With 2019 well underway, business owners and managers will no doubt be looking around to see which office gadgets can help their businesses grow over the coming year. Office tech is one of the biggest drivers for growth. It empowers businesses to work smarter, harder and more efficiently. But which office gadgets can we expect to change the game in 2019 and beyond? And furthermore, what can they do for you?
1. Virtual and augmented reality
In 2019, extended reality (XR) will make the leap from gaming and entertainment to everyday work tool. Extended reality is the umbrella term for virtual reality, augmented reality and newly developed immersive technologies that allow businesses to engage and connect with customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Falling prices of AR and VR hardware have made this technology much more accessible. Businesses have taken that opportunity to explore how tech like the Microsoft HoloLens and headsets such as the Oculus Go and HTC VIVE can be used to improve their performance. That includes everything from conference calls and workplace training to the creation of immersive promotional experiences and the streamlining of manufacturing processes.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have become ubiquitous in homes across the UK. However, this is the year artificial intelligence establishes itself in the workplace. For example, in the legal sector, there is an AI app that can complete the otherwise laborious and time-consuming task of reviewing legal contracts. It automates the process of reading, storing and analysing contracts. Further, it suggests edits based on the legal policies that are in place. The Xerox AltaLink printer is another example. It comes with a voice recognition system, so you can operate it completely hands-free.
3. Wireless charging
Having to find the nearest powerpoint to charge up a device can restrict the way employees work. This has implications for productivity and efficiency. In 2019, we expect to see charger pads embedded into everything from desks to meeting spaces. It will allow employees to remain connected and boost flexibility around the office. This type of office tech is expected to be particularly prevalent in co-working spaces; every hot-desk will have its own wireless charging unit.
4. More touchpoints for employees
The drive for agile working is manifesting in the creation of more tech touchpoints for employees. Modern businesses, particularly those with younger workers, are providing access to tech in locations all around the office, from breakfast bars in breakout rooms to benches on roof terraces. Having interconnected laptops and tablets that are not hardwired to particular desks or locations and with plenty of nearby charging points allows employees to access essential information wherever they are. Overall, the result is a more agile workforce with fewer limitations on performance.
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