As we enter 2020, we are turning the page on not just a year but a decade. As we look ahead to what the next ten years could bring in technology changes, it can be daunting or exciting. Let’s focus on the changes enabled by just one technology: 4G networking.

What 4G brought us

4g Networks technically began in 2008, but hit their stride around 2010, so call it a decade. Do you remember what you could do on your cell phone 10 years ago? Let's look at the evolution of just a few businesses which thrived on the back of 4G Networks.

  • In December 2011, Waze had about 7 million users and employed 80 people. in June 2013, Google bought Waze for $966 million. Today Waze has 110 Million monthly users.
  • In May 2011, Uber went live in New York city. In 2018, its total bookings were $50 Billion (US). 
  • In 2009, AirB&B, a struggling web site, received just $20,000 in Funding. By the end of 2011 Airbnb had had five million bookings and in June it hit 10 million. In 2014 it’s 3 founders were billionaires.
  • In 2011, you were probably buying CD's or paying per track on iTunes, when Spotify launched in the U.S. By 2017 it reached 140 Million active users.

Yes, 4G was faster than 3G, but that's not the point. It was faster to the point of enabling new technologies, things that we couldn’t imagine in 2010. And look at how businesses founded on that technology have disrupted major industries. Consider what Uber has done to the Taxi and even the automotive business. A new generation is growing up, not feeling the need to own a car, and auto sales are taking a hit. Spotify has completely rewritten the rules for payments to music artists, and the need for music labels to distribute music. AirBnB has altered neighborhoods and housing markets.

Here comes 5G

I mention this because I’m excited that 5G technology is rolling out. Yes, it’s faster than 4G, but again, that’s not the point. The real impact could be the reduction in latency.  Think of latency as the action/reaction time of the network. There will undoubtedly be many effects, but just two that are touted are autonomous vehicles and remote surgery.

Now I can imagine what a driverless car is like. It’s a lot like me driving (OK, maybe slower) but without me having to drive. What’s harder to imagine is what a transportation and delivery services look like when all or most of the vehicles on highways are driverless. How will supply chains and commute times be affected? How much will these vehicles cost and who will own them? Who will manufacture these vehicles and how many?

And what of remote surgery? With the addition of AI and robotics, will a surgeon be needed for all of the surgery, or only the most difficult parts? Or any in routine cases? How will this affect billing and insurance?

What does it mean for business?

Changes in technology will certainly be affecting industries such as Distribution, Manufacturing and Healthcare, just from the above examples. And there are many more. And how about your business?

Are you ready for the future, and how it affects your workforce?

Your employees have amazing consumer technology on their phones. Can you imagine them having compensation, benefits administration, workforce analytics, and employee life cycle software on their phones? Can you imagine them NOT having it?

How you can be best prepared

Your ability to react to changes can be restricted by the number of legacy applications running in your business. That’s why more and more businesses are moving their applications to modern cloud system that can rapidly adapt to changes. Cloud Technologies such as Kronos Workforce Dimensions keep you positioned for the future, and include advanced features such as Artificial Intelligence and Workforce Analytics today.

I can’t predict all the changes that the next ten years, or 5G, will bring. And nothing gets outdated faster than predictions of the future. But I can predict that the pace of change will not slow down, that advances in technology will continue to disrupt existing business in unexpected ways. Don’t let your Human capital management or workforce management software hold back your future. See how Kronos and our D5 Cloud Technology is positioning businesses to be ready for the next ten years and beyond.


Read more about how Kronos’s Workforce Dimensions can position you for the future of work.

Read more about 5G from Verizon and AT&T.

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2020