6 Cutting-Edge Business Technologies You’ll Likely Use in the Next Decade

technology tools

What will the coming 10 years bring?

You can’t answer this question any more than the next person. The future is inherently unpredictable.

That’s not to say we can’t read the technological tea leaves and state with some confidence the changes we expect to see in certain domains, like the workplace.

All six of these business technologies already exist in some form, but they’re likely to become even more important — and more relevant to non-specialists — in the years ahead.

  1. At Least One Coding Language That’s Not HTML

Python. Ruby on Rails. Java. C. PHP.

Those are just some of the many coding languages already in heavy use in workplaces around the world. If you’ve thus far escaped responsibility for learning and practicing one or more of these languages, that streak is likely to end as employers demand higher coding literacy and increasingly automated business environments adopt digital vernacular.

  1. Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

As the cost of cutting-edge additive manufacturing processes like PolyJet 3D printing technology fall, it’s safe to bet that we’ll see more 3D printing machines in more white-collar workplaces. Businesses that choose not to invest directly in 3D printing equipment will have a wider range of partners capable of delivering small-run production, rapid prototyping, 3D modeling, and other critical services on demand.

  1. Augmented Reality

Google Glass has come and gone, but don’t sleep on augmented reality. In a few years, information-rich direct visual displays could be as common as smartwatches, liberating the data streams on which we depend from fixed screens and quite literally opening our eyes to new ways of seeing the world.

  1. Machine Learning

Those data streams will grow smarter, too. Those who understand the principles of machine learning — and, especially, those capable of speaking directly to machine learning systems — will be indispensable keepers of the productivity flame. Lest you assume your field has no use for machine learning technology, fear not: no information-dependent niche will be spared.

  1. Automated Scheduling Software

On the disruption scale, automated scheduling seems like a far cry from machine learning or augmented reality — technologies that stand to fundamentally change business and, indeed, life as we know it. But automated scheduling’s productivity-boosting proposition is too powerful to ignore. A bear market for office manager jobs (and email volumes) is sure to follow.

  1. Blockchain

Ah, yes, blockchain. You’ve heard of it, no doubt. But could you explain it to a colleague?

Soon enough, you’ll have to. Though many experts believe blockchain’s most tantalizing benefits are years away, applications for supply chain management and other custody-dependent industries are already readily apparent.

Caution: Disruption Ahead

Predicting the future is part science and a whole lot of art. There’s a whole field of study devoted to it, in fact: futurism. Some unlikely futurists turn out to be quite prescient, while others — including those who claim the mantle of “scientific futurism,” don’t make out so well.

No matter what futurist wags say about what lies ahead, you can bet on one thing: the workplace of the late 2020s will be different in important, and perhaps fundamental, ways than the workplace of the present. Prepare well now and you might just find yourself in a position to lead tomorrow.