It seems incredible, but we are already living in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, where artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, robotics and nanotechnology are the spearhead of an industry undergoing a complete transformation. In less than a month the EmTech 2016 forum shall be held at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, which is the largest annual technology event throughout the world. This year, the conversation topics include “The Robot among us” and “Virtual Reality: Augmented Life”. Each year this forum reviews the progress of each one of the different disciplines that comprise the Technological Revolution, however far from this innovative ambit, in our offices, we are already beginning to witness the effects of said technological revolution.

The “New Ways of Working” are progressively forming part of the business world, which are principally promoted by the introduction of technology within work spaces. The promotion thereof enables us to avoid routine tasks, to democratise the production of ideas in order to discover new business approaches until now unknown and to create an environment within the office that helps us to balance work and personal life.

The Intel IT Center, in its study “Workplace Transformation”, identifies technology as the main aspect that is responsible for said transformation, in relation to three different areas:

  • Advanced collaboration, that enables workers in different locations to work together in the resolution of problems with very few barriers thanks to the conference and distance working systems.
  • Enhancement of productivity, which is achieved through the simplification of work flows and the removal of the limitations of office systems through cloud computing.
  • Intelligent spaces, that provide for zone bookings, organisation of meetings or events in digital spaces, thereby streamlining work and enhancing collaboration.

Far from the maturity of said transformation, the study suggests that the future pillars of the digitalisation of work spaces shall include biometric security, thereby using the human body for personal identification, wireless spaces, where the connectivity is obtained through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and rechargeable batteries, and the digital assistant, that shall help us with more automatable tasks, the assistant prototypes of which are already in use, such as Siri.

In conjunction with the foregoing digitalisation of work spaces, the activities of the Human Resources departments are fundamental, the function of which shall comprise the transfer of the culture and values of the company and the support for the correct adoption of said new tools among staff, in order to ensure the sustained success of the initiatives for said digital transformation.

In many cases, the cultural and processes transformation is equally or even more important than the digital transformation, and in all cases it is absolutely necessary in order to ensure returns for the significant investment that said changes require.

What do you think? Are we already adapted to new digital environments?