The era of office workers is coming to a close end. According to researchers, the spread of social networks and cloud technologies can kill traditional offices.
According to research results, today many IT departments of various companies began to switch to mobile technologies, which reduce costs and increase labor productivity.
According to experts from the British branch of Microsoft, modern IT-specialists more and more often fulfill their duties not only at their workplaces, but also from home, in transport and even from specially equipped public offices. Social networks, video-conferencing services and cloud applications help employees cope with their tasks.
First of all, this means that now employers will not have to provide their subordinates with offices, and this, in turn, will allow enterprises to reduce rental costs.
“Companies will be more aggressive in resolving employee workplace issues,” said Dave Coplin of the Microsoft research team. – Indeed, in the best case, only 55% of the office space is used at a time. The remaining 45%, which are not used in any way, is just a waste of money. ”
The results of research by British experts also destroy the prevailing myths that the use of social networks reduces productivity. Thus, companies that restrict their employees access to services like Facebook or Twitter, only harm themselves.
“Organizations that block social networks through firewalls only limit the activity of their subordinates,” Koplin said. “They should definitely be given more freedom.”
The organizers of the study suggest that in the future, IT companies will abandon permanent jobs altogether, replacing them with offices in which employees will appear only when necessary – for example, to discuss business issues with customers or partners.
Moreover, these workrooms can be rented for use by several companies at once. According to Koplin, now in the largest cities in the UK there are offices that do not belong to any particular company. “They have everything you need for productive work — electricity, internet and coffee,” said a Microsoft spokesman.
Here is the future of online social network in cloud computing era 2020:
1. The social graph will become mobile.
Now the social graph of each of us (friends and key information about them like a mail address) is stored on Facebook. Public pressure caused by the desire to have more autonomous profiles is growing. Something will be done about this: I do not believe that users or the community will allow a single company to concentrate all the information about us in their hands.
After a while, it will be possible to join other social networks without having to re-register and spam friends. I know that now in 2010 this does not look so obvious, but this is my forecast. They will either make our profiles mobile, or we will leave for more accommodating competitors. I suppose that this clarity will come before the end of 2012.
2. We will gather in the right social networks: Quora, HackerNews, Namesake, StockTwits
Since 2006, I have been mourning what I call the “Facebook problem” – they are trying to lure me into one big social network. No one lives on just one network. I discuss drinking with friends in one place, and I really do not want to see these dialogs next to the photographs of my children that I post for relatives.
I would not want to mix either network with business communication. I want to maintain the image of a tough businessman, and student photos from a trip to Mexico are superfluous. I do not want to interfere with my “personal” networks with my “public” networks. Facebook just dumped everything and is trying to settle at the expense of groups. It seems to me that this problem cannot be solved.
And youth is not as naive as it seems to adults. They simply create additional Facebook accounts under pseudonyms for real discussions and more innocent ones under real names. I wonder what part of the 500 million accounts created for this purpose?
It seems to me that thematic social networks, such as HackerNews or Quora, are already being formed. We are witnessing an increase in social activity around topics of interest to society. So, StockTwits is intended for those who invest in securities. New social networks are created to meet narrower needs. Namesake is still called an experiment, but in the long term it will open a whole world of opportunities for those who want to communicate outside of Facebook.
3. Personal data issues will remain controversial: Diaspora
Facebook promised us a social network with a high degree of privacy. When its creators enviously watched the success of Twitter, they decided to make everything more open, but this is not what we agreed to initially. If I led Facebook, then I would simply divide the entire network into two parts – closed and open. The second could directly compete with Twitter.
Of course, we would have to choose who to follow, and there would not be that synergistic effect that is obtained now due to the collision of all users with each other. But if this were done, then Facebook would not have to deal with ethical issues, and we would all simply adore them instead of the current relationship on the verge of love and hate. Anyway, I go to Facebook every day to look at new photos of my nephews, but I don’t communicate with anyone from the business sphere there. Therefore, 95% of my time on social networks goes to Twitter.
For most, the issue of personal data is not so acute, but it seems to me that this is due to a lack of understanding of all the dangers. Working with a large number of companies that develop new technologies and create applications, I realized this: even if you do not personally give access to your data to a third-party application, the data can still be accessible to anyone if someone from your friends like – Inadvertently uses this application. And all these Facebook Connect buttons on websites are good for quick access, but for the convenience you have to pay website owners unlimited access to your personal information.
