Do we have enough awareness about the technology that is shaping our future?
The European workforce is under-educated on the emerging technology shaping their futures, but does more awareness create fear or optimism?
Advances in modern technology are occurring at a lightning speed. Yet the emergence of new capabilities and disruptive technologies could well be creating a landscape of tech-fatigue.
It’s not simply consumers who are suffering from this tidal wave of technological innovation. Technology is already a core part of the modern workplace, from state-of-the-art printers to the supercomputers we carry in our pockets. With the emergence of so much technological innovation, is awareness keeping pace?
Understanding technological awareness
In recent research conducted by Epson, that surveyed the opinions of 17 global industry experts as well as over 7,000 European business leaders and employees, we explored the impact of technology on the workplace of tomorrow. It’s evident from our findings that the speed of transformation raises some challenging questions.
Our research reveals a startling gap in awareness around key technologies among the European workforce. Just 60 percent of respondents surveyed had heard of wearable technologies, meaning 4 in 10 European workers had no awareness of a fundamental technology predicted to significantly impact the workplace of the future.
The challenge is further highlighted by other key technologies, where awareness lagged significantly behind that of wearables. Just 37 percent of European workers are aware of technologies such as bio-printing or cobotics (collaborative robotics). Respondents also revealed a lack of awareness of general technology trends, only 51 percent acknowledging an understanding of blended learning (blended use of on-and-offline tools in education), and only 35 percent an awareness of omnichannel retail (a multi-channel approach to sales that offers a consistent on-and-offline experience).
Growing awareness offers positivity
Awareness levels are a challenge to adoption, but does education raise interest? As part of our research, we explained various new technologies to European workers and found that understanding creates a far more positive outlook. The potential integration of each and every technology into the workplace was met more optimistically as a result.
Wearables still received one of the most positive responses, 65 percent of workers finding this technology appealing, with organic printing, and bio-printing and cobotics are viewed positively by 58 percent and 57 percent of respondents respectively.
Yet of those technologies raised, it was 3D printing which generated the most interest among workers, with 66 percent viewing it positively. Given the profound effect, 3D printing is expected to have throughout the industry, most notably in manufacturing and retail, it is a significant reassurance that workers were equally ready to recognise the technology’s potential impact when their awareness of its characteristics and capabilities was raised.
Be committed to raising awareness
Technological advances in education offer another route to bridge the awareness gap, and one also positively received by workers, with 68 percent professing positivity around blended learning, 65 percent for collaborative education and 66 percent noting positivity about meta-learning.
While we strive to implement the advantages of technology throughout the industry, we must work equally hard to maximise those opportunities it can afford. The role of organisations will be key in this regard. Currently, only 14 percent of employees consider their organisations ‘excellent’ at monitoring for new technology advancements. If organisations do not strive to understand this changing technological landscape, it is hard to comprehend how workers’ awareness will also keep pace.
Ultimately technology does not succeed in isolation, but through successful implementation of the capabilities, it offers. If we’re to benefit from a revolution in workplace technology, our first step must be in raising awareness throughout the industry.