How urbanization and the drive toward megacities will impact IT

October 20, 20174 Minute Read

Close you eyes and picture a major city in your mind—dealer’s choice. You can probably imagine the stark contrast between “city” and “suburb” as it stands today, but rapid urbanization is set up to change the way we work, live, and experience the world from sunup to sundown. By 2030, 41 new megacities with populations of more than 10 million each are expected to come online.

Just 20 years later, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. The total area of urbanized land stands to triple globally from 2000 to 2030—the equivalent of adding an area larger than Manhattan every single day. How will rapid urbanization affect IT service delivery at the office? Here’s a look at how the accelerated development of megacities will impact IT in the near future and how day-to-day support of the business will evolve.

Hold onto your wallets, we’re going mobile

As residents of large cities are happy to tell you, space is already sky-high in concentrated urban environments. Expect this trend to accelerate as millions of people migrate from rural and suburban areas to emerging and established megacities. Increased population density will mean that space will be both expensive and hard to come by, forcing companies to rethink how they design products to fit in smaller, shared work and living spaces—or outright remote work.

IT pros will need to tap their ingenuity to support advanced technology in compact office environments. It’s going to mean purchasing computers and printers with small footprints that can fit in cramped spaces—not to mention maximizing available square footage by using vertical shelving and decluttering work spaces.

But mobility is a really promising solutions to this rapid urbanization hurdle. Telecommuting and flexible work arrangements will be even more central to business operations than they are now. More companies will leverage flexible coworking spaces for the workforce of the future. 3D printers will be a boon in the approaching era of limited space, allowing users to print products and even everyday objects on-demand in factories, local printing bureaus, and offices without the need for maintaining an inventory.

Supercharge work with hyper mobility and ambient computing

Mobile technology’s already changed the way we work, and the phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down. IT will support smaller, lighter devices for the denser environments where we’ll work and live. Wearable technology will become more commonplace, as will IoT devices that proactively order supplies before they run out, enhancing office productivity. It’ll be imperative to ensure the security of mobile technology and connected devices we use, including printer security, with a combination of security policy and administration tools that properly manage risk while facilitating business goals.

Office tech will even transcend the realm of physical gadgets. Virtual assistants will reschedule meetings or send clients inventory updates on our behalf, saving us time and eliminating tedious tasks from our daily to-do list as we turn our attention to more complex endeavours. Powered by insights generated from IoT data collection, ambient computing will be a persistent, intelligent digital presence that eases our path and reduces friction in the workplace.

This will benefit us most in megacity environments, appearing light as air yet making our lives demonstrably more efficient. Such AI-powered ingenuity will likely help IT teams dig even deeper into the analytics of their own performance, as well, providing proactive insight on how to deliver service at a continuously higher level.

IT managers will need to begin preparing soon to support a technologically enhanced workplace. Not only will they have to ensure their infrastructure is resilient and scalable, but it will be essential to aggressively defend the business against potential attacks that could cause even more damage as the workplace becomes more reliant on sophisticated tools and data insights.

Prioritize environmental sustainability

If current rapid urbanization trends go unchecked, humanity will require the resources of two planets to sustain its current lifestyle by the year 2030. IT will play an important role in ensuring the business is as environmentally sustainable as possible, optimizing office sustainability by curtailing energy consumption, investing in eco-friendly lighting and office equipment, and, of course, choosing sustainable printing solutions. 3D printing will also be an asset in this regard, as it will reduce the need for shipping and minimize consumption of resources by enabling users to print only what’s needed.

The inexorable trend of rapid urbanization, paired with exciting innovations that enhance our working lives, will turn megacities into incredible powerhouses of productivity and economic growth. It’s also going to put pressure on IT teams to provide robust tech services using limited resources. As this development continues, IT managers should begin laying a foundation now for the workplace of the future.

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