Technology continues to evolve toward an ever-connected Internet of Things, with new wearables and smart devices being developed and announced at an increasing rate. The impact of this phenomenon over the next few years will be practically limitless, revolutionizing industries from health and wellness to shipping and logistics and everything in between.
According to an ongoing Pew Research project in conjunction with Elon University, canvassed experts almost unanimously agree that by 2025, Internet connectivity will become so ubiquitous as to be “like electricity,” connecting all of us through any number of devices throughout our lives. It’s not a difficult future to imagine; think of how many of your activities throughout the day would be difficult if not impossible without a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. Our reliance on connectivity has grown considerably in the last decade and will only continue to deepen as more and more devices are hooked into the data in the cloud.
At PGi, we constantly evaluate how new technologies can be used to bring people together and create collaborative advantages for businesses through enhanced communication and better remote work. When viewed through the lens of collaboration, it’s hard not to be excited about the possibilities the Internet of Things can bring.
Moving Beyond Smartphones
A survey respondent from the Pew report describes “companion devices” in the year 2025, whatever form they make take, that will have replaced our smartphones and tablets as the screens we view first thing in the morning and right before we go to bed. These devices may consist of multiple components, including wearable or embeddable sensors and will accompany us throughout our work and personal lives, augmenting our realities and bringing us information about both our physical and virtual worlds.
The collaboration applications for such a device are practically limitless and will make our current smartphones look paltry by comparison. They will be the windows to our friends, families and colleagues, whether through ultra-high quality video sharing, holograms, instantly connected audio calls—the differences between face-to-face and virtual communication will be practically erased.
Reimagining the Conference Room
The cornerstone of innovation for the Internet of Things is the marriage of physical and virtual, where devices and objects that traditionally only had a physical presence can now connect through the cloud, automatically adjusting to changing conditions, transmitting notifications and more.
Imagine the conference room of the future, where every piece of it—the table, the chairs, the screens, the whiteboards, the phones—are all interconnected, working seamlessly to connect workers in different locations without friction or complication. The room knows who you are, identifies you when you speak to those on the other end of the line, automatically adjusts the webcam as you move around the room and transmits the whiteboard notes and drawings into the online meeting for the other attendees, all without any additional input required. You simply attend your meeting physically, and the virtual component is practically identical thanks to an array of smart sensors and connected devices.
While today we like to talk about things converging on a singular device, such as our smartphone, a hallmark of the Internet of Things will be multiple devices, such as in our hypothetical conference room, working in tandem to create seamless and engaging collaboration experiences.
These are just a few ideas of how the future of business collaboration will be ultimately transformed by an increasingly connected world.
For a full look at the Pew report, visit the Pew Research Internet Project.
For more insights on how evolving technologies will shape the future of business collaboration, download our free eBook today.