by Naomi Brooker
July 9th, 2015

I was the last of my friends to get an iPhone. Our IT department is on my speed dial. And while I’m lucky enough to work alongside some of the smartest digital brains at Weber Shandwick, I still have to triple check the pronunciation of gif, cache and meme.

Despite this, I am fascinated by the advancements of tech around the world. My jaw still drops at the thought of robots being integrated into the workplace. So when a colleague shared this report with me about the 2020 technology landscape, I was intrigued.

The report identified some astonishing predictions. From the extinction of the phrase ‘How are you?’ to insurance companies having a heavily incentivised 24/7/365 picture of your health, here is a snapshot of what we’ll be seeing in the next five years:

There will be a dramatic increase to work and life efficiency, through the uniting of robots and humans. On average, workers are losing large amounts of productive time because of unnecessary emails (1.2 hours a day), ineffective meetings (1.6 hours a day) and interruptions (2 hours a day). Quantified work – a data-driven approach to improve employee engagement and business performance – will be like having a confidential executive assistant. The personal quantified self-movement will use fitness-tracking wearable tech and mobile apps to improve fitness and health, where worker will have continuous mood, focus, interaction and productivity feedback.

There will be a reinvention of privacy through wearable tech. This will be driven by the healthcare industry obtaining personal health information, as well as the retail and finance industries obtaining personal finance information. In addition, we’ll see computers recognise faces better than people through contextual computing.

There will be an onslaught of tech for good. Wearables are being designed to help the blind using sonar to acoustically (range sensing wrist band and creating a 3-D soundscape of the environment) or haptically (vibration) tell them how to avoid collisions and which way to go. This report even predicts that the question “Are you OK?” will become archaic, because we’ll already know the answer through tech connectedness.

Drones will deliver us medicine and be prepped to fight wars. According to Forbes, consumer drones are expected to reach $102 million in 2015 (a 49% growth over last year) and some are already delivering medicine to villages around the world. To plan for swarming boat threats, the U.S. Navy tested the success of drones. The result? Approximately $5,000 of weaponised drones was able to beat a convoy of armoured vehicles.

There’s no ignoring the rapid tech advancements around the world, but what does it mean for how we work and play? The most glaring constant is that everything will get quicker. From working to driving, and Friday night pizza deliveries to checking in on our elderly parents or grandparents, inefficiencies will be minimised dramatically.

Surely this means more time to sit back and relax, right? With Aussie work/life balance on the decline, here’s hoping we use the time wisely.

By Naomi Brooker, Account Director at Weber Shandwick / Creation Australia.

 

 

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