I had the pleasure of being asked to attend the Samsung ‘Future of Work’ event last week in London.
The event itself was a showcase of Samsung’s current and planned developments that they see entering the marketplace of the future.
They covered everything from wireless meeting rooms to how the worker of the future will split their work/life balance including the tools they may be using to achieve the optimal balance.
The work/life balance was an often covered theme and Samsung highlighted how their technologies and devices will enable the ‘working from anywhere’ theme but with the power of and capability of technology you would normally expect when working in an office.
The Future of Work whitepaper that was discussed at the event was created in partnership with Ovum Analysts.
It highlighted the ever-shortening bridge between personal and workplace technology preferences, with applications taking force in the world of work and up to 78% of people using their own devices for work.
Samsung’s own Business Enterprise operation research details key opportunities for employers as smartphone penetration reaches 75% of the market, and the worker-consumer relationship blurs.
Security reared its head, as well it should in this topic of discussion. The study went on to reveal that employees are setting up their own applications at work, for example cloud file sync and share services, due to IT departments falling short in resources for workers. Only 14% prefer to use applications supplied by their employer with almost a fifth (18%) admitting that their employers’ IT departments don’t provide them with the applications they need to be able to do their jobs.
This is obviously a big problem for IT leaders as the proliferation of shadow IT is a cause for concern in any organisation. IT leaders need to understand what their organisation needs in terms of service, enterprise systems and applications. This includes talking to and understanding what the organisation truly needs to meet its strategic objectives rather than just thinking what they need and providing the wrong solution(s).
The study went on to detail over half (54%) of workers use instant messaging (IM) or web phone call technology (VoIP) while at work, with 30% of those having installed the relevant apps themselves. Whilst the importance of communication through IM or VoIP services isn’t as high on the agenda, employers are seemingly more focused on providing sufficient file sharing solutions, with 35% providing the right technology for this function. Highlighting the ever-blending relationship between work and life, Samsung’s whitepaper points to the beginning of the end of the 9 to 5 along with 42% of employees strongly agreeing with the idea of being able to access work emails and apps outside of official working hours.
As mentioned, the future facing theme of the event forecasted the merger between the physical and the virtual, with boardrooms set to evolve into a more futuristic state including high-tech solutions for conferencing. This will enable co-workers from around the world work side by side, with no airline ticket purchased saving both time and resources, something every economy will benefit from. We can all see what benefits this would bring though some of the developments seemed a bit further away in development than others.
There were some excellent speakers at the event including Graham Long, Vice President Enterprise Business Team, Samsung UK & Ireland, who said: “It’s becoming more apparent that the more tech-savvy employees are potentially overtaking their employers when it comes to technology adoption, which leads to a concern for data security and control, which comes from using a variety of devices and apps for work. In order to keep up with the times IT departments and CIOs need to be aware of what their employees needs are and should they prefer to have more flexible access to technology, ensure they can do so safely.”
To conclude the event an excellent session from entrepreneur and star of Dragon’s Den, James Caan, stated: “Since starting to run my own businesses, I’ve seen how far technology has come in terms connecting employees and how the strive for work-life balance has become a selling point for many employers. What is apparent from this research is that it needs to work both ways; a level of trust must be awarded to workforces so that they can work the hours most convenient to them and employees must feel they have the freedom and access to their work whenever they need it with the technology that they need to do so.”
A statement we all allude to though many don’t put in to practice – the workplace of the future may just enable employees the freedom to work in more flexible ways which will majorly boost and improve their outputs.
We are already finding that employees demand far more from us than they do now and flexible working and access to key technologies will continue to dominate the workplace of the future.
Outside the presentation area was an experience zone that showcased a number of innovations from different suppliers using Samsung devices and technologies.
There were a number of great products on show which demonstrated a rich spread of how these exciting technologies can be utilised.
All in all, it was an excellent and well attended event which grabbed the imagination whilst neatly weaving the current and planned developments from Samsung through it to give a glimpse of the future workplace.