A big themeso far this year has seen analysts from all corners of the tech industry placing their bets on what 2015 will mean to enterprises.
In a blog post, Russell Craig, national technology officer for Microsoft New Zealand, has offered his views on what New Zealand offices will look like not it 2015, but in 2040.
“With all the amazing technology that’s been developed over the past century, we’ve still not managed to invent a crystal ball to see what the business world will look like in 25 years’ time,” he says. “If we did, I expect it would become the bestselling gadget of all time.”
Craig says, “three dramatic technological shifts have occurred in the last couple of years which – if their global surge is anything to go by – provide us with a clear window on what the future of business may look like.”
• The way that people use technology has evolved
Mobile and touch devices are becoming the norm for employees, rather than desktop computers.
As we continue to pursue lives with greater connectedness and mobility across multiple screens and devices, there will be an equal sea-change in understanding of our workplaces as flexible entities. Office “locations” may become a thing of the past, as telecommuting truly comes into its own.
• The overwhelming shift in the business world into the cloud
No longer are we dependent solely on local hardware capability for storage or compute power, but can utilise the power of the cloud. This will precipitate a business environment where it is increasingly easy to do business on a global scale.
Equally, doing business in such an ‘always on, always connected’ world will present certain challenges, but also many new opportunities, both at home and abroad.
• The 3D printing revolution
Although still in its early development stages, this new technology will redefine how we manufacture and distribute goods.
As the technology continues to improve to the point where we can print a component instead of ordering one made elsewhere, the focus for many businesses will become exporting IP, rather than physical goods.
Of course, this will also have a significant impact on our current manufacturing industries, and the jobs that currently exist in those sectors may not in 25 years.
Craig says for New Zealand business, these shifts in technology will converge with shifts in population. “Forecasts suggest that by 2040, half the population of New Zealand will be located in Auckland, and even more connected than we are now, as the ‘internet of everything’ continues to advance,” he says.
“Similarly, indications now are that New Zealand’s Asian population will continue to increase significantly. This will parallel with greater trade engagement with our neighbouring Asian countries, even at the SME level, as the cloud continues to break down old paradigms of compute capability across business sectors. Meanwhile, markets like Africa will be opening up even more as economic growth expands.”
“There’s no doubt that such dramatic change will be incredibly disruptive,” Craig says. “However, New Zealanders are without doubt some of the smartest, most connected citizens on the planet. As a people we are true competitors on a global scale, frequently punching above our weight in both productivity and innovation.”
He continues, “Microsoft New Zealand’s vision for business is closely aligned with this perception. We are passionate about driving innovation, education and our local partner network to grow New Zealand businesses, connect Kiwis to what matters to them, and compete on the world stage.”
“Compared to other countries, Kiwis are adopting our Office 365 and Azure cloud services at a much faster rate along with new devices like Xbox One, Surface and Windows Phone growing triple digits year on year,” Craig says.
“In a world where people are constantly attuned to the latest technological developments for enhancing their lives and business, Microsoft is taking the lead in innovating for effective solutions that will continue to build on New Zealand’s track record of success now and into the future.
“For those Kiwi businesses that can embrace the technological shifts towards a flexible, mobile workforce, empowered by cloud solutions with devices to enable them to work better and faster, the future of business in New Zealand is certainly bright.”