We are living in an era of extraordinary expansion in technology, particularly tech that increases our access to information and our ability to communicate. Thanks to upcoming telecommuting tech trends, distance, time zone, and language barriers may soon be eliminated as obstacles to collaboration.
5 Telecommuting Tech Trends You Can Expect in 2018
With some major companies like IBM stepping back from full-time remote work arrangements, there is an impression that the traditional working environment will outlive the virtual work movement. However, looking at long-term telecommuting tech trends, it is clear that remote work is thriving.
There will always be those who are slow to adopt new technologies, claiming they are ineffective mainly due to a lack of understanding of how to implement these advances strategically.
When we look closely at the ways in which technology has already revolutionized the structure of fundamental industries, it is apparent we are are already living in a professional culture that isn’t largely organized based on physical location.
Automation of essential processes, such as driving via self-driving cars and faster shopping options through drone delivery, will give us more time to engage with the most crucial of human-centered problems. We will have more time to focus on the big picture projects that drive our work and this is a great thing!
Embracing the coming changes to the personal and work-related technology of today places telecommuters and remote enabled companies ahead of the curve, and in the perfect position to lead the way for many others who eventually hop on board when they must.
Looking to the new year ahead, there are some exciting telecommuting tech trends that could improve our lives as telecommuters in very important ways. Below, we outline five telecommuting tech trends for 2018, so you can dig deeper into each and find ways to begin implementing them within your own virtual environment.
1. 5G WiFi
In the last 20 years we have watched computing technologies blossom from dial-up to wireless, and now innovators are moving the goal line again. New wireless technology disrupts the current monopoly internet providers have on internet service currently marketed to consumers. 5G is twice as fast as the current standard 2.4G speed. Instead of being able to process 600 megabits per second (Mbps), 5G can handle up to 1300 Mbps for laptops. Additionally, an insanely fast download speed of 10 gigabits per second is available for smartphones.
For remote workers, this means we can easily go from stationary to mobile with a similar online experience. 5G will likely spur more websites to increase mobile user experiences, making most websites accessible from your pocket device. As Ira Broady of Computer World suggests, this is one of the impressive new technologies that will help remote work flourish in the coming years.
If you’re wondering how you can test out this speedy internet advancement, you are in luck. 5G is already available in limited use, so check with your internet or phone service provider to see if it is available in your area. We will begin to see more about more 5G use during 2018 and, eventually, it will become the new standard.
2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
One of the most prominent concerns employers have about remote work is its impact on collaboration between team members and across various departments. However, as Alexandra Samuel points out in her article, “Collaborating Online is Sometimes Better than Face-to-Face,” digital collaboration tools are rapidly expanding. This growth allows for new and more dynamic interactions across time and space.
Virtual Reality (VR) is 360-degree technology that allows for immersive experiences using a headset, or even your internet browser. VR can be utilized to transform the traditional webinar or web conference by providing the perception that everyone is in the same room. You can create a virtual meeting space where avatars are used, or where everyone can view a presentation, and can view everyone else in the room as well.
Adjacent to VR is Augmented Reality (AR), which allows you to layer holographic objects on top of real objects and creates interaction between physical and virtual spaces. For example, if you are in a virtual meeting, you can project a holographic model of a building using an AR device, and change the model, adding a new floor to the building everyone can see. Whole teams can build together using holographic projections they can manipulate in real-time.
The combination of AR and VR will transform how remote teams collaborate, and this isn’t a futuristic prediction; it is happening now.
A company called Mimesys uses VR and AR to create holographic meeting spaces. In these meeting spaces, teams enter a virtual meeting with the ability to share and create together using holographic charts, objects, images and more. Imagine being able to see a 3D model of your new product in virtual space and having the ability to spot a key design flaw from 1,000 miles away. Telecommuting tech trends like this one will save distributed teams and money by utilizing real-time collaborative brainstorming.
3. Internet of Things
Internet of things (IoT) connects the devices you use daily to the internet in a way that seamlessly integrates and centralizes data to be used whenever and wherever it is needed. Virtual Assistants can tap into the in-office copy machine to check for low ink levels, then reorder supplies from their home offices without having to call or involve anyone else.
As everyday machinery becomes increasingly integrated into the wireless world, telecommuting tech trends will improve not only the way we collaborate, but also the kinds of work we can do remotely.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is still in its infancy, however, it is already being used in the form of algorithms that help us automate analytics for faster and more accurate outcomes. AI will soon be a staple in many businesses as machine learning is utilized.
Many people take a nihilistic view of AI, worrying that the technology may displace thousands, if not millions, of workers in fields like sales and manufacturing, but it is much more apt to describe AI as a tool that will help us rid ourselves of the minutia associated with low skill task and increase our attention on human-based projects. For instance, our future auto industry will still need some mechanics with expertise in automotive technology to consult with clients and maintain equipment. There will always be a need for a human component in every industry, what will change the most as AI advances is what that human component entails.
For remote work, AI has many possibilities to improve the pace and efficiency of work, such as computer-based personal assistants that organize our computer files without us having to sort or even create folders.
Intelligence image recognition software can provide greater security for our computers and data by allowing multiple people to access to files simply by recognizing their face on the screen. AI can crunch numbers faster than any human, leaving us to provide nuanced analysis of the data we find and apply it to more complex social and economic issues.
Think bitcoin: digital cash with an entirely different hierarchy that can be used to purchase things online. It has no physical form, exists in a decentralized network, and cannot be exchanged for other physical currency like cash or gold. However, it is a completely different way to think about transactions.
Cryptocurrency operates through blockchain; a data system that organizes bits of data distributed throughout the internet which stacks on top of each other creating a chain of information. It creates a way to securely complete transactions as the exchange must be verified and is documented through the blockchain system, which acts as a cloud-based permanent record.
In the remote space, teams could allow for more flexibility and access to funds through cryptocurrency, decentralizing travel expense procedures, supply purchases and more.
While the possibilities seemingly endless for crytocurrency’s relevancy within the telecommuting landscape, there is still not enough research on how cryptocurrency could impact our current economy. We will need more data and more real-world trials of its use in business to know for sure how this technology will impact virtual work.
Leap Toward Innovation in 2018
Regardless of your current level of engagement with telecommuting tech trends, one thing is clear: we all must continue to learn and grow our understanding of technology to remain relevant in our fields. We have reached the point of no return in terms of the impact of technology on our daily lives. Learning to work with these advancements is a much better use our time than attempting to reduce their effects.
As a remote worker, you are ahead of the game. You are you are already on-trend in business simply by embracing a flexible work structure. In fact, you will likely be one of the first to know when an exciting new technology emerges that you can use in your field.
Challenge yourself to dive into the deep end of innovation and explore these telecommuting tech trends. Whether it is a new cloud-based system or a virtual collaboration tool, use technology to inspire your curiosity and creativity. You never know what kinds of treasures you can discover as you look to the future of tech.
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