Musings On The Future Of Content And Collaboration

Content Collaboration

Every 5 years or so I like to try and figure out what life is going to be like in ten years’ time or at least what are our lives going to be like in the workplace of the future. Technology is evolving at such a rapid rate now, when you think back ten years ago we didn’t have Facebook, there was no Google Maps, no Dropbox, no YouTube, no Twitter, it’s hard to imagine that these services we use and rely on in our everyday lives just didn’t exist 10 years ago.

Technology shifts and changes so quickly we can’t know for certain what it will be like in 2023, but there are some tools, which can help predict what the next ten years are going to be like. According to Moore’s law, for example, in 10 years computing will be around 64 times more powerful, storage capacity will be about double that and network capacity probably about 50 times greater than today.

With this virtually unlimited computing, networking and storage capacity by our standards today, any problem of complexity will be overcome and simplified by a combination of artificial intelligence, high-capacity analytics, sophisticated map/reduce processing and just sheer brute force computing.

The main enabler of the workplace of the future will be this unlimited compute power, we will no longer have to limit the tasks we undertake based on the compute power they require, instead organisations will become much more resilient and the software we use will be so smart that you would think it was alive simply due to the shear amount of compute capacity you will have at your fingertips.

So what is our workplace going to be like in 2023? First off there won’t necessarily be a workplace that you need, or have to, go to. Cloud computing has already enabled the workforce to operate remotely and it will only become more resilient and predictive, whilst your computer will cease to be a bulky box set up of wires and disks, instead you’ll have an curved all LED screen which you can roll up and put in your pocket to take with you wherever you desire.

But this would all be useless if the software we use didn’t evolve too.

How we create, consume and collaborate on content will no longer be restricted by the mediums available to us, instead software will be developed and informed by a greater understanding of our psychology and become so intelligent that it will take into account how we are as human beings.

It will adapt and learn how we work, it will understand that if we are creative we work one way whilst if we’re more of a thinking rather than feeling person we work in another, it will understand how best to adapt too if we are introverted, extroverted and if we want to connect and work with colleagues.

As a result collaborative software will start to become more like a video game – compelling and engaging. It will become something you want to do rather than just need to do, making gamification the very essence of how we collaborate.

Most importantly this advanced software will help us focus. Over the last ten years we’ve lost our ability to concentrate at work, as things pop up on our screens throughout the day we never actually get anything done, this will all change as systems adapt and allow us to concentrate and focus on individual tasks.

The software we use will be so sophisticated that some of the things we think we are bad at may actually become some of the things we are exceptional in and it will become so easy to manage even my mother could do it.

In the workplace of the future we will be able to work faster, better, be more creative and have more fun, thanks to innovations in new tools such as augmented reality, gamification and anticipatory computing, all of which seamlessly blending into the background but enhancing our working lives.

We can see hints of what the future will be like in the ways we work today with cloud computing and wearable technology already benefiting some businesses but there’s so much more still to happen and more than anything it’s about getting stuff done, it’s about doing businesses.

John Newton

John Newton, CTO and Chairman of Alfresco, has had a long and influential career in content management. In 1990, John co-founded, designed and led the development of Documentum, the leader in content management acquired by EMC. For the next 10 years, he invented many of the concepts widely used in the industry today. John has also been an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Benchmark Capital. John was one of the founding engineers at Ingres, where he helped develop the world's first commercial relational database. John graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

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