4 ways the workplace will change in 2017


New workplace technologies will help businesses continue their strides to actualise the office of the future.

The new workplace entails a streamlined environment, where technology creates a frictionless, automated and collaborative space for everyone.

Here are four ways workplaces will change in 2017 – some due to threats, others to a changing workplace culture.

1. Businesses will start to adopt virtual reality

Following the relatively slow adoption of virtual reality (VR) among consumers, it is beginning to be looked at as a potential tool for the workplace.

Advancements and affordability are not the main drivers for its adoption, however. Instead, it’s the increasing swell of remote and part time workers, not to mention the elevation of digital natives in the workplace.

Millennials and generation Z are more open to flexible work practices and less hesitant to tech adoption. As more millennials enter managerial roles in 2017, businesses will begin to notice VR’s potential as a productive and collaborative resource as it is used to better connect with remote workers, present ideas and visualise plans.

2. AI will start to outrank traditional business tools

With almost every large enterprise company announcing some software or tools with predictive capabilities, AI truly was the breakout star of 2016.

And don’t expect 2017 to be any different. With over half of CMOs believing AI’s impact on the business world will be more pivotal to the future of work than social media’s shake up one decade ago, it’s projected that US workplaces will have at least 6 billion AI connected devices by 2018.

This rapid uptake is because businesses are seeing the possibilities of the automated, seamless technology. Imagine never having to book a meeting, or a virtual assistant automatically knowing desired office temperature based on employee behaviour.

In short, next year will see virtual assistants like Echo or Alexa entering the workplace, helping to usher in a true seamless, automated and intelligent workplace of the future.

3. Dark data will fix flawed big data with underused statistics  

The recent election showed that data, though helpful, is not yet perfect.

That’s why in 2017 ‘dark data’ – data that has always been available, but hasn’t been properly used – will step in to fill the holes in big data.

This will usher in a new era of interpreting data to help businesses highlight trends in non-traditional avenues: employee productivity, resource use and office efficiency.

Dark data is reminiscent of the Gutenberg Press – technology that was so ahead of its time, but once people understood its use, it revolutionised mass communication and permanently altered the structure of society.

Dark data is experiencing a similar phenomenon and will not only boost efficiency but will be used to design better offices, drive tech breakthroughs and create a happier, more engaged workforce.

4. Security back to top of mind

As more companies adopt and use Internet of Things (IoT) devices, there will be a lot more scrutiny around the security of these devices and more emphasis on ensuring they’re not putting businesses their customers at risk of hackers by rushing to market.

At the moment, over 40% of U.S. companies are using IoT tools, yet almost 70% believe they’d crumble if they were the victim of a cyber attack.

Recent attacks targeted at Dyn demonstrated how vulnerable companies are to a digital assault. The fact that Dyn was breached via comprised IoT devices really has brought the security of the IoT to top of mind.

2017 will see a slew of companies investing in securing their back end while the charge towards a fully connected and frictionless workplace continues.


Zach Holmquist, co-founder and CTO, Teem

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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