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Pack your work in a digital bag and go

Opinion
The world of work as we know it is poised to change beyond recognition. And it will be fuelled by the next era of mobile technology.

The headlines leading to the Mobile World Congress this month have centred on the next big consumer mobile launches, but as consumer mobility matures, commercial mobility has yet to hit its full disruptive potential. And this isn’t just about the odd day working from home.

Mobility is going to put into question our whole notion of “work”.

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With PwC predicting that the global gig economy will be worth $63 billion by 2020, what will a “job” really mean to children born today as they leave education?

A globally connected network of freelancers could be selling their services online in a fluid digital marketplace prompted by the proliferation of mobile devices and apps.

And getting to work will be revolutionised. Boston Consulting Group predicts that the rise of autonomous vehicles, and associated car-sharing, will reduce the cost of car travel by 20-40 percent, and cut average journey times by 40 percent in 10-20 years’ time.

Suddenly, cramped commutes become unviable and unnecessary.

And as the car completes its evolution into a connected computer on wheels, it becomes a productive work environment in itself.

Read also: Mobile technology to spur financial firms

Petrol or electricity may power the mechanics of our car, but mobility is powering its evolution. It’s why we’re seeing collaborations between car makers and telco equipment firms, such as the recent deal between BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz and Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm to develop the 5G infrastructure needed for self-driving cars.

But “work” as a single location that we commute to each day may be an obsolete concept long before our cars drive themselves. We’re already moving towards the notion of a “blended life” whereby folks increasingly see work as “a thing you do” and not just a “place you go”. At the same time, co-working spaces have recently exploded in popularity in cities across the globe. These attractive, collaborative environments are hotbeds of innovation. They’re a physical embodiment of today’s dynamic employment market.

But co-working isn’t just for start-ups. Corporates are also getting in on the act, with companies such as KPMG opening their own doors to create centres of collaboration. The office of the future probably won’t be an office at all. Expensive city-centre floor space, with its doors locked to outside influence and innovation, will begin to look like a thing of the past, and “out of office” will become the norm, not the exception.

But like the gig economy and self-driving cars, co-working space doesn’t function without intelligent mobile technology. As the global workforce goes increasingly mobile, people need to take their offices with them wherever they go. Employees are in search of a PC equivalent to a Swiss army knife that can transform based on the task at hand.

As such, we’re delivering devices that bring traditional PC-based productivity to a more mobile experience, in a way that IT can securely manage and service.

For instance, at Mobile World Congress this week we launched the HP Pro x2, a versatile tablet and notebook “detachable” device featuring multiple modes for commercial use.

We also announced a range of new accessories for the HP Elite x3, the first true 3-in-1 device for mobile workers.

These new technologies are designed with versatility in mind to help mobile professionals be productive and remain connected, in the office or on the go.

It’s perhaps no wonder that 3 out of 4 of CIOs say mobility will have a bigger impact on their business than the advent of the internet. Mobility will reinvent work, and at HP we’re reinventing mobility.

David Rozzio is the managing director of HP Africa.

BUSINESS REPORT

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