No, this is not a hologram: Simon Raik-Allen is the chief technical officer of MYOB
Step into your 2040 office. Actually, it’s not an office; it’s a shared suburban warehouse space that is used by employees from many different companies, spread around the globe.
There’s wall-to-wall screens that you can control with the flick of the hand to trade your companies own cryptocurrency. But wait, the hologram of your business partner has just appeared for a meeting.
This is not a sci-fi movie. This is what experts are actually predicting the future of business will look like.
The MYOB Future of Business Report Australia 2040 looked at the impact of emerging technologies on business and the workplace over the next 25 years and argues the workplace of the future will look nothing like it does today.
But Simon Raik-Allen, chief technical officer of MYOB, says much of the technology needed to transform the modern workplace has already been created.
“Some of this stuff is already happening,” Raik-Allen told SmartCompany.
“None of it is that hard. We already have the bandwidth, we almost have the technology. In 25 years it will be mainstream.”
While much of this technology may seem out of reach for small businesses, Raik-Allen says the trickle-down from big corporates into SME workplaces will happen quickly.
“Things start off expensive and if they are of any benefit the big guys get them first. But this will be 100% a small business thing.”
Here’s a look at some of the report’s coolest predictions for your SME in 2040.
Raik-Allen says the introduction of hologram technology will be a game changer for business.
“When that comes into play, that will be the biggest revolution since email. There is nothing like actually being there for a meeting and with hologram technology, it will be like almost being there,” he says.
SME owners could have a workforce of a globally connected group of people, contracted to provide services for their business.
“It’s also likely you may never meet the people that are working for you, well not in person,” says the MYOB report.
Like seminars became webinars in the 90s, businesses will hold “holonars” in 25 years, according to the report.
“You will sit in virtual auditoriums, next to three-dimensional light-based images of your colleagues from around the globe watching a hologram on the stage of someone giving a talk,” says the report.
Work centres, not offices
Inter-suburban work centres will house the technology to makes the interconnected workplace possible, according to MYOB.
Raik-Allen says hologram technology will require significant space, as holograms will need room to walk around and interact, so it is unlikely holograms will appear in home offices by 2040.
Instead, these work centres will have wall-to-wall screens, which Raik-Allen says users will be able to control with just the flick of their wrist, sending a document down the hall to your co-worker in seconds.
“The size of these screens will only stop when they hit the ceiling, physically,” says Raik-Allen.
According to the report, 2040 will also herald the decade of thought activation, allowing us to make the most of a new breed of personal technology, which will be attached to us permanently.
“Forget ‘wearable tech’ – in 25 years’ time you’ll be able to have chips embedded in your body, allowing you to access everything from phone calls to appliances,” forecasts the report.
Your body will have “chips that interface” with various parts of your body and your mind will be integrated, so you can control certain things just by thinking about them.
Raik-Allen says currency will be one of the other significant changes to the business world by 2040.
“Every company will have their own currency in 25 years,” he says. “It wont cost anything to make it and the value of the currency will be the trust in your company.”
He says businesses will have exchange rates between each other, so you can share one of your small business coins for say, 25 Amazon coins.
MYOB says small businesses have many possible uses for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, in the future, from freight and transport, to surveillance and compliance.
And don’t worry, if you are concerned about your local coffee shop going under as businesses move away from centralised hubs, they will probably be delivering you your morning coffee and bagel via drone, while you hologram with your workers.