Public sector workers predict rise of the robots

Almost two-thirds of public sector employees believe that they will be able to use drones at work within 20 years, according to a new survey.

According to research carried out by research firm Coleman Parkes on behalf of supplier Ricoh, 62% believe that their employers will have made drones readily available to them.

It also found that 70% think augmented reality will be commonplace, with 62% believing the same about desk-based robots. Another 56% said carrier nodes – small devices fitted to the ear that allow audio and video data to be transmitted directly to the brain as electric signals – would be in everyday use.

Phil Keoghan, chief executive of Ricoh UK said: “This survey has underlined not only the enthusiasm public sector workers have for workplace technologies, but also their desire to find ways to improve citizen services.”

More than half of respondents said that new technologies will give them better access to the information they need to do their jobs (59%), while 55% said it will help them to complete tasks faster, and 51% agreed it will help to improve employee collaboration.

The research shows that apart from cost (56%) and security (46%), government regulations (43%) are perceived as greatest hindrance to embracing new technologies. In addition, 33% cited employee resistance, while 27% said difficulties connecting with legacy technology could prove a barrier.

Keoghan said: “As well as finding out what employees think their future workplace will be like, we looked into the issues that will slow the adoption process down.  These include the need to better digitize business critical processes, and review how employees access information.”

Across all sectors, 69% of workers expect to be using touch-based devices within 20 years, with 60% voting for the ability to perform all tasks by voice recognition and 56% saying augmented reality glasses would be usual within the workplace.

Colin Marrs

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