Last week we looked at renowned futurist Mary Meeker’s take on what’s coming up in the next few years in the world of IT. This week we take a look at the prognostications of Australia’s own Ross Dawson, courtesy of Intel’s IT security subsidiary, McAfee, which has commissioned him to produce a report ‘Intel Security: Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025’.
According to the forward from McAfee Australia & New Zealand managing director, Keith Buckley, the report is "intended to provide useful insights into the technology developments we can expect over the coming decade, so that we can together better respond.”
The report is divided into sections on the Future of Home, the Future of Social, the Future of Work, and the Future of GenNext – “the leaders of tomorrow.” So what does 2025 hold in store for small and medium businesses, and more importantly, what should they be doing now to prepare for that future?
It seems that the monolithic structures of business and industry - where firms rely primarily on their full time workforce - will largely disappear. “A rapidly increasing proportion of the population will be self-employed. Individuals will find more work opportunities and flexibility to work independently, and organisations will reshape themselves to draw on extended rather than permanent workforces.”
The report quotes figures from the UK where self-employment has risen 37 percent since 2000, compared to a six percent increase in overall employment.
Increasingly this self-employed, mobile workforce is expected to congregate in co-working spaces. No longer only for the self-employed and entrepreneurs nurturing startups, these facilities will be “open working spaces where people can base themselves to avoid commuting but also get out of the home and have access to sophisticated communication technologies.”
The report quotes from a global co-working survey, which found that, after joining a co-working space, 71 percent of workers reported increased creativity, 70 percent felt healthier and 62 percent believed their standard of work to be higher.
One thing that won’t change is that, for businesses, “success will be based on the quality of their customer service,” but even more so than today customer service will be “driven by their use of rich customer data.”
However in the 2025 world of the hyper-connected, socially networked consumer, there will be no escape for companies that fall down on customer service or product quality. The power of personal communication to destroy reputations will be awesome. The report suggests that all shopping will be social: “Online social connections will drive all stages of buying, from being exposed to brands and products, through searching among personal networks and communities for opinions, to getting trusted friends’ views at the point of purchase.”
But the importance of reputation in this hyper-connected world works both ways: for employers ‘shopping’ for staff as much as consumers shopping for goods and services. “Employers will increasingly find and hire talented people by what they actually do and how their peers view their capabilities, tending to view degrees from educational institutions as far less accurate indicators of likely work performance.”
Privacy, the report suggests, will evaporate: for both individuals and institutions.
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