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How did technology change the face of the workplace in 2015?

Last year saw a number of new technologies come to the fore that have the potential to significantly impact on how businesses operate over the next few years. As well as some brand new tech, other existing technology really began to make its presence felt in 2015.

Here is a list of the most influential technology trends that have transformed the workplace over the past twelve months.

Big data got really big

Big data is a concept that has been flying around for a few years now but 2015 saw a number of companies finally get to grips with its potential; and it is fair to say that a number of organisations are now using it successfully.

BMW has started using big data gathered from dealerships and manufacturing outlets all over the world to enhance its customer service. Big data analytics allows the car manufacturer to detect, and even fix, vulnerabilities that show up during the manufacturing process, resulting in less faults and more satisfied customers.

Mobile computing became ubiquitous

As each new generation of smartphone coming to the market is more powerful than the previous one, 2015 was the year that smaller and medium-sized companies incorporated smart phones and tablets into their IT function on a large scale.

In fact, chipmaker ARM launched new chips in 2015 which it claims will enable smartphones to carry out all the functions we currently rely on computers for. Could this represent the beginning of the end for work-based desktops?

3D printing discovered new niches

While 2014 was the year that many industries fully embraced the power of 3D printing, 2015 saw it continue its meteoric rise in manufacturing. Industries across a broad spectrum including automotive, aerospace, dental, high tech and medical products continued to increase their use of 3D printing.

In 2015 it was not just high tech companies that incorporated 3D printing into their processes. Shoe companies like New Balance began experimenting with 3D-printed mid-soles. According to Wohlers Associates, jewellery start-ups are also using the technology to let customers design pieces in plastic to try on before a final casting in metal. Furthermore companies like Normal Earphones have discovered that it is a cheaper means of manufacturing personalised products to take to market.

The cloud became a lot clearer

Organisations of all sizes became a lot clearer on the best uses for cloud technology in the past 12 months and it became the go-to platform for enterprise applications and data. According to a report by Forbes, companies providing cloud solutions saw record-breaking revenue in the year. Amazon for example, announced revenue of $25.4 billion (c. £17.8 billion) with Amazon Web Services credited as being the driving force. Revenue was up by 78% on the year previously, which highlighted the growing popularity of cloud-based solutions throughout 2015.

So what can we expect in 2016 and beyond?

Much of the technology that has had the largest impact on the workplace in 2015 is likely to increase in popularity and usefulness over the next couple of years too. Cloud computing in particular is expected to become the norm and with the full potential of 3D printing yet to be discovered, expect to see a lot more of it in the future.

Read our related blog: 4 ways IT can improve the customer experience
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