05 Aug Smarter devices driving better ways of working
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has said that Apple has an incredible pipeline of products that it cannot wait to show us. He certainly caught my imagination as smart and connected devices have become central to our work and home lives.
I thought that it would be interesting to speculate a little about what he might be referring to, remembering, of course, that it is not just Apple in this space. At Ricoh, for example, we all use our Windows phones to keep connected with work on the move, ensuring everything is running smoothly and efficiently.
The majority of people view their smartphones and tablets as extra limbs and are unable to live without them. In Ireland, we particularly love our smartphones with penetration currently at 57% of the population which is well ahead of most countries. Although there’s no lack of demand around the world either with smartphone ownership globally predicted to reach a staggering 3 billion by 2017.
Demand is exploding as people and businesses are continually looking for better ways to communicate and work. Mobile device manufacturers are responding all the time with more new devices and more innovative and appealing features.
Apple for example is responding to a shift in consumer taste towards bigger-screen smartphones. The next iPhone is already being nicknamed as The Phablet by industry analysts. It is expected to have a screen size of 4.7 inches. It, or its successor, the iPhone 7 may even have wireless charging capabilities.
In the meantime, Samsung has filed a patent for a stylus that communicates with a smart phone through ultrasound which would offer more accurate note-taking capabilities in a slimmer, less expensive device.
Another evolution is the increase in the popularity of wearable technologies, such as smart watches and computerised glasses like Google Glass. Technologies like these are predicted to reach worldwide sales of 64 million units within the next three years.
This desire for ever improving and dynamic technologies is clearly demonstrated in our recent research which found that 78% of workers said they expected their workplace to be transformed by previously unimagined technology developments. This includes 69% predicting there will be touch-based interactive devices, 60% who believe that there will be the ability to perform all tasks by voice recognition and 56% who envision the use of augmented reality glasses.
Whether or not these technologies become a reality is open to question but businesses need to be fully prepared for a much more technology-led and mobile working environment.
One thing we can be sure of is that smart devices are evolving all the time. They are becoming more intuitive and more connected as consumers, employees and businesses all continue to look for more convenient and flexible ways of communicating and working.
The most successful firms of the future will fully embrace the opportunities being created by new devices and new ways of working. They will also have the most effective platforms, processes and support in place to safeguard ever-increasing numbers of documents created over ever-increasing numbers of devices. They can provide their employees with the freedom to work smartly from any location, with the peace of mind that all security and compliance regulations are being adhered to.
Amidst all the eager anticipation and speculation surrounding the next generation of smart devices, it’s reassuring to know that we will be able to take full advantage of them inside and outside the workplace.