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Coronavirus will speed up 4IR

COVID-19 is forcing the worlds of business and education to embrace many of the tools that will drive the fourth industrial revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The most common platforms and applications being used for remote working include:

Microsoft Teams: a “unified communication and collaboration platform” that hosts video meetings and presentations, file sharing and storage, document collaboration, and “persistent chat” – meaning an online text conversation becomes an ongoing record of communication. It includes Skype for Business, so those familiar with Skype will not have a steep learning curve.

Citrix Workspace: a digital workspace software platform that allows multiple users to remotely access and operate windows desktops via PCs, tablets, and other devices.  It means workers don’t have to drag their workplace computers home, but can access their work desktop as if they are at the office. It avoids the need to license work software for home use, and also includes Skype for Business.

Amazon WorkSpaces: one of the leaders in an emerging field known as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). It helps eliminate complexity in managing hardware, operating system versions and patches, and virtual desktops.

Slack: a group instant messaging platform for organisations. Originally designed to replace email as the main form of communicating and sharing inside a company, it allows communications to be shared and organised by channels for group discussions. Private messages are still allowed for sharing information and files.

TeamViewer: best known for remote-control of computers, it is a software application that is also used for desktop sharing, online meetings, web conferencing and file transfer. 

Trello: helps keep track of workflow, tasks and collaboration via a list-making and tracking board system. It’s biggest plus: preventing double work. As remote working takes off, organisations will often wrestle with different people repeating the same job unnecessarily.

It is clear that the coronavirus crisis will have at least one positive outcome. It will provide a dramatic, global and unavoidable case study of the fourth industrial revolution in action.

We will quickly discover that the 4IR is not about artificial intelligence and robots taking our jobs, but about the digital enablement of much of the human workforce.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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