November 15th, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Innovation, Science & Tech | Comments Off

The future of Work and BYOD and BYOM

[Last month I had the opportunity to help with the creation of a video for Cisco, in which Cisco futurist David Evans, futurist Stowe Boyd, and I talked about the future of the workplace as the availability of personal communication devices becomes more pervasive, their power greater, and their use more natural and integrated into every day life. The recent workplace phenomenon of a desire to "bring your own device" is a key indicator of this trend. At the same time that I was shooting that video (we hope to post it before too long from now), I was producing a guest blog for Cornerstone OnDemand, the human resources support company, commenting on their recent study on the future of the workplace and the workforce. Here is the blog I wrote for them, re-posted here by permission, which captures some observations where BYOD is going in the future.]

BYOD, BYOM, and the future of work
The other day I was with a team from a large multinational company. The team was preparing a presentation for the executive committee, and one of the team members proposed using a presentation tool he liked and was good with. But the other team members pointed out that the tool was an online application, and not formally approved by IT, and so it would be unwise to use it for the executive briefing.

This incident is something seemingly normal that occurs every day in the workplace – yet it is the perfect example of employees’ desires to bring their own device (BYOD), bring their own applications (BYOA) and bring their own tech (BYOT) to work to help with their productivity. The willingness of employees to do this was confirmed in the recent study of American workers conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand. The survey found that 37 percent of employees who currently use apps for work would be likely to spend their own money on work-related apps in the next twelve months if they felt the app would help them with their job. Even among employees who do not currently use apps for work, 20 percent expected to spend their own money for apps to increase their productivity.

In a world with thousands and thousands of apps available and new ones appearing each day, it is important for organizations to develop a policy on the use of apps and devices by individual employees. Generally, the advice is to make this policy one of openness to employee devices and apps. But the Cornerstone study reveals that many companies have yet to address this pressing issue.

When asked if their employers had policies on using applications for work purposes that are not provided by the employer, 43 percent said no, and 21 percent said they did not know.

When asked about company policies regarding the use of personal devices (smartphones, tablets and the like) for work purposes, 45 percent said their companies had no policies, and 15 percent said they did not know whether any policies were in place.

What kinds of applications are employees interested in? Here are the numbers:

ease-of-use

Now, an IT department could try to provide all of this, but they will never keep up with the flood of apps developed by entrepreneurs. So what is an IT department to do? I’d suggest that they begin the difficult process of redefining their role to providing a basic information access infrastructure, security standards and applications, and then, like the maestro of an orchestra, letting the individual artists show their stuff.

There are, in fact, companies who are allotting each employee a budget to buying technology and then not dictating what the specific tech should be. This is radical I know, but consider the dominant trends shaping the future of work.

BYOD + BYOA + BYOT = BYOM
Internet anthropologist and futurist Stowe Boyd, for example, suggests that first, every job is digital, second that every company is digital, and third that more and more functions can be performed by third parties. But the most important trend that Boyd cites is this: what is really happening with BYOD, BYOA and BYOT is that people want to bring their own mind to work. He calls it BYOM. Think about this. Our personal devices and the apps we favor have become a part of how we live, how we produce, how we think. Perhaps your essential app is one that keeps track of your travel, or tracks your exercise and diet in concert with your wristband, or enables you to conduct your banking anywhere, anytime. And this is not to mention the obvious apps that keep you in touch with your network and up to date, all the time. What the Cornerstone OnDemand study is saying, I believe, is that people want to bring not just their tech to work, but themselves.

On the Horizon
What is next? On the horizon and just coming into the marketplace are wearable devices. Google Glass is perhaps best known, as an example of augmented reality in which you wear a device that keeps you constantly imbedded in the virtual world even as you interact with the physical world. Joining Glass will be smartwatches that connect you to the Web, clothing, and, before long, smart jewelry and buttons that enable you to live in a world where the virtual and the physical are fully merged. The recent hiring of Burberry’s CEO by Apple is further demonstration of the intersection of fashion and tech. Why would you use such things? To see company information on demand, to access repair manuals, to connect to team members, to do things we do now with the devices we carry. The Cornerstone OnDemand study found that 66 percent of Millennial workers and 58 percent of all employees would use wearable technology if it enabled them to do their job better. If they saw a co-worker using wearable technology, 67 percent would feel curious and 12 percent would feel at a disadvantage.

I remember being at a conference this year of companies in a service-providing industry. A member of the Millennial generation gave a short presentation showing how he imagined their service professionals would use wearable technology in the near future, and he challenged the more traditional thinkers to open their minds to a new way of working. He was living proof of someone who wanted to BYOM to work. Smart companies will be moving in this direction.

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November 15th, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Media, Science & Tech | Comments Off

The future is not all technology

I had a very interesting experience this week as I gave the closing keynote to the annual meeting of the Virginia Cable Television Association, in Williamsburg, VA. My topic was the events, trends and developments shaping the industry looking out over the next decade. You can view my slide deck below, with some of the imbedded video that I used, now available at SlideShare. Before too long we will have a video of my full presentation from the Association.

