It's all too easy to lose sight of how far technology has come, and how much it has changed our lives. Only when you look back at the not so distant past can you truly appreciate the pace at which technology has developed. This July marks ten years since Apple launched its App Store, which at the time offered just 500 apps for download. Fast-forward to today, and iOS users have access to over two million. Among those, apps designed specifically to help run businesses and facilitate collaboration account for 10% of all App Store activity, second only to, perhaps more predictably, games. Clearly, technology is helping to make our lives easier -- both personally, and professionally.
The way we work is going through a fundamentally transformative period. Data, automation, AI and connectivity are all impacting how we work, where we work, and the skills employees and businesses need to function. And as we know, with great power comes great responsibility. There will be huge opportunities and challenges ahead, only increased by the fact that competition for talent is becoming more intense, and the pace at which we develop and adopt new technologies is only quickening.
New technology, new jobs
Roles that involve significant amounts of admin, such as invoice processing in accountancy, or CV scanning in recruitment can already be substituted with AI we have access to now. As we move from today's assisted intelligence to tomorrow's far more advanced, fully autonomous intelligence, it's natural that some are concerned about technology ousting humans from the workplace.
However, Google and IBM AI teams are convinced that more jobs will be created than will be made obsolete. These roles will require higher levels of skill. Every industry will be affected -- but every industry will have the opportunity to leverage AI, upskill its workforce and increase efficiency. We have been here before -- 90% of the most in-demand jobs by 2012 did not exist in 2003. In under a decade, we adapted -- and we will do it again.
Aside from AI systems, big data and analytics are the most obvious technological advancements that businesses and workplaces can quickly benefit from. There are insights to be gained from IoT and smart devices that can help organisations make smarter and more informed business decisions. Take meeting room sensors -- they can ensure office space is being optimised effectively, and that businesses aren't paying for space they don't need or aren't running the risk of having too little space as they grow. AI assistants like Amazon's Alexa are also set to become commonplace in homes, but we can expect to see them integrated into day-to-day workings of the office to help staff manage schedules and increase productivity.
These technologies will all contribute towards drastically increasing levels of connectivity within the business ecosystem. By 2020 there will be 26 smart objects to every human on the planet and the concept of entirely connected cities, let alone workplaces, is not far from reality. Businesses should invest in understanding the big picture of where IoT is taking us and become familiar with the tech that is developing.
Technology is facilitating our evolution beyond 'work-life balance' towards 'work-life integration', allowing for more flexibility in both our personal and professional lives. As a result, both the traditional role of the workspace and workers' expectations have changed significantly. According to research commissioned by Powwownow, in 2017 58% of workers were offered flexible working hours. Their employers seem to have the right idea, as research shows that a significant amount of technology professionals consider flexible working as more important than other benefits, including pay rises. It is crucial that businesses meet and exceed evolving staff expectations -- this is fundamental in attracting and retaining talent and maintaining productivity in increasingly competitive environments.
The potential for technology to change the way we work is boundless, and significant change has already permanently altered the landscape. Businesses must embrace the environment in which they find themselves and consider how to leverage the technology at our disposal to boost profits, productivity and wellbeing.
Join our panel of tech experts over breakfast to find out more about the workspace of the future and how technology trends will continue to shape our working lives in 2018 and beyond.
We'll be speaking with:
William Newton, President and EMEA MD at WiredScore
Janine Hirt, COO at Innovate Finance
Miguel Cunhal, Data scientist at Rotageek
Matt Doucette, Global Talent Acquisition Manager at Mimecast
Michael Stych, Director and Digital Leader for Buildings London at Arup
— Stewart Whiting, Product Director, Storey-- British Land's flexible workspace brand