10 Ways Workspaces Will Evolve During the Next 12 Months

1 - 10 Ways Workspaces Will Evolve During the Next 12 Months
2 - Workplace Has Little to Do With Place
3 - Business Apps Will Provide Built-In Collaboration Features
4 - Management of Mobile Apps and Virtual Apps/Desktops Will Converge
5 - Workspaces Will Look the Same, Regardless of Device Used
6 - Poor Network Connections Will Become Less Relevant
7 - Employees Will Use Five to 10 Business Apps Regularly on Personal Devices
8 - Work Apps Will Provide More Automation and Workflow Features
9 - Mobile and Virtual Environments Will Become More Context-Aware
10 - Mobile Solutions, Platforms Will Incorporate Security Policies From Inception
11 - Wearable Devices Will Become Logical Extensions of Our Workspaces
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10 Ways Workspaces Will Evolve During the Next 12 Months

by Chris Preimesberger

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Workplace Has Little to Do With Place

As people increasingly use personal smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices for work, when they work and from where are becoming less relevant. In fact, Forrester Research reports that 61 percent of information workers work outside the office. Instead of demanding a physical place to work, people will demand greater access to the applications, data and services they need to be productive, wherever they are. Regardless of whether they use corporate-issued or personal devices, the most productive employees will have the ability to work freely across a mix of spaces, using whatever device they have on-hand.

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Business Apps Will Provide Built-In Collaboration Features

As people increasingly work from home or remotely, vendors are building social collaboration features into their applications to maintain a sense of community that is needed when employees work across geographic locations. For example, Evernote recently announced the addition of chat functionality to its notebooks. Mobile application vendors are providing one-click access to online conferences from productivity apps, to make it easier for colleagues to quickly collaborate.

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Management of Mobile Apps and Virtual Apps/Desktops Will Converge

Mobile and virtualization vendors will transform the way enterprises deliver applications to users, providing a unified app storefront that workers access for their work applications and services. The authentication process will become streamlined, with one interface replacing the need to access one environment for mobile apps and a separate one for virtual desktops and apps. Users will have a single log-in that they use to access all the work-related apps and services they need, with seamless session roaming so they can pick up exactly where they left off, regardless of the device they are using or where they are located.

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Workspaces Will Look the Same, Regardless of Device Used

Today, our workspaces and applications look one way on a laptop PC and another on a tablet or smartphone, and that different look and feel changes how we access and use business applications. In the coming year, advances in mobile and virtual workspaces will unify our digital experience, offering the same look and feel, regardless of the device used. Whether users have a Mac, PC, Chromebook, iPhone, iPad, or Android or BlackBerry smartphone or tablet, the interface will become increasingly similar, reducing training costs and IT trouble tickets. As people spend less time learning and adapting to different interfaces and experiences, they will spend more time and energy on productive work.

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Poor Network Connections Will Become Less Relevant

The remote workplace will no longer require high-quality network connections but will work over the same WiFi and cellular networks users typically encounter at home, on planes, in airports and in coffee shops. Advancements in virtual application and desktop delivery protocols are improving the mobile workspace experience to overcome issues such as packet loss and low-bandwidth connections. As a result, the virtual and mobile workspace will allow workers to access their applications and services easily where they are, rather than force a hurried search to find better network reception.

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Employees Will Use Five to 10 Business Apps Regularly on Personal Devices

Driven by high employee and executive demand, enterprises will mobilize and deploy business apps at a much faster rate within the next 12 months, expanding beyond email and Web browsing tasks that define the typical mobile employee experience today. To maintain enterprise security, a number of these mobile business apps will support biometric authentication, allowing access on a per-application basis, versus device-based access management.

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Work Apps Will Provide More Automation and Workflow Features

As applications evolve, they will become increasingly integrated and converged to streamline workflows, automate approval processes and ultimately advance productivity by integrating features like chat and electronic signature. For example, industries that require authorized signatures, such as accounting, financial services, health care and insurance, will automatically route contracts or legal documents to the appropriate manager or authority with a specific timeline for approvals.

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Mobile and Virtual Environments Will Become More Context-Aware

In a more practical alternative to the Hollywood movie "Her," applications will adapt to each employee's personal and business use patterns to become more helpful. While it's unlikely that users will literally fall in love with their software, some business apps will begin to anticipate needs and provide a more personal experience that improves productivity. To protect sensitive data and maintain compliance, applications will follow established policies based on the user's location and personal preferences.

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Mobile Solutions, Platforms Will Incorporate Security Policies From Inception

Driven by the continuing barrage of news surrounding high-profile security breaches over the past year, organizations will increasingly select and deploy applications that have been designed with security in mind from the start. The next generation of mobile workspaces will provide IT and security organizations with the ability to define, follow, monitor and enforce security and compliance policies across end-user profiles. These security measures will include personal devices, corporate networks and assets stored and delivered from the cloud to protect the security of all business information, applications and services.

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Wearable Devices Will Become Logical Extensions of Our Workspaces

Whether or not the Apple Watch is successful, its market introduction demonstrates the expanding market awareness and acceptance of wearable devices. Business applications will increasingly support wearables, providing employees with more socially acceptable ways to monitor messages and schedules in meetings. Once enterprise security and applications extend to wearables, users will gain new ways to use these new devices to connect to virtual meetings, monitor messages and integrate them into their daily workflow.

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