Morten IllumMorten IllumApril 22, 2020


As we are a few months into a new decade and look back at what we’ve achieved in just 10 years, I’m in awe of how much we’ve managed to accomplish in such a short space of time.

Not only has the last decade given us ubiquitous smartphones and Wi-Fi, plus the introduction of 5G networks, it’s also rolled out the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, edge computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Mixed Reality.

This was the decade that saw former Fortune 500 companies going spectacularly bust because they failed to keep up with the changes created by technology. On the flip side, it also saw basement-born start-ups using technology to completely transform trillion-dollar industries.

It’s clear that this past decade has been one of the most disruptive, yet productive periods of history ever.

And at the very heart of all this progress is one crucial element. Data.

Data is the new oil, but better

Just as steam, electricity and electronics propelled the three revolutions that preceded it, data – and in particular the sheer volumes created by IoT – has been the driving force behind what’s become known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To give you an idea of scale, at the beginning of the last decade, the world produced about 1.2 zettabytes of data. By 2025, the IDC says worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes, and 90 zettabytes of this data will be created on IoT devices.

There’s no doubt that data truly is the new oil, but better, because unlike oil, data is easily extracted (with the right technology in place of course), and its supplies are infinite. What’s more, we can use data numerous times to gain new insights and unlock new value.

It’s D-Day for data at the Edge

Data has ushered in a new digital era for businesses, society and individuals – one that’s revolutionising customer and employee experiences, creating more dynamic, responsive, and personalised business models, and even sparking entirely new industries. Importantly, however, it is also an era that has seen activity move increasingly to the edge of the network.

As we have entered a new data-driven, decentralised decade, this will bring fresh challenges. For example, while the growing use of IoT is providing organisations with new data to make intelligent decisions about business operations, it’s also opening more and more doors all over the network for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities. Securing these devices and this data will be critical this year and the years to come.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from the past decade is that it would be reckless not to plan for the eventuality of further disruption. With data set to drive the next decade of that disruption, business must act now to leverage the massive amounts of data they continue to generate.

This will require businesses to implement highly reliable, secure and accessible infrastructure at the core, and innovation and intelligence at the edge. It will require stakeholders to embrace uncertainty and ambiguity, and it will also require an understanding that some risk-taking will be needed.

Because we don’t know what this new decade will look like. We don’t know exactly what obstacles we will encounter and what opportunities we will embrace. But we do know that data will be at the centre of it all.

Morten IllumMorten IllumMay 3, 2018


Recent research by Google supports a point I have been discussing with customers for many months now: there is no real difference between the user experience and the Employee Experience any more.

What that means is, if you expect to schedule your Sunday with your mobile phone calendar, upload photos to cloud storage and connect with people using applications, you will expect to do pretty much the same thing on Monday, when you arrive at the office.

In 2018, many of us don’t feel efficient unless we’re able to access applications on demand, and this applies to our work as much as our personal lives. Given we spend as much time in our offices as we do at home, we have to consider how the workplace can become better equipped to meet our daily expectations.

Designing the workplace to better incorporate technology is not about being futuristic. It’s about meeting the minimum requirements that users now have. A business that does not consider how to improve its workplace design to suit our daily habits risks alienating its employees, and ultimately decreasing productivity, losing talent, or both.

Maximising efficiency of space

So how do we go about creating a better workspace? It starts with considering how to make everything more efficient. More efficient tech, more efficient space, more efficient people.

A win-win solution for the business and employee would be if building designers and technology companies collaborated on the designing of new, or redevelopment of, existing buildings.

Working together to create a digital plan of each space, as well as the kind of structural, technical plans traditionally drawn up by those in the industry, could increase the chances of these spaces meeting the needs of its occupants. This could be as simple as re-arranging the furniture to give teams more of a chance to interact, with screens, docking stations and charge points to keep people productive with whatever device they are carrying.

The point is, if these different viewpoints and experiences come together to create ‘smart’ workplaces, the people who work here will also be able to collaborate more – spending less time trying to find cables and connections, and more time getting the job done.

The tech platform to improve productivity

With this design in place, it’s then time to address the technology that can get the best from your workforce. Is it a VR booth or a robot assistant? No. The smart office is about getting the basics right.

Access to a secure, reliable and fast Wi-Fi connection is essential for most job roles and industries now, especially for those who are office-based or working remotely. But if the future workplace is not just connected, but smart, it can become much more personalised for the workers who use it.

Having user credentials that are recognised across any location or device, for example, removes the unnecessary task of repeated logins, which over the course of days, weeks and years is an enormous time saver.

Better connection, improved communication

From here, we can start to push the boundaries using IoT. Controlling the heating of a room to your liking using your smartphone, or turning on the coffee machine remotely, are just two examples of a quicker, more personal working environment using technology. This is not only possible, but pretty affordable. And if you want to control a broader range of equipment, we are also seeing plug in multi-sensors entering the market, which use machine learning to identify the signals being sent by any number of electronic devices.

Very quickly, you could be setting up an office with hundreds of devices interlinked, allowing you to better understand how those devices are being used, and create new offerings for your employees. It might sound futuristic, but steps like this are relatively simple and I think, near-term.

As a supplier of business connectivity, our energies are focused on managing, and securing, the explosion of traffic that will come from the digital workplace. For you, the business owner, and the employee, your task is to remove barriers to mobile-friendly working, and gradually create the kind of smart, digital environment that people really want to work in.

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



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