The leakage of such data will cause a public reaction in the long run, but now not many users understand the danger in order to somehow respond. The emergence of the Diaspora is a reaction to the growing number of complaints. No one knows if the Diaspora will become popular, but many users are ready for the emergence of similar projects.
4.Social networks penetrate all areas: Facebook Connect in the Pandora service and on the NY Times website.
As our graph becomes more mobile, social networks will penetrate all spheres of life. I already see their integration with services like Pandora, where all my friends appear by themselves and their musical preferences are displayed without any of my will. The NY Times website shows me articles recommended by friends, but in the meantime I didn’t even enable this option. This trend will continue to develop.
5. Toolkit from independent developers, allowing you to use social opportunities: Meebo
Despite the fact that many sites want to get a Facebook Connect button to learn more about you, at the same time they don’t understand at all what to do with this information. In most cases, everything is limited to showing targeted advertising, but this is not very interesting. Independent developers are beginning to offer site owners tools that will actually take advantage of social opportunities. A few more years should pass, but players like Meebo are already developing this direction with their toolbar.
6. Social networks (as well as the web) will be divided into segments: SimpleGeo, PlaceIQ
One of the most interesting trends of the last few years is Internet segmentation. One of the noteworthy new segments is geolocation services that have arisen in mobile social networks. If each startup had to independently find out the location of all the enterprises on the map, the scope of their activities and the exact addresses, then we would not have so many startups. SimpleGeo, for example, helps develop mobile products without having to re-create the functionality of cards every time. This pleasant trend will allow in the future to further reduce the cost of launching new services. I assume that SimpleGeo will succeed, but we must fear competition from even more innovative companies.
One of the recent companies I have seen is PlaceIQ. Their goal is to develop a platform that will allow marketers and developers to know everything about surrounding objects, not limited to certain enterprises. They collect data on the demographics of each segment on the map, the level of development of mobile services in these areas, specialization of geographical areas (for example, a romantic place, financial district) and provide everyone with access to these data.
7.Social chaos will create new business opportunities: Klout, Sprout Social, CoTweet, awe.sm, Buzzd
The rapid growth in the amount of information creates the need for new opportunities for managing this information. Since we receive data from people whom we do not know personally, we need evidence of their credibility. Use Klout – a service that determines the degree of user influence. The service can be imported into other products (for example, into the StockTwits securities network) – where authority and trust really mean a lot.
We know that Twitter provides businesses with additional opportunities to provide customer service and respond to complaints, but the opposite is also true. If you do not control what they say about you on social networks, this is dangerous. Sprout Social and CoTweet have emerged to help businesses track consumer sentiment. And awe.sm website (I invest in this project) and similar products – monitor the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns.
One of the most exciting new services is being developed by Nihal Mehta, the founder of Buzzd, and promises to release it in 2011. I recently saw this new project, but vowed not to say anything until the official release. I can only say that it is connected with the fact that companies and consumers have become very mobile and social.
8. Facebook will not be the only dominant player.
Now Facebook is so much more popular than everyone else that it is amazing. We are back to the beginning, in which AOL replaced the entire Internet. Facebook has become the new AOL for our generation. If you are on Facebook, you are not on the Internet. This is a unique service, and I often use it myself (although less frequently than Twitter). But it’s funny to see how companies advertise their Facebook pages – just as they once did with AOL Keywords.
Here is a brief historical background that may affect your opinion.
In 1998, the Department of Justice launched a campaign against Microsoft. People were afraid that the company would monopolize the Internet using the Internet Explorer browser, which it equipped its operating system with. And now the public is more afraid of Apple than Microsoft.
In 2000, the merger of AOL and Time Warner made them the main potential Internet slaver in the eyes of the public. Now AOL is in the process of restructuring and it looks like they are doing fine, but dominating? Never.
In 2007, everyone expected Google to take over the Internet. The company controlled 2/3 of all searches in the United States, and as we all knew, a search was a prerequisite for obtaining information. Or wasn’t it? Now we see that social networks greatly affect the way we find and share content.
So, the end of 2010, Facebook has more than 500 million users. People on this social network browse more pages than on Google. They give her more than 10% of their time on the Internet. FB is a leader in online advertising, photo and video services, and games. Now the social network is aiming for email. But after 10 years, when we look back, I’m sure that the thought of Facebook’s monopoly will also seem ridiculous.
- Amram is a technical analyst and partner at DFI Club Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm .He has over 10 years of technical and business experience with leading high-tech companies including Huawei,Nokia,Ericsson on ICT, Semiconductor, Microelectronics Systems and embedded systems.Amram focuses on the business critical points where new technologies drive innovations.