A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project predicts the mobile phone will be the primary point of Internet access for most tech consumers. The report also predicts that the line between work life and personal life will increasingly blur, as technologies such as touch-screen interfaces and voice recognition will become more prevalent by 2020.
The study surveyed 1200 tech-savvy participants about what they expected from the future. The participants predicted that telephony will be offered under a set of universal standards and protocols accepted by most operators internationally, making for reasonably effortless movement from one part of the world to another. For the small to midsized business (SMB) owner, the results of the survey suggest that a more internationally flexible mobile infrastructure will make international transactions and growth easier, while the prevalence of the Web on mobile devices and smart phones (which the survey predicts will have considerable computing power by 2020) will let SMB owners access their business dealings nearly anytime and anywhere.
Moreover, the survey suggests that outside of formally scheduled activities, work and play will be seamlessly integrated in most workers' lives. Pew considers this potential future would be a net-positive for people, as communication flexibility lets them blend personal and professional duties wherever they happen to be when called upon to perform them, be it from their homes, the gym, the mall, a library, and possibly even their company’s communal meeting space, which might exist in a new virtual-reality format. A majority of expert respondents (56 percent) agreed with the statement that in 2020 “few lines (will) divide professional from personal time, and that’s OK.”
Not everyone who participated agrees, however. “The result may be longer, less efficient working hours and more stressful home life,” says participant Victoria Nash, director of graduate studies and policy and research officer, the Oxford Internet Institute