The Ericsson IndustryLab report, The Dematerialized Office explores the white-collar employee perspective on a potential future reality where digital technology by 2030 could interact with our senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.
The pandemic as a digital tipping point
Welcome to the future workplace. But what does that workplace look like?
We surveyed over 8,400 white collar workers who are early adopters of AR, VR or virtual assistants from 16 countries, representing around 133 million people, about their expectations of the future workspace. They anticipate:
- A digital workstation that transforms with each task
- A virtual cake from a colleague that you can even taste
- Interactive digital meetings with people rather than being passively stuck behind a screen all day
- But also, future business that takes place digitally, where you can visit virtual stores and warehouses
This year’s pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. In our report we present a vision of the internet of senses in the 2030 workplace and explore the challenges and opportunities that this could present.
Key findings from the report
01. Employees want an internet of senses for work
Imagine a fully immersive office experience, where all sensory experiences are digitally interactive. By 2030, the dematerialized office may be a reality. And for those working from home, the full-sense digital home office will also get a boost. In fact, half of respondents want a digital workstation allowing full-sense presence at work from anywhere. Today, companies direct their funds into maintaining physical office space, but in the future, respondents hope this will be geared towards improving their home office environment.
02. The pandemic has become a digital tipping point
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. After months of working on their computers at home, constantly engaged in video meetings in their sometimes chaotic home environments, nearly 6 in 10 foresee a permanent increase in online meetings. They are also realizing that while connectivity is more important than ever before, digital meetings need to evolve before they become as effective as the real thing. There is simply a need for tools that better support remote interaction.
03. The sustainable dematerialized office
Dematerialization of the office will be driven by efficiency gains and sales, but the environment is also expected to benefit. With virtual offices for example, there would be no need to commute, or for companies to keep physical office spaces running. As many as 77 percent indicate that an internet of senses for business use would make companies more sustainable.
04. Virtual interaction with clients and colleagues
How about a team building trip to Pompeii? What if Vesuvius suddenly erupted and engulfed you in lava, there would be a lot to talk about around the virtual water cooler later. Team building becomes more important when there are fewer physical meetings, but virtual interaction has other benefits for companies too. 50 percent are saying that digital temperature will be used to more immersively engage customers by 2030. Providing immersive full-sense sales environments, such as a virtual shopping mall or warehouse will enable customers to digitally try before they buy.
05. A taste of the future
Not a fan of the food in the canteen? Respondents think internet of senses technology will also be used inside companies and could help with this. 73 percent of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030, opening up for optimization of both cost and perceived quality.
06. Security and privacy are key barriers
Privacy is increasingly set to become a critical challenge filled with paradoxes over the next decade. While many employees see the benefits of enhanced technology there is also a lot of fear. As digital interaction moves beyond sound and vision to incorporate all our senses, and potentially also enables functionality such as thought control of devices, the avenues for fraud, manipulation and identity theft will grow exponentially. While 66 percent think that by 2030, technology will enable them to sense when a colleague is upset, that also means their employer will know when they themselves are upset. The challenge will be in finding a balance that allows for fast adoption of digital technology in the workplace, while also respecting the integrity of employees.
Google Arts & Culture’s Eko for Show to Showcase Lagos’s Creative Genius to the World
Profiling over 100 creatives across the spectrum of music, art, photography, fashion, musicals, literature and food, the online exhibition will shine a light on the city’s thriving creative communities and aims to inspire the next generation of creatives.
In partnership with seven of Lagos’s top cultural institutions, the Eko for Show online exhibition will enable audiences to virtually “meet” some of the city’s music makers, visual artists, trendsetters, storytellers and foodies.
The seven cultural institutions include the African Artists Foundation, Homecoming, Lagos Fashion Week, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Rele Arts Foundation, Terra Kulture and the Centenary Project. The partners have shared over 8000 photographs, 80 online stories, 3 Street View experiences and 175 videos, which is presented in one unified online experience.
Eko for Show can be explored via g.co/ekoforshow and by downloading the free Google Arts & Culture app. Highlights include essays by ten women writers who share their personal reflections on Lagos, including Mọlará Wood and Lọlá Shónẹ́yìn. Watch behind-the-scenes interviews with Afrobeats stars Teni the Entertainer, Kizz Daniel and Reekado Banks. Explore an exhibition by artist Victor Ehikamenor and step inside the galleries at the African Artists Foundation, Rele Arts Foundation and Terra Kulture with Street View. Let paintings of Lagos lagoon take your breath away with the Art Camera, and learn more about the thriving arts scene with curator Azu Nwagbogu, artist Nike Davies-Okundaye and creative director Bolanle Austen-Peters. Learn more about Nigerian culture though its musicals, movies, Alté sounds and Homecoming festival with Grace Ladoja.
“Google Arts & Culture’s mission is to preserve and promote the world’s art and culture online to everyone, anywhere in the world. With Eko for Show, we celebrate the creative industry of Lagos and share the buzz, even if virtually, through the works and stories of its incredible youth and culture” says Amit Sood, Director, Google Arts & Culture.
Lagos is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities and a major financial hub on the continent, boasting the fourth highest GDP. In the past, it has garnered international attention for being a hub for creativity, thanks to the more than 25 million people who comprise this community of talent and excellence.
“The coronavirus regrettably resulted in the cancellation of many creative events in Lagos State, which is why I am so excited about the Eko for Show project, a continuation of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation’s partnership with Google Arts & Culture. It highlights the impressive body of creative talent to which Lagos is home, spreading the news across the world,” says Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State.
