3 December 2014
At November's Worktech conference, Microsoft's Anton Andrews outlined his vision of a future workplace empowered by new lightweight technologies designed to work alongside the various smart devices we all carry.
"Technology that is heavy, costly and hot will become redundant," said Andrews. "It will be replaced by technology that is lighter, cheaper and cooler."
This new 'lightweight tech' would complement phones and tablets, fitting more comfortably around our increasingly flexible working patterns and allowing for a more "organic, natural flow of work" in the workplace. The rise in use of co-working spaces and the need to sweat office assets with low occupancy levels would also benefit from a more 'nimble' IT infrastructure. Said Andrews: "We are on the journey from informal to formal when it comes to technology use."
This isn't just a move away from expensive cabling and the use of Wi-Fi, it's a change in corporate mindset on IT in general, in which IT infrastructure is as much what people put in their pocket as that wired into buildings. We asked if there are signs of this new world. How much are you moving towards a 'lighter' IT infrastructure?
Only 6 per cent of you agreed that you had seen such 'light technology' in the workplace. Half suggested this change was happening gradually.
One respondent said: "My organisation tends to wait for other organisations to prove the worth of new systems." Possibly the reasons why 44 per cent of respondents said they had seen no sign of change.
However, another respondent described the changes happening at their organisation: "Large numbers of staff no longer rely on office-based IT-related equipment. Instead, they use laptops and smartphones. In addition, tablets are increasingly rolled out to staff required to recruit and those on-boarding staff; staff engaged in quality checking functions and other client related live data roles."
He added: "This approach encourages staff mobility and their firsthand operational knowledge, speeds up administrative processing so that company systems are updated at once."
The advantages of lighter IT infrastructure were not lost on those surveyed. Said one correspondent: "The benefits are not just the obvious cost of time-saving, but staff can now easily move about, including visiting more of client premises than when they were tied to FM offices; it increases both operational efficiency and client satisfaction."
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