When many think of “the cloud”, they think of the Internet or data storage. But the cloud is evolving into a human resource – the “human cloud” – and changing the way we work, writes ANDRE HUGO, Co-founder and Chief Jammer at M4JAM.
Thanks to mobile technology, workers are no longer bound to their desks, offices, countries or even full-time jobs. Instead, they can work within the human cloud on any connected device. This gives them the power to choose what work to do and when to do it. Simultaneously, the human cloud allows your brand or business to access staff on demand, creating the flexibility to manage your workforce in accordance with client demand. It’s a win-win as we take a step beyond cloud-based businesses to cloud-based workforces.
At its core, this cloud-based workforce links to the idea of crowdsourcing. It’s about connecting brands and businesses to a community of willing workers (rather than employees) who could be anywhere in the world, provided they have an internet connection, and who are rewarded solely for their output.
Globally, there are several crowdsourcing businesses tapping into the human cloud model to fulfill a range of client requirements. Upwork (previously Elance) connects its four million clients with 10 million freelancers around the world to complete three million tasks annually, ranging from writing to programming. Kaggle brings together a community of data scientists from over 100 countries who compete with one another to solve complex data science problems for industries ranging from financial services to energy and retail. Similarly, 10EQS connects clients with global top talent in a structured, online collaboration environment to get answers to business questions quickly and inexpensively.
For businesses, that’s one of the biggest drawcards of the human cloud: quick results from real people, without breaking the bank. It’s this vision that we had in mind when launching M4JAM – a “microjobbing” platform that has racked up a community of more than 100 000 active “jobbers” in just over a year, who complete tasks ranging from surveys to point of interest validation and mystery shopping. The real differentiator for M4JAM is that the majority of our jobbers come from developing markets across Africa, which presents clients wanting to expand into the continent with real-time insights into these markets.
With this in mind, there is also potential for the human cloud to expand in other developing markets like India, Brazil and Mexico. Not only are they fertile breeding ground to grow your business or brand when you have the right insights, but there is also an untapped pool of resources ready to complete your business tasks as and when you need them.
Beyond gaining insights from these markets, the human cloud also provides you with the opportunity to address the potential skills shortage that exists when your permanent, paid employees simply don’t have the time or experience to do the work required. You’re no longer constrained by a bricks-and-mortar workspace – you can get the work you need from the cloud-based workforce.
This is particularly useful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that need the manpower and real-time insights to keep up with their biggest competitors, but lack the funds to hire a substantial permanent workforce. The ability to draw from a pool of international workers, along with the flexibility and all-round cost savings, make it a “no-brainer” that SMEs should be going the human cloud route.
Those who have already seen the power of the human cloud can advocate for its power to eliminate skills shortages, ease unemployment and change the way work and business is done. There is no doubt the need to navigate this new way of doing things to fully harness this power for both the employer and the new workforce. However, there is also no doubt that as businesses and brands continue this new model, the human workforce will become the driving force.
It’s another way the cloud is making it rain for employers and workers alike.
Welcome to world of 2099
The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.
Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.
This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.
Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.
As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.
“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”
The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.
“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.
Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com
This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.
Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.
What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.
However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.
As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.
It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.
The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.
To enter the competition follow the steps below:
Competition entry details:
3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.
4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.
5. The competition is only open to South African residents.