How the always-on world will change business

The world is entering an era of full connectivity. Thanks to cloud technology and the advent of 5G networks, an uninterrupted, always-on environment is changing the way people live and work.

We are already seeing how the ongoing roll-out of superfast mobile broadband and cloud technology is finally allowing people to work on their terms. But how will high-speed digital connectivity change the way businesses operate? Will it improve their productivity and bottom line?

All businesses – whether digital in roots or not – will be affected by always-on mobile connectivity. Think of the plumber’s apprentice carrying out a job while wearing a headcam and taking remote instructions from his boss. Similarly, a lead architect’s expertise could be utilised on several sites from one location. No longer will it matter where in the world team members are working on a project – as long as the assets, contacts, tools and documents they require remain in a central cloud open to everyone, at all times.

>See also: 20 ways to survive and thrive in a hyperconnected world

In addition, the introduction of new flexible working regulations in countries such as the UK mean all companies could face employee demands for new working agreements.

With 5G network speeds forecast to be 100 times faster than 4G by 2020, workers are set to win even more freedom, as living near an employer’s base, or even in the same country, is becoming unnecessary.

What’s more, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend means companies don’t always have to make huge investments to harness the benefits of high-speed connectivity.

Heavy investment in desk-bound computers is coming to an end in the always-on world. Employees rather than IT departments are now making the big technology decisions. They want to use the mobile devices and operating systems they have become used to.

Environment control

On a deeper level, our very notions of geographical and spatial boundaries may start to diminish. Just as clocks and watches changed our perceptions of the notion of time, and just as telephones or social media helped transform human relations over distances, full connectivity will have a deep impact on the shared human psyche and resulting work behaviours.

Employees could soon have their pick of global employers and manage the most rewarding projects while being empowered to complete their tasks how and when they choose as long as they deliver on the goals.

The onset of open and transparent communication will promote personal responsibility and a sense of teamwork, giving employees a sense of ownership and control that will boost productivity.

To operate more efficiently, businesses are adopting new ways of working and tapping into the latest cloud collaboration and project management platforms, transforming disparate organisational cultures into collaborative communities while boosting their competitiveness.

Thanks to technology’s unlimited potential to change human behaviour, workers using online collaboration tools are becoming more engaged and productive. When people are connected, teamwork can be transformed and productivity can rocket. Knowledge can be exchanged, problems can be solved and management becomes easier.

Effective project management

Five years ago, an office kanban board – featuring cards that can be placed in ‘To do’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Done’ columns – was seen as one of the most effective project management tools. Now, digital kanban boards can be a central hub for all communication and actions. A clear sense of progress is always offered as the changing status of workers’ actions is indicated by cards being moved into appropriate columns.

Rapid technological change is often associated with complexity. But a return to simplicity can be made possible in an always-on world. Structure can return, people can be set free to thrive and management can be made easy.

>See also: 30-fold increase in internet-connected devices will transform supply chain – Gartner

With all-in-one project management tools and smartphone apps allowing instant responses via simple online hubs, the days of losing data are behind us. Documents, contacts, plans, visuals and blueprints can be securely accessed from anywhere, with no more version conflicts. It means the most complex of projects can be contributed to and controlled from any location on laptops, tablets and a smartphone.

While we are still on the brink of the latest technology revolution, collaborative cloud tools are already enabling teams to stay up to date and become increasingly involved in decision-making. Cloud technology is encouraging the exchange of ideas and fostering effective teamwork while making everyone feel part of a closely-knit group. People can work on their own terms while becoming more productive, driving the growth of every business.

In the coming years, the lives of workers and business itself will transform beyond many people’s imagination. Keeping ahead of developments, harnessing emerging communication technologies and continually adapting are the keys to driving business growth and personally thriving in the always-on world. Only the CEOs that embrace these changes will create motivated workers who will help their businesses grow.


Sourced from Tobias Andersson, COO, Projectplace

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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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