Folorunsho Coker, Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, adds: “The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation is committed to fuelling Nigeria’s economy by supporting creativity, youth and entrepreneurs. Since 2020, we have collaborated with Google Arts & Culture on a programme to shine a light on Nigeria’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, spectacular nature, bustling cities and our welcoming spirit.
“Our partnership with Google Arts & Culture has a crucial role to play in seeing us achieve our mission of accelerating growth of domestic tourism, and fostering economic development in Nigeria,” Coker says.
Juliet Ehimuan, Google Director West Africa, credited the Taste of Nigeria project, announced in 2019, for giving people across the world the chance to experience Nigerian arts and culture. “The launch of Eko for Show further reinforces Google’s commitment to Nigeria’s art and creative industry, and its support for the recovery and growth of Nigeria’s tourism sector ,” she says.
Nigeria’s fast growing tech, music, film and fashion sectors have become strong exporters of culture, with music sales revenues estimated to reach $88 million by 2019. The creative industry in Nigeria is teeming with the potential for economic growth, and the Eko for Show project is focused on spotlighting Lagos as home to some of Africa’s most brilliant creatives.
Eko for Show is available free online via g.co/ekoforshow. Google Arts & Culture is available free to everyone on the web or via the Arts & Culture App on iOS and Android. Google Arts & Culture is a new way to experience art, history, culture, and world wonders from over 1000 organisations worldwide.
Startweb Africa Launches Platform To Help Business Owners Create & Launch Websites In Minutes
StartWeb Africa, a tech startup and foremost all-in-one website builder, has released a drag and drop, mobile-friendly website building tool. The platform which automates the entire website building process helps businesses and entrepreneurs reach a wider audience and increase sales.
StartWeb Africa features an integrated solution with tools to help businesses (SMEs), entrepreneurs, digital marketers and professionals build world-class websites in minutes. StartWeb Africa offers smart, responsive, mobile and Google-friendly website templates that require no coding or technical knowledge.
StartWeb Africa also integrates perfectly with applications helping business owners connect seamlessly with automation tools and payment processors like Stripe, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, Zapier, PayPal and Getresponse to name a few.
“By building Africa’s easiest website creation platform, we have made everything simple for business owners and online professionals. We’re excited about the new tool because it is an easy-to-use drag and drop website builder that is perfect for anyone looking to get a website for their business, build funnels, landing pages & e-commerce stores. Our library of templates and sales funnels is geared towards introducing people to your business, and increasing your earnings”, remarked StartWeb Co-founder, Kelvin Orifa.
The platform also features an affiliate programme that does not require start up costs or an advertising budget but yields high ROI for all marketing and promotional efforts.
StartWeb Africa, in addition, offers earnings for users on referrals of first time buyers with no referral limit and a lifetime attribution as well as professional support and an intuitive dashboard on all activities on the platform.
Although Nigeria is the key driver of international trade in all of West Africa, GSMA states that about 65% of small businesses are still offline. PWC also reports that 55% to 68% of formal SMEs are either unserved or underserved by technology and financial institutions. StartWeb Africa is designed to help these business owners benefit from the untapped potentials of technology.
The world is fast becoming a global village due to innovations underpinned principally by technological advancements. Technology has brought about changes in consumer perceptions, tastes and preferences. The pace and transformative power of technology means that Nigerian businesses cannot afford to ignore the trend.
YouTube Unveils Reading Challenge to Boost African literature
YouTube has launched its first YouTube Africa Reading Challenge, an online reading marathon featuring authors, influencers and key opinion leaders across Africa.
In a bid to help popularise the work of African authors across the continent, the personalities will read extracts from The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, a novel by the African-born Nigerian poet Lola Shoneyin. The book is an entertaining, perceptive and enlightening portrayal of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria. It reveals the struggles, rivalries, intricate family politics, and the interplay of personalities and relationships within the complex private world of a polygamous union.
The novel emerged as the top choice by Africans in a Google Africa survey conducted last July, which asked social media followers which novel by an African author they would like to see read live on YouTube. A total 40 people across Africa have since been selected to kick off the YouTube Africa Challenge, and will be reading from its pages, encouraging others to join them too.
Among the notable names joining the reading challenge are:
- From Kenya: Writers and storytellers Muthoni Garland and James Murua, creative writers Anne Moraa and Aleya Kassam, actor and journalist John Sibi-Okumu, poet and actress Laura Ekumbo, and actor and writer Mugambi Nthiga.
- From Nigeria: Media entrepreneur and talk show host Agatha Amatha, motivational speaker Olujimi Tewe, philanthropist and writer Betty Irabor, performance coach and strategist Steve Harris, and career and business coach Muyiwa Afolabi.
- From South Africa: TV presenter and philanthropist Maps Maponyane, media personality Penny Lebyane, actress and model Pearl Thusi, storyteller and sociologist Upile Chisala, and award-winning marketer Khaya Dlanga.
“We are extremely excited about the YouTube Africa Reading Challenge. Reading novels is such a critical skill and we hope this event will help fuel a reading culture on the continent, while also highlighting some of the exceptional literary works by African writers,” says Nitin Gajria, Google’s Managing Director for Africa.
Bookworms can join the challenge by sharing a 10-second video on their social channels, reading the same book, and nominating their friends to do the same.
Free access to read The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives is available for one month via the OneRead app. This offer is aimed specifically at those eager to join the challenge, but who don’t have access to a physical copy of the book. They simply have to download the app from the App Store, and find the book under ‘News and Updates’.
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