Lenovo’s Graham Thomas runs us through some of his PC predictions for next year
2015 was another busy, innovation-led year for the technology sector. Aside from wearables and 3D printing coming to the fore, almost every sector has now been shaken up by digital transformation – we continue to hear of new cases every week. Regardless of industry, 2015 has emphasised the need for businesses to take another look at the technology use to maintain productivity.
More and more companies are turning to data sources to inform and support company decisions. This year we’ve seen the re-emergence of VoIP (voice over IP), where voice calls are converted into data. By using a VoIP service, employees can call landlines, mobiles, or computer-to-computer, with both parties speaking into a computer microphone and listening through computer speakers or headsets. VoIP therefore can help reduce business costs and improve productivity, with many businesses exploring software types such as Skype, Microsoft Lync and ICQ which are continually improving the customer experience.
As a result, 2016 will see PC manufacturers adapting their products to address the needs of businesses who want to utilise VoIP technology. This means equipping all devices with a suitable array of microphones and speakers. We’ve already started seeing computer microphones wired to understanding the ‘Cocktail Party Effect’ – the ability for a microphone to focus auditory attention on one person while filtering out a range of other noises in the same environment – and we’re likely to see further developments next year whereby microphones and speakers will react to however many people are sat together in a room or on a call.
Earlier this year, Intel launched its Skylake processor which boasted increased productivity levels – with up to a 15 percent processor performance increase and 25 percent better graphics. While this is all very well and good, what are the implications for businesses?
The chip itself actually generates less heat than others. This means fans don’t have to work as hard, which gives computers longer battery life. Workers are increasingly turning to devices which suit a more flexible working style. Implementation of the new Skylake chips will enable employees to work whenever they need to without businesses needing to think about new adaptors to ensure everyone’s charged while working remotely.
Furthermore, due to the next generation storage and memory levels on the processor, products can now be manufactured to be thinner and lighter while still retaining longer battery life than the previous larger products. Therefore, it’s also likely that in 2016, we’ll see thinner business-focused products being brought to market which also exploit the longer battery life and speed of Skylake.
This year saw devices become omnipresent in both worlds of work and play. People don’t want to work on one device and play on another. Instead, consumers want lots of devices, all of which giving you the same experience and work in the same way, offering the same set of services. This includes anything from a smartphone, tablet, PC or wearable.
In turn, this is affecting the way in which businesses assign computing equipment internally. Before, your job title would dictate the quality of laptop or PC an employee received. The higher up the food chain, the more likely you were to have a higher performance PC. However, now organisations are looking at the travel and work profiles of their employees rather than their level in the business.
For example, someone who’s always on the move would is probably more suited to a tablet / hybrid or something smaller and lighter, compared to a designer who might want a larger desktop to work on from the office. Therefore, we should expect to see businesses investing in a broader range of products next year as they explore alternative devices to suit the day-to-day needs of employees.
Windows 10 migration
Windows 10 has given businesses an operating system which can support both tablet mode and desktop mode. Companies now have the option to roll out the same software to support a wider variety of form factors. While the past few years have seen the rise of the ‘mobile worker’, 2016 will see the ‘agile worker’ – someone who can work anywhere on any device. For this to happen, an operating system which is compatible across all types of devices is vital.
Yet the challenge will be how companies manage the wide scale rollout of Windows 10 so that everyone is working on the same operating system. Windows itself is easy to upgrade on a standalone machine, but on a company network, across a wide range of different machines, organisations will need to examine their current estate and software applications. This will more than likely be a key project for most company IT departments in 2016.
Windows 10 offers arguably the best single solution in the market right now, yet there’s no point in businesses bringing it on board for the sake of it. But as we expect most businesses to offer employees a wider range of devices to work from in 2016, we should see this being used as the best fit solution.
Graham Thomas is UK chief technologist at Lenovo.
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