Consider this. The first smartphone, which is commonly identified as the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, was released in 1994. The market changing Apple iPhone, was released in 2007 and the first Android based smartphone, the HTC Dream, was released in 2008.
In just under ten years, the impact of these devices on our personal and professional lives has been significant. It has revolutionised the way we communicate on the move with others locally and globally. It has also changed forever the way we communicate with others immediately around us. We are constantly looking at our little screens in our beds, in our kitchens, on public transport and, more dangerously, in our cars.
The smartphone is a portable music device, GPS receiver, camera, video camera, gaming device, calendar, phone, radio and many other things. We are immersed in Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Gmail, Kindle and a huge range of other Apps. The amount of data we are collecting, uploading and sharing is unprecedented. The amount of data that is syncing between our mobile devices and the cloud beggars belief. In 2008, we were collectively creating more new data every 10 minutes than we had up to that point in our history as humans (Dave Evans).
“Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace.” – Ray Kurzweil
We have frequently seen resistance to change. Many people refused to use automated teller machines when they were first introduced. Many people were resistant to Internet banking. Change is difficult for people to adopt as it is a change in something they know and feel comfortable with. But the ability to adopt to change has never been more important. Irrespective of what industry each of us is involved in, change is coming and it is like a tsunami.
The applications of the new 3D print technology are being realised. China has developed 3D print technology to produce houses and apartments with a reduction of production time of 50-70% and a reduction of labour costs of up to 50-80%. This will be significantly beneficial for consumers, but will no doubt be a concern for builders. This poses a major disruption to the building industry in the next few years.
We can fight change or we can embrace change. Kodak, Blockbuster and many other companies ignored and in some case resisted change, rather than embracing it. The taxi industry is now fighting to have Government regulate the ridesharing app Uber. But this disruption should be embraced as an opportunity to change and to evolve to compete.
Many office-based workers still work in organisations that have a traditional 9 to 5 regimes. They commute for an hour or more to these offices in cars or on public transport. These office workers are bound to a desk within these offices so that they can access the technology provided by their organisations to do work. They have a fixed land-line and a computer on the desks that is networked to a server or a bank of servers that sit in a room of that office. To the lucky few, they may have the opportunity to work from home, connected through a slow VPN connection to the servers in the office. Some of these offices are still clinging to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 which will no longer be supported as of 14 July 2015. Keep in mind, this Server software is older than the first iPhone that was released in 2007!!
By 2025 , 75% of the workforce will be either Gen Y (1977-1994) and Gen Z (1995-2012). People that were born in Australia in 1998 who will be joining the workforce in 2016, have never known a world that did not have the Internet. The methods that these people use to communicate only exist in the exciting dynamic of start-ups. To attract the best of the Gen Y and Gen Zs emerging from high school or university, organisations will need to offer more than the staid communication tools that are presently offered.