Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:38

The workplace revolution: Holographic ‘people’, coffee by drone delivery, nano-robots

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Doing business in 25 years time might be radically different than the way we work now, with robots, holograms and drones all part of life at work and home in the brave new world of technology in 2040.

A coffee delivered to your office by drone and global conversations with ‘holographic people’ are all part of the workplace future we might experience by the time 2040 comes around, according to the newly published ‘Future of Business: Australia 2040’ report by accounting software provider MYOB.

MYOB’s future-forecasting Chief Technology Officer Simon Raik-Allen says technology will transform the way we work, with the changes driven by the rising cost of energy and transport and the need to manage impacts on the environment.

“In 25 years’ time, the work colleague you chat to at the water cooler might be a hologram, your daily coffee fix may arrive at your office by drone and the plumber that turns up to fix a leak might be a robot,” Raik-Allen surmises.

“The biggest invention to change the workforce since email will be the holographic representation of people.

“We will work in a ‘shared workplace’ that will be set up so that you can interact with holographic people from all around the world. You may never meet the people you work for in person, because you will be pitching your ideas to a global workforce.”

MYOB’s report examines the future of business and work over the next 25 years, as well as the impact of a number of developing technologies, many of the changes to the workplace brought about by those technologies may one day become common practice.

According to Raik-Allen, 2040 will also herald the decade of thought and what he calls activation and mind control.

“You won’t just be wearing your technology. You will be able to have chips embedded in your body, that interface with various parts of your body to either report on your health so you can manage your food and vitamin intake, or send signals to various organs to help regulate your body. Extremely tiny robots known as nanobots will crawl through your veins performing maintenance.

“Your brain will be also start to be integrated and there will be many things you can control just by thinking about them. You might even be able to purchase brain add-ons, just like you buy apps today for your phone.”

And, Raik-Allen also says the idea of money will also be “revolutionised”. “You will be able to transact and be paid by internet-based crypto-currencies, which will be governed by independent bodies, such as associations and corporations, rather than governments. Any business will be able to make its own currency – to buy and sell at values regulated by the market and at the perceived value of the company.

“As this trend develops, exchanges of currencies, much like we have today, will arise entirely independent of national economies.”

RaikAllen says the focus of the year 2040 will be the “suburban village”, with everyone living and working primarily within walking distance of their homes, and with communities pooling their resources and sharing.

“You’ll be able to trade with your neighbours, list your skills on local noticeboards, and find local experts to fix anything from your 3D printer to an ailing solar panel. Autonomous vehicles such as drones and self-driving cars will deliver packages between communities or even a coffee and a bagel to your current location.

“Much of the suburban park land will become communal farming land to provide vegetables and fruit to the local community without the need for delivery trucks.”

While Raik-Allen projects forward to 2040 and the ‘revolutionary’ changes to work, he says to prepare a business for the future it’s important to start now.

“The Future of Business report was created by MYOB in order to stimulate discussion and planning in the workplace, so people will start thinking about preparing for the future, now,” says Raik-Allen.

“The first step you can take towards being successful in 2040 is to think about how you can make your business data-driven. First, get some accounting software and get comfortable with the charting so you can see at a glance how your invoicing, debt recovery and payments are tracking. Next, automate as much of your data entry as possible so your business flows with as little human intervention as possible. There are lots of neat features along those lines that already exist and that will prepare your business for the next 25 years.”

To download the full Future of Business: Australia 2040 report click here

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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