The technology industry is changing rapidly, and in less than three years' time, the way companies do business will be dramatically different, according to Gartner. The analyst has unveiled its latest predictions for 2018 and beyond, with robots and "cyber vandalism" among the visions it saw in its crystal ball.
Keeping staff on track
Two million workers will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a condition of employment
The wearables trend may be dominated by consumers at the moment, but in the coming years, the devices will become a mainstay in the enterprise market. Gartner claims that wearable devices which track users' health and fitness will be compulsory for two million workers.
Staff working in dangerous or physically demanding jobs – such as emergency responders, police officers and paramedics – will be among the first to be required to wear the bands at work. But professional athletes, political leaders and airline pilots could also be required to wear a health-tracking band too, Gartner said.
"The primary reason for wearing them is for their own safety," said the analyst. "Their heart rates and respiration, and potentially their stress levels, could be remotely monitored and help could be sent immediately if needed."
The robots are coming
Almost half of fast-growing businesses will have more smart machines than staff
Reports of robots entering the workplace to replace the jobs of staff have circulated for a number of months and Gartner's latest predictions concur with the sentiment. The analyst claims by 2018, 45 per cent of the fastest-growing companies will have fewer staff than smart machines in the company. The speed, cost savings and productivity improvements are cited as the main benefits of using machines instead of humans.
On top of this, Gartner claims by the same time, more than three million workers will be supervised by a so-called "robo-boss". The robots will be able to make decisions which could previously have been made only by a human manager.
"Supervisory duties are increasingly shifting into monitoring worker accomplishment through measurements of performance that are directly tied to output and customer evaluation," Gartner said. "Such measurements can be consumed more effectively and swiftly by smart machine managers tuned to learn based on staffing decisions and management incentives."
Some "thing" to think about
Six billion devices will require IT support
The Internet of Things has been a hot topic for years. By 2018, the trend will be so embedded into organisations that businesses will need to view the "things" in the same way traditional IT was once viewed.
"Mechanisms will need to be developed for responding to significantly larger numbers of support requests communicated directly by things," said Gartner. "Responding to service requests from things will spawn entire service industries, and innovative solutions will emerge to improve the efficiency of many types of enterprise."
Cybersecurity gets dark
One fifth of smart buildings will suffer "digital vandalism"
Cybersecurity is a huge consideration for businesses, but the types of attacks they will suffer in the future will change dramatically as smart buildings become the norm. Connected buildings themselves will become victims of cybersecurity attacks, and the consequences could be out of the ordinary.
Gartner claims cybercriminals will deface smart buildings' digital signage and cause other "cyber vandalism". Whole buildings could be plunged into darkness more easily than ever if they are connected to the internet, the analyst added.
"Digital vandalism is a nuisance, rather than a threat," said Gartner. "There are, nonetheless, economic, health and safety, and security consequences. The severity of these consequences depend on the target. Smart building components cannot be considered independently, but must be viewed as part of the larger organisational security process."
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