Innovative technologies are set to create a new workplace approach, with improved flexibility, digitalisation, performance and efficiency
A year of global pandemic has transformed many lives, both in the long and short term. With any complex change such as this, there are positive and negative factors at hand. As the pandemic has progressed, society has had the opportunity to learn and advance.
When restrictions were initially implemented a year ago, few could have predicted what the outcome would be. It is important to recognise what individuals have learned about working since social distancing became necessary, as well as how ready they were to digitalise daily tasks and trust a completely virtual environment. The urgency to adapt has altered our working habits at an unbelievable speed – and it is unlikely that anything can be done to reverse this.
Technology as an ally
Pre-pandemic, there was a lot of competition between technologies, particularly with artificial intelligence (AI)-based robotisation. The workplace has become increasingly shaped around humans, as opposed to the specific tasks those humans had to perform, as in the past. How technology affects and improves the experience is an essential part – offices are a combination of physical and virtual elements, integrated and seamless environments in which daily tasks are performed. The co-operation between humans and AIs is central to the new workplace concept, one that can take advantage of wearable and implantable devices.
The physical portion
For some jobs, the physical presence of employees is unavoidable. That said, the pandemic has proven that there are a huge number of roles which have transportable physical elements. Among these elements, the role of AI-based robots will become increasingly important. Human and robot co-operation enables employees to be technologically and psychologically supported during the working activity, and enhances effectiveness, efficiency and the digitalisation of tasks. The worker and the robot can be either located in the same place, or organised to cover the fixed physical portion of the workplace, according to the needs of the specific activity.
Connectivity is key
The most impactful element of the new workplace approach is the virtual domain. This enables vastly increased data-storage capability, five-sense-based interactions and augmented presence of co-workers and experts, thanks to cloud, hyper-connectivity and hologram technologies. Connectivity is a major enabler here, as it allows the integration between fixed physical, transportable physical and virtual components in a distributed workspace concept. It is based on the availability of broad coverage, low latency, high speed, capacity, security and reliable and flexible connectivity infrastructures. Software-defined paradigms are allies to both networking and storage and data centres in achieving this.
The new workplace approach puts humans at the core of each job by using the most advanced technologies to shape the workplace around the worker. This evolutionary pattern will create a workplace with improved flexibility, digitalisation, performance and efficiency of daily tasks, resulting in a society able to take full advantage of the continuous progress of both connectivity and robotisation technologies.