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Europe’s workforce gears up for the era of drones, carrier nodes and hologram business meetings


By 2036 workplaces in Europe will have been transformed by technology and processes that do not even exist today, according to eight in ten employees. New research commissioned by Ricoh Europe* and conducted by Coleman Parkes challenges forward-thinking workers to envisage their future work environment – and it’s one that is more interactive, collaborative and streamlined as a result of new technology and the processes that underpin innovative ways of working.

The findings reveal widespread eagerness to use new technologies – in a relatively short period of time – that can enhance and simplify how employees interact with colleagues and information. Employees from industries such as financial services, healthcare, education and the public sector show strong foresight when considering the innovations set to arrive within the next 10 to 22 years. More than half expect that within the next decade their employers will have made the following innovations readily available to them:

  • Touch-based interactive devices (69 per cent)
  • The ability to perform all tasks by voice recognition (60 per cent)
  • Augmented reality glasses (56 per cent)

They also predict that within the next 20 years they will be able to send virtual assistants or holograms (59 per cent) to attend meetings on their behalf. When pressed to think even more boldly, they consider the next batch of innovations to include drones, Bluetooth from brain-to-brain, and carrier nodes (small devices fitted to the ear that allow audio and video data to be transmitted directly to the brain as electronic signals).

When it comes to identifying the top benefits of a tech evolved workplace, employees give equal rating to optimising core business processes, better access to information and the ability to get their job done faster. This indicates that the core requirements for productive working today – digitised processes, the ability to view and use data when required, and adapting quickly to technology-led change – will remain crucially important into the future.

Yet despite the widespread excitement and value placed in a tech evolved workplace, less than a third of employees (29 per cent) say their company has a strong appetite for creating new ways of working and deploying technologies to make the future a reality. In addition to missing an opportunity to drive productivity and enhance their competitive edge, companies that do not act today to build a more digital, agile workplace could risk losing key personnel to competitors or even not exist in the future. The research also shows that before organisations pursue the range of innovations on the horizon, there is significant scope to harness the advanced technology and relevant processes available today.

  • Internal collaboration platforms (first), web-based meetings (second) and follow-me printing (third) are the top three rated systems that employees currently do not use, but want to, in order to make their job more valuable today
  • Electronically stored information remains the most valuable technology capability, beyond email and Internet, for today’s employees
  • Although 62 per cent of respondents both use and find it valuable, one in six still desire but do not have access to digital information

David Mills, Chief Executive Officer at Ricoh Europe, says: “It’s exciting to think that the next two decades will bring innovations that not only drive productivity and competitive edge, but inspire employees to think ‘what’s next?’ and ‘how can it help me become more effective?’ This heightens the need for organisations to review and adapt their traditional ways of working today, paving a more agile path to benefit from future digital innovations. For some, this means a culture change. For all, this will allow them to flourish throughout the next 20 years and beyond. Who knows, when we come to the halfway point of the century it may well be our virtual representations rolling out the latest systems and processes while we work to further develop productivity, customer services and business profitability in ways we can’t yet imagine.”

For more insights into the impacts of technology lead change visit www.ricoh-europe.com/thoughtleadership

* Research conducted by Coleman Parkes Research, June 2014.

Full press release published on www.ricoh-europe.com




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