Top tech stats: Virgin’s business predictions, developers have their say and more

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This week we bring you the latest insight into what the world of business will look like in two decades, a snapshot of where developers think the industry is going and stats on the way in which different demographics perceive remote working.

The world of business: the next two decades

Virgin Group’s recently released Future Visions report explores what the world of business will look like in 20 years’ time, showing that offices will become extinct.

The report also found that by then, we will live in a world of pre-emptive crime prevention and that as AI rises, so will the need for more attributes such as emotional intelligence.

Looking ahead, the report predicts that brain-controlled technology will be introduced. This, it adds, will enable doctors to operate on a patient remotely from anywhere in the world and would also allow architects the ability to instantly visualise their designs.

Other findings include:

  • Diversity equals profits. In an increasingly connected global community race, gender and sexual discrimination within the business world will be a thing of the past. Companies with diverse recruitment processes will prosper as they will have a richer bank of opinions, in turn increasing productivity and profits.
  • Haptic technology will allow the controlling of technology through our brainwaves.
  • The rise in artificial intelligence will create AI doctors which, will pre-diagnose patients using their cloud based profile. AI will also change the type of skills we need, there will also be greater importance in the workplace for ‘female’ attributes such as emotional intelligence.
  • The internet of things will become the internet of everything. Data points across everything you use will help companies stock up your fridge or send you replacement lightbulbs before you know you need it. This same data will be used by security services to analyse human behaviour and pre-emptively stop possible criminal activity.
  • Companies will put purpose on the balance sheet. Companies will integrate purpose into their business plan, it won’t only be about bank profits but how the world and its citizens can profit.
  • Finite resources will evolve. Traditional industries will utilise technology to adapt and conquer current challenges. Farming will revolutionise with vertical above ground and below ground growing which will be aided by the advancement in LED lighting – meaning a rise in inner city farms.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: “Now more than ever before in our history fresh ideas become stale very quickly. New innovations are altering the way we work and live at an unprecedented speed. It is important we prepare our future entrepreneurs for what’s coming round the corner. This is why we gathered six brilliant minds from across industry to come up with our best answer of what the future will be like. We will help guide our future entrepreneurs and pave the way for what lies ahead.”

“It’s a future where AI will assist us in our day to day life. Where battery technology will have advanced so far that we’ll have electric planes and where data will allow us to predict health problems, crime and weather,” he added.

Developers have their say

In other news, Packt’s third annual Skill Up survey found Python was considered to be the number one tool used by developers. It was joined in the top five by Git, Visual Studio, Eclipse and Java.

Python also came in second when developers were asked what tool they considered should be learnt over the next 12 months. Docker came in first.

‘There is a problem that I need to fix and don’t know how’ is the number one reason why developers and tech professionals choose to learn something new. Respondents also cited solving problems more effectively at work, and curiosity about tools and languages they’ve read about online as reasons to learn new skills.

Unsurprisingly, 90% of respondents were male. Packt asked respondents if they thought the tech industry had a gender diversity issue, and a majority of 47.2% agreed. Some 24.3% didn’t think there was an issue, while 28.5% were sat on the fence.

The biggest gap between gender equality appeared in the financial services and software solutions sectors, whilst design and marketing came out on top for diversity.

Changes in perception: remote working

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the UK now works remotely at some point but face challenges of perception and worry about working longer hours, according to research released by Polycom, Inc.

The company interviewed more than 20,000 people about their views on remote working and found that there was a striking difference between younger and older demographics, and more senior professionals.

According to the data, 51% of those aged between 45 and 60 said they regularly took advantage of working anywhere. Some 70% of millennials said the same, with only 15% of those saying their employers did not offer remote working.

Respondents aged over 45 see control over their work-life balance as a key benefit of remote working, while 16-29-year-olds are more likely to report being more productive and avoiding a stressful commute.

The data suggests that there is a correlation between seniority and the fear of working longer hours. Almost two thirds (62%) of CEOs and VPs say they’ll end up working more if they worked remotely.  53% of junior managers and 52% of graduates said the same.

“It’s clear that businesses need to be more flexible in their approach to anywhere working, especially with young people entering the market with clear expectations of being able to work anywhere they’re connected,” says Tim Stone, VP of marketing for EMEA at Polycom.

Stone continued: “Companies need to take a three-pronged approach to make anywhere working benefit their staff and business: organisations need to equip staff with the technology that connects them with colleagues, generate working from home policies and update them as culture and technology evolves, and provide guidelines to staff.”