You’ve probably heard that every business is a tech business, but have you ever thought about how the innovative technology you use on a daily basis has impacted today’s workplace culture? Consider how talking on the phone has been almost entirely replaced by text and email or how work chats now take place through dedicated messaging platforms, like Slack. These applications changed the way everyone communicates—and now, tech wearables are popping up in the workplace, reinventing and enhancing office culture and productivity forever.
The latest innovative technology offers a compelling case study in how devices, gadgets, and wearable tech have the potential to change both the way you work and the culture of your company. As users begin to expect more from their IT departments, you need to pay attention to employee trends and how the latest technology can help your business achieve even more.
Put a ring on IT
A few years back, a company called LogBar unveiled a wearable device called the Ring. The chunky silver bauble looked like a simple piece of jewellery but promised to do everything from writing texts by drawing letters in the air to paying bills. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype, but other tech wearable rings have made it to market, with actual potential to change the way people work.
For instance, the NFC Ring can be programmed to share and transfer information, unlock devices, and control apps. For IT pros who want to tighten the security of certain parts of the network, a ring that’s personalised to a specific user can reduce the risk of unauthorised personnel getting in. Even better, it can provide shortcuts for certain tasks—which are key to boosting workplace morale. As Lindsay McGregor, the coauthor of Primed to Perform and cofounder of Vega Factor, tells Harvard Business Review: “When everyone is under pressure to deliver, anything that is holding a team back can become really demotivating.”
Work from anywhere and show up every time
Millennials and Gen Z are taking over the workforce—and they’re ready to break free from the office’s barriers and become digital nomads. Is it time to start thinking beyond the standard virtual meeting technology and imagine the possibilities of holoportation? Microsoft’s developing the HoloLens, which they showcase as a mixed reality medium where “workers can change the content, the people, or even the location of a meeting, in a matter of seconds.”
Microsoft also claims that “mixed reality delivers interfaces that help workers act upon data generated from instrumented/intelligence devices, and connect seamlessly with others across physical space.” The HoloLens is a reminder to businesses everywhere that it’s worth exploring how your IT team can become your company’s change agent through tech.
Talk to anyone—near or far
Global businesses and their globe-trotting employees need the ability to communicate with one another without a language barrier. And if your employees travel frequently, think of how much your company could save by using tech instead of translators each time there’s an important meeting.
Tech wearables, like the Mymanu Clik earbuds, are promising, but they still haven’t made it to market—although the company says they’re coming in spring 2018. In the meantime, you can set up your office with ili, a wearable translator that can process three languages: Mandarin (the most-spoken first language in the world), Spanish (the second most-spoken), and Japanese. Early reviews give the product high marks for the speed with which it can spit out an answer to a question in conversation. And as with any machine learning, it gets smarter the more you use it.
Bring balance to your work-life habits
Your workplace may be flexible, but your employees are still tethered to their devices. Workplace culture is shifting; by 2020, 50 percent of the UK’s workforce are expected to work remotely. In other words, your workers need tools and tech facilitating mobility. To stay connected with the office no matter where they are, mobile workers can use new innovations, like Solar Paper, to charge up their electronics. This product turns the sun into an electric socket—making it perfect for those who prefer to work with their toes in the sand. To keep all your users connected to one another wherever they are, your IT department will also need to provide tech solutions that can be used securely and easily on-the-go.
As an IT leader, it’s essential to stay on top of the latest innovations and trends to anticipate what your users will expect from IT. After all, the right innovative tech could help your businesses achieve greater productivity, save money, and boost employee morale. By taking advantage of these new tech innovations, you can ensure 2018 will be your most productive year yet.