology they use.
Whilst smartphones and tablets have put technology into the hands of more workers and helped to improve business workflows, there are many jobs which will find wearable technology particularly beneficial.
Hands-free devices will help to transform the workplace for many professionals, such as builders, field engineers, doctors, retail staff and emergency responders. In the healthcare industry surgeons are already testing Google Glass. This allows medical surgeons to record procedures for training purposes, as well as providing access to patient information or data, such as patient vitals, without having to look away to the monitor.
With this technology comes new challenges for CIOs with more devices coming into the business environment. It will be down to companies to look at understanding the value that wearables can bring. The good news is that many companies will just need to extend their current apps to support wearables. The challenge will be understanding the best way for users to engage on small screens.
Virgin Atlantic is one company that has already run trials with Google Glass to enhance their customers’ check-in process and overall customer experience. Other companies have also been exploring how to integrate wearable technology into their operations.
By 2019 it is estimated that the wearable devices market will reach $18 billion. With the market set to grow so quickly, planning for these new devices and thinking about mobile strategy over the next 5 years is important.
The rise of the multi-device landscape means that people will often start working on a document, email or other task on one device, but want to finish it on another. Apple, Microsoft and Google have all sought to address the way in which people use their devices, by introducing continuity features. With Apple having complete control over its hardware and software has seen the company introduce this feature first, allowing users to jump from device to device seamlessly.
Apple has opened this feature up to developers to enable them to build continuity features into apps, making it easier for users to continue exactly where they left off with minimal effort.
With Android Lollipop, Google has also created a way for Android apps to run on Chrome OS.
Continuity style features will become one of the most seamless ways to interact with wearables, making it far easier to reply to an email from your phone after seeing it on your wrist.
The rise of cloud computing has gone hand in hand with the rise of smartwatches and tablets. As people move from device to device, being able to remotely access files provides huge benefits to users.
The cloud helps to offload much of the strain on device storage space, by providing extra virtual space. From a computational perspective, the cloud is utilised to push much of the processing off devices.
With much effort for large technology companies to dominate the cloud arena, IBM and Microsoft have recently formed an enterprise partnership to integrate their respective cloud solutions to increase the use of its software and cloud-hosting services from business customers.
These are just some of the ways in which technology is impacting the way people work. Cloud, mobile and continuity are three important buzzwords on businesses’ technology agenda. It’s important that companies understand the opportunities and risks to make sure they are not left behind.