When tomorrow comes

In the world of enterprise technology, tomorrow is now.

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There’s a great science fiction story by Issac Assimov titled The Dead Past. where he describes government bureaucracies that conspire to prevent the spread of knowledge in a dystopian future. One of the interesting side elements of that story is Assimov’s concept of time. We tend to think of the past as years and years ago, when in reality -- as he points out -- the past is what just happened.  The past was you reading that last sentence. Our concept of the future also falls into that same trap. We think of the future being the Jetsons or Star Trek -- something way out of reach in the distance -- when in reality the future is in a few minutes; the future is now.

As I begin this series of blogs on Workspaces For Tomorrow, I won’t be discussing technologies that are unreachable. The workspace of tomorrow is now. It’s the modern business traveler taking out his or her iPad and getting on a video call from the airport. It’s the executive balancing parenthood and career in the stands at a child’s sports game, using his or her smartphone to send edits to colleagues working on a contract. It’s the engineer whose commute to the office has been reduced from a 90-minute train ride to a 30-second trot down the stairs to his or her desk at home.

Workspaces for tomorrow will be disruptive. They’ll leverage a smartphone or wearable or cloud service that no enterprise technology manager planned for but woke up one day and found half the organization’s employees using. They may come from technologies introduced at a trade show, but rather than just Enterprise Connect, Interop or InfoComm you might just as likely find them springing out of the Consumer Electronics Show…or a start-up factory in Silicon Valley…or your neighbor’s teenager.

The reasons workplaces of tomorrow are important to discuss at a high level is because they are transformational. They won’t just give your competition an edge in the marketplace, they’ll change the marketplace and make the organizations that don’t adapt obsolete. They could be a virtual contact center where electricity, HVAC, networks and even walls and a roof are unnecessary expenses. They could be a new approach to an old business where a simple app ties together a consumer with the provider and shakes up such industries as transportation and hospitality. Or they might pertain to the very definition of working as it morphs from the past to the present and future.

I look forward to sharing my observations and insights about our workspaces for tomorrow in this new series of blogs for IDG, as technology turns our tomorrows into today.

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