But back to the experience. In the program, as I usually do, I discussed the Millennial generation, who comprise all the new workforce now age 18-31, and their oft-cited moniker as the “digital native generation.” They are the generation most deeply imbedded in what I call the full-on network society. They are, currently, unplugging from Cable and going “over the top” as the industry likes to call it. When I was finished, among the people who gather around to chat was one young woman, one of about a half-dozen Millennials in this audience of mostly cable executives. She put a challenge to me, expressing frustration with being, essentially, stereotyped as technology obsessed. Instead, she asserted, Millennials are as likely to become less enamored of and imbedded in technology as the other way around.

Her comment immediately reminded me of the article I wrote the week before for FastCoExist.com, on the future of collaboration. They titled my piece “The Future of Collaboration is About Looking Backwards.” Check out the full think piece here, but using some stats from a study of the American workforce by Cornerstone OnDemand, in this article I was pointing out that while Millennials and other workers wish there was more collaboration in their workplaces, only 6% of Millennials and 5% overall would prefer to collaborate via phone of video conference. 60% of Millennials and 72% of all workers would prefer to collaborate in person. The remaining numbers would prefer to collaborate online. But, here were some numbers supporting my young Millennial questioner at the Virginia Cable TV show – don’t pigeon hole them as technophiles only, as they just might lead a move back to the future, in person.

See the Fast Company article here, and the SlideShare of the keynote below.

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November 15th, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy | Comments Off

The future of work and people of the screen

[This blog that I wrote originally appeared at Cornerstone OnDemand, in their blog section on the Future of Work. Re-posted here by permission.]

Work today can be plagued by two competing problems. One is information and technology overload. Many employees feel that they are drowning in information and serving their technology more than productivity. The second problem is not enough information and too little technology. What is odd is that the same people and the same workplaces can have both problems, at the same time. Let me explain this seeming contradiction.

When you look around a typical office setting in the U.S., you will see dozens of people typing on keyboards, looking at screens, and occasionally talking on devices or to each other face-to-face. This is what you see. But you also know, because it is true for you, that many of those people have another screen – or two or three – in their pockets, briefcases, or purses. Some are work devices. Some are personal devices. All are connected, really, to the same Internet, the same general cloud infrastructure, though not the same cloud, and all the gadgets can do, more or less, the same things. But both the people you see, and you, are constantly juggling these machines, like the juggling clown on the street corner.

On the “not enough information and technology” side of the coin, consider the typical experience of a digital native who walks into your office as a new employee, on their first day. I will wager that in most workplaces, when a digital native walks in the door they think, “Man is this place backward. Where is all the great technology? What I see is not as advanced as what I have at home or in my pocket.”

The Challenge of the Future Workplace
These issues were clarified recently in The State of Workplace Productivity Report study conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand. As a whole, U.S. employees often feel overloaded, with 50 percent saying they experience work overload, 34 percent information overload, and 25 percent technology overload. Interestingly, Millennials, our tech-savvy digital natives who make up the entry-level workforce, were more prone to feeling overload. Information overload was cited by 41 percent of them versus just 31 percent among older generations, while technology overload was cited by 38 percent of Millennials versus 20 percent of older generations.

Info tech overload

As for the number of gadgets used at work, venerable desktop computers were used by 76 percent of all workplace device users, laptops by 43 percent, smartphones by 36 percent, and tablets by 15 percent. Millennials are about twice as likely to use personal devices, smartphones, or tablets at work. In other words, they are jugglers, and this may help explain why they are more prone to feeling overloaded.

device usage

Here is the challenge when we look at the future. The number of available devices is likely to increase, not decrease. The amount of information is obviously continuing to explode. By one estimate, the amount of new data added to the Internet every two days exceeds all the information in the world prior to 2003. This does not include all the information in private clouds and company servers. What we need are better ways to find information, focus clearly on what is most important, and to collaborate with others. It is not an easy thing to do. Employees make their best efforts, according to the study, even spending their own money to obtain apps for work purposes, hoping for apps that improve ease of use, convenient access to information, productivity, collaboration or access on multiple devices.

As providers step up to the challenge of an improved environment for information, technology and collaboration, interestingly the solutions that can reduce overload will be the same solutions that solve the problem of not enough information and inadequate technology.

To read more about Cornerstone’s The State of Workplace Productivity Report, click here.

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November 13th, 2013 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Environment & Energy, Science & Tech | 1 Comment

A Greener Future With Self Driving Cars

DJ006-Driverless-Car-Infographic

Infographic by http://www.360financial.com.au/

By Mary Ann Keeling

In case you aren’t yet familiar with self-driving cars, the name pretty much says it all. Imagine phoning a taxi, the car pulls up, but there’s no driver inside. It’s just an empty car, ready to take you to where you need to go. Aside from that example, there are countless benefits to self-driving cars and they’ve actually proven, thus far, to be a lot safer than one might think. Not only that, but this trend has huge potential to help the environment and to take away some of the strain we’re putting on Mother Nature through our automobiles.

