What do you mean you’re not upset? The internet of senses sa

What do you mean you’re not upset? The internet of senses says you are!

28 October 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Ericsson has introduced the concept of the internet of senses in its latest report on what technology will be able to offer in the future.

The internet of senses will even highlight when people are upset, says the report. And it will allow people to taste their memories.

The IndustryLab report says that professionals are expecting connected technology to power a fully virtual office by 2030, complete with physical senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.

Michael Björn, Ericsson Consumer and IndustryLab’s head of research agenda, said: “Office work will not go back to the way it was before the pandemic. Instead, employees will spend more time working digitally and, for this reason, drive the need for future technologies on a scale and at a pace that was unimaginable only a year ago.”

Over 50% of respondents told Ericsson they want a fully digital workstation allowing full-sensory presence at work. Six in 10 predict a permanent increase in online meetings with customers, colleagues, and suppliers.

And 77% believe an “internet of sense” for business would make their company more sustainable, helping the environment.

For the report, The Dematerialized Office, Ericsson surveyed 8,400 white collar workers from 16 countries, people who are early adopters of assisted reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) or virtual assistants. The report is here (PDF)

Ericsson has promoted the idea of the internet of senses before, in a 2019 – pre-pandemic – report that explored the shift from a screen-based internet connectivity to an immersive experience.

But this takes it a long way further. “During this Covid-19 isolation people everywhere are rediscovering the importance of the smells and the flavours and the sheer physicality of the locations they normally frequent and do business in,” said Björn. “In fact, the pandemic has created a tipping point for what white collar workers expect of the future digital office.”

This is about more than just better video meetings, he said. It is also about collaborating digitally in the same room with colleagues – which is why interest in AR/VR technology has grown rapidly over the last six months.

Nearly three-quarters – 73% – of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030. And 77% indicate that an internet of senses for business use would make their company more sustainable.

And 66% said that, by 2030, technology will enable them to sense when a colleague is upset. But that also means their employer will know when they themselves are upset, the report says.