How Workspace Technology Is Becoming the Epicenter of Broader Change

A series exploring Lenovo’s big tech predictions for 2019. Prediction #2? That life is set to become happier, healthier, and faster. The lines between personal and organisational technology having been blurring for some time, could we be approaching an inflection point wherein they disappear altogether? With the likes of VR, AR, AI flooding the workplace and every environment from healthcare to the classroom undergoing fundamental change, it looks to be getting closer every day, writes Gareth Kershaw... 

It is kinda strange when you think about it, change. A little scary even. 

It creeps up when you’re not looking. And bites you. 

Okay, so that might just be me I suppose, but by way of proof, here’s a handful of sobering facts that came out in the wake of 15 year-old Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff’s hugely celebrated victory over Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon recently: 

Born on March 13th, 2004, she is younger than the Euro, Facebook, Bluetooth, the iPod, Love Actually, the M6 Toll Road, and much else besides. As tempting as it was, I stopped short of digging any deeper than that. I suddenly felt very old. 

The greatest exponent of these sneak tactics? What else but tech?

It’s already a challenge to remember what the world looked like before certain technologies arrived. Smartphone, app, tweet, and meme were barely even words five minutes ago (or what seems like it), much less staples of the language. And yet they’re deeply embedded in our everyday habits and behaviours all of a sudden. How did that happen? 

More arresting yet, not only does such change go on unabated, but it’s getting more widespread, it’s getting more impactful, and it’s getting faster. All told, the effect relates to what Lenovo likes to call everyday innovation. 

It’s also happening everywhere. 

In the office, where the employee experience – particularly around the convergence of work tech, workspace, and work culture – carries greater weight than ever before. Indeed it has suddenly become nothing short of vital in attracting and retaining millennial and post-millennial talent and in driving profitable innovation. 

On the high street, where shopping experiences are being transformed as new channels and methods of customer engagement emerge on what feels like a daily basis. Where the drive to unify the consumer experience is leading a revolution in point-of-sale applications and devices, which in turn integrate with point-of-experience interfaces like customer loyalty programs. 

IoT is coming to the fore here too, via initiatives such as real-time pricing, inventory management, and customer analytics.

Then there are the changes taking place in the classroom, where technologies like VR are facilitating immersive student experiences – virtual field trips and the like –  and distance and non-linear learning.

It’s even happening at what you might call the ‘sharp end’ – healthcare – where 
VR is now proving invaluable in supporting the treatment of hospitalized children through dynamic entertainment, meditation exercises, and therapeutic games.

IoT and AI technologies are also gaining huge traction here, having been put to work solving some of humanity’s greatest and most urgent challenges. Cutting treatment waiting times, enabling remote healthcare and monitoring, increasing availability and accessibility of patient records and critical hardware, and freeing up clinical resource via remote detection and diagnostics. 

Indeed, according to one recent study, IoT in healthcare will be a $163.24 billion market by 2020. That’s a 38% compound annual growth rate from 2015.

This significant uptick in adoption appears to be borne out in healthcare industry attitudes too. 

In Accenture’s Digital Health Tech Vision 2018 for instance, wherein 84% of health executives agreed that, through technology, businesses are “weaving themselves seamlessly into the fabric of how people live today”. 80% agreed that AI will be working next to humans in their organizations – as co-worker, collaborator, and trusted advisor – within the next two years. 83% meanwhile, agreed that extended reality will create a new foundation for interaction, communication and information.

Innovation is clearly no longer just happening then; it’s happening every day. 

Time may change us, but can we trace time? It seems that we may very well be getting to that point…  

Gareth Kershaw - Author

Gareth Kershaw

Cutting his editorial teeth in the still callow IT press of the mid 1990s, Gareth Kershaw is a specialist technology and business writer of more than 20 years’ experience.

Spanning roles from journalist to editorial director and virtually everything in between, his career has encompassed regular contributions to a wide range of technology media titles – including Computing, Computer Reseller News, Channel Business, and Microscope – as well as the national press.

While his two decades in technology have seen extraordinary transformation and change from one end of the industry to the other, his philosophy tends to remain one of “plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose”.