Google’s Self Driving Car
Over the past couple of years, Google has had self-driving cars driving around California. Even on the busy streets of Los Angeles, it’s absolutely incredible how safe this car has proven to be, even though it’s an early model. In all the time this Google car spent on the road in LA, a place notorious for gutsy drivers and terrible traffic, the car has only been in one accident. Guess what? When that accident happened, it was one of the rare times when there was a human driving the car. So, the car’s self-driving feature has proven to be safer than when the car has a human driving it. Now, this is just one piece of anecdotal evidence, but with the amount of automobile accidents and injuries that occur each year, even a small % reduction is welcome.

There are, however, some legal issues standing in the way of Google’s self-driving cars. First of all, they’re not getting much help from automakers, who are reluctant. Automakers are more focused on assisted driving, rather than full-on self-driving cars. Other downfalls are that these cars have trouble recognizing traffic cops and their hand gestures, or knowing where the lane markers are on the road when there is snow. If construction is going on, and the routes are different than on their maps, that also poses a set of risks. Needless to say, there are some kinks that need to be ironed out before self-driven automobiles are ready for the mainstream.

When Will These Cars Be Ready?
Currently there are about a dozen self-driving cars on US roads according to Google. Together, they’ve traveled 500.000 miles or more in beta tests. In the next five years they will be available on the market. In new Navigant research it is stated that by 2035 sales of autonomous vehicles will reach more than 95 milion worldwide (per year!). That’s about 75% of all light duty vehicles sold. Nissan has recently stated that they see 2020 as a target for self-driving cars to hit the roads in a major way. Assisted driving cars are already available, for example cars that have features to automatically parallel park for you, making an easy task out of of one of the most dreaded driving maneuvers. A more-optimistic Google has set 2018 as a realistic target, staring they are aiming to have some form of self-driving cars on the roads by 2018, and with their prototype in Los Angeles they’re well on the way.

How Does This Make The World Greener?
Cars driving around still need to be fueled, but the ways in which self-driving cars can pave the road to a greener tomorrow go beyond that. First of all, with fewer accidents there is less of a need for people to buy new cars to replace ones that are beyond repair, therefore less parts going into the scrapyards and landfills. Some parts from wrecked cars are recycled, but for the most part they’re just wasted.

Thanks to vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems, autonomous cars and trucks could significantly reduce traffic congestion and traffic accidents. And it’s about time, as no new car safety feature has been introduced since early 2000s and the use of airbags in vehicles.

In the introduction of this article, we talked about the idea of self-driving taxi cabs. If you can fit 5 people into a car, rather than 4, this will mean that in some cases people will only need to order one cab for their group of friends rather than 2, which cuts the emissions for the trip in half. This isn’t a huge deal, but every little bit helps when it comes to making the world a greener place for future generations, right? Also, that’s just one example.

Tesla Throws Their Hat Into The Ring
Finally, here’s the big one. Are you familiar with Tesla Motors? They make, arguably, the coolest electric cars out today. They started off with a luxury roadster, now their current model is a high-end sedan, but in the coming years Tesla will be releasing a car at a price point that’s much more accessible to the average consumer, thus bringing electric cars into the mainstream. That covers the green side of things, but what about self-driving? Well, recently Tesla Motors has announced plans for extensive research to put themselves at the front of the pack in terms of self-driving cars, so the logical conclusion is that the next breed of self-driving cars will also be powered by electricity and take a much smaller toll on the environment. It’s a double-whammy of green!

Final Thoughts On Self-Driving Cars
There are many advantages to self-driving cars, especially when you consider that someone could drive themselves and their friends out for a night on the town, and have the car take them home safely. Also, it should help a great deal for truckers who have to drive long shifts and worry about falling asleep at the wheel. Assisted driving is almost certainly the next step, we expect to see some degree of self-driving vehicles that still require some form of human interaction, but completely self-driving cars don’t seem to be too far away!

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November 12th, 2013 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, New at Futurist.com | Comments Off

Next Up in our Sci Fi Film Series

catching-fire-movie-posterHUNGER  GAMES: CATCHING FIRE BAGELS & BLOODYS EVENT!

Sunday, November 24th  at 11:15AM screening
(Doors open @ 10:45am, screening @ 11:15AM, short discussion after)
Futurist.com Presents:
The next film in our Educated Sci-Fi Film series
This time at  Big Picture!
Join us for a “Bagels and Bloodys” screening and discussion of
“The  Hunger  Games: Catching Fire”

$15 per person includes one movie ticket, fresh bagels and cream cheese, and your choice of a either a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa.
Buy tickets online at  thebigpicture.net.
Big Picture is located at 2505 First Avenue.
For guests 21+ only.

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