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Q & Angel: Why 2016 is the Year You Need to Get Tech-Savvy

In this week’s Angel Q&A we’re talking tech. Now, don’t switch off, love it or hate it technology is here to stay and what’s more it’s having an ever greater impact on the way we live and work.

January, alone, sees the opening of Electronic Superhighway, a landmark exhibition exploring the impact of computer and internet technologies on artists at the Whitechapel Gallery as well as the Bett Show on technology and education.

So today, we’ve asked our Angel Consultants what they think you need to know about technology to enhance your career and keep you workplace-savvy.

1. The Internet of Things (IoT) was a major buzzword at CES 2015. But what does that mean for the workplace?

Dell’s Megan Anderle likens the IoT to the Industrial Revolution in its potential impact! Tweet: Dell’s Megan Anderle likens the IoT to the Industrial Revolution in its potential impact! @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel

According to BI Intelligence the number of devices connected to the IoT is expected to increase from 2014’s 2.5 billion to almost 24 billion by 2019.

2. But, what is the Internet of Things exactly?

The IoT is sometimes described as the merger of the physical and the digital world.

Basically, internet-enabled devices, such as laptops, smart phones and tablets will be capable of accessing, communicating and sharing information anywhere. While, sensors in other everyday items will also be able to send key information.

3. So, how will this affect the workplace?

In health and social care, for example, prescriptions could be automatically re-ordered without a doctor’s appointment or pharmacy trip.

While, in factories, some machines already have sensors that instantly notify workers of problems as they arise.

The IoT has the potential to streamline processes and make them more efficient. Tweet: The IoT has the potential to streamline processes and make them more efficient. @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel

4. But this might not be for a while, right?

It might depend on where you work, but four out of five people in the UK can currently access the internet at home and it is expected that by 2032 everyone will have access to the internet.

So, as our internet use increases, along with computing power, ever evolving technology, sensors, screens and access to greater quantities of data the move towards IoT, sometimes also called ‘ubiquitous computing’, is ever more likely.

5. So what do I need to know now?

Two words: social media. Thought it was just for socialising? Then, think again!

A couple of years ago it was estimated 91% of UK 16-24 year olds used social networking sites, so soon social networking will be the norm for many of us in and out of the workplace.

Careers-wise LinkedIn is key but social media is increasingly being used to support online patient groups or to interact directly with customers – take Facebook and Twitter, for example. So you could be expected to use it was part of your role.

6. Another trend that’s changing the way we work are apps, right?

Yes. Apps – short for application – make it easier to access services directly by clicking or tapping the relevant icon, instead of searching the internet, say.

ADASS, the association of directors of adult social services in England, now hold a Care Apps Showcase simply because this technology is so important.

The apps they ‘showcased’ in 2015 included everything from a tool to calculate how much someone has to contribute to care costs to connected sensors to re-assure or alert family or care staff about a sick, elderly or disabled service user.

7. So, what will the impact be for my job?

Obviously we’ll have to wait and see, but these technologies should make the workplace more efficient.

Take hospitality staff who through apps, like ShiftPlanning, are able to access their team roster from anywhere – avoiding timetable clashes and missed shifts.

The data collected on customers will also help personalise and improve services of all kinds. We’re already seeing the impact of this in hospitality where hotels are being urged to provide free wi-fi as standard based on user experience and feedback via sites like HotelWifiTest.

8. How can I improve my current tech know how?

For starters, the BBC’s Webwise site gives you a great overview on all things web, including social media, internet security and even how to get set up on the internet if you haven’t got access at home yet.

Sites like Hot Courses detail in person and online classes on everything from the internet to social media use – even down to specific job roles like PAs.

While those interested in free online courses could get to grips with apps or learn about cloud computing via the numerous courses over on Alison.

Now over to you:
Have any thoughts on what you’ve read? Got any burning questions we could put to future Q & Angel guests? As ever, we want to hear what you’ve got to say!

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