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The Future of Work

Tech Predictions for 2018

By Chris Fleck

New technologies will begin to appear this year that will forever influence the way we work, how we get our jobs done and who we work for. Many projects will be funded under the umbrella of digital transformation initiatives that target improved productivity and customer engagement by leveraging the latest technologies. Some of what you can expect to appear in 2018 include:

• Workplace transformation. Although not new, expect a broader adoption of open workspaces, with un-assigned seating and limited dedicated private offices. Perimeter offices are disappearing, and cubicle walls are being lowered to encourage collaboration and open line of sight. Organizations are adopting this workplace environment to drastically cut real estate costs, and, at the same time, they want to increase productivity to create a sense of an “office of the future” and a hip place to work for employees.

• The “internet of things” will help enable workplace transformation by automating authentication, regardless of which workstation an employee chooses. Live floor plans will indicate open spaces in which to work and even help locate your colleagues. Automated conference rooms immediately will start and connect meetings, eliminating the usual wasted time at the beginning. Companies such as Citrix will extend the value of virtual desktops to make work from anywhere possible. This will spur future workplaces leveraging IoT.

• Augmented reality will appear in workplaces. At first, this will be primarily in labs and pilots, but the use cases will be more visible and validated. The Microsoft HoloLens will continue to gain interest for specific enterprise uses, such as industrial and limited health care. Locally, Magic Leap finally will show the public what it has been developing. Initially, that probably will be targeted at consumer entertainment, but, eventually, augmented reality has the potential to replace personal computers, displays and even smartphones in the future office.

• Chatbots — in the form of interactive agents — will continue to pop up. Many e-commerce consumers have used them on websites for support and sales questions, although most of these are driven by  human beings working remotely. Expect a significant increase in these self-service robots to respond to your questions.

• Artificial intelligence will drive the chatbots as well as many business operations to reduce costs and improve productivity or customer engagement. Machine learning, a subset of AI, will provide deeper understanding of massive data that is collected and will create new opportunities to automate and improve operations.

• Facial recognition will go mainstream, led by Apple and its new iPhone X. Besides unlocking its smartphones, Apple is enabling this technology to be built into business applications to increase security and ease of use. This will open the door to other facial and biometric technologies in the workplace.

If you work in a progressive organization, you might already be living in this future work state. If not, your company is likely to be observing and evaluating the adoption of these technologies soon.

Chris Fleck is on the board of the South Florida Technology Alliance and vice president of emerging solutions for Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), a Fort Lauderdale company that provides secure delivery of applications and data.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.