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The Impacts of 5G and XR in Workplace Design- An Interview with Rohan Sharma

Post COVID-19, it is clear that technology will play a vital role in workplace transformation. However, truthfully, it has been on the cards for quite a while already. Zyeta has been involved in extensive industry research regarding the same and is now proud to bring you a series of expert interviews from renowned industry experts and thought leaders. The workplace is evolving, and so is the nature of workplace design. We are extremely proud to share our latest industry insight with our readers.

In our first interview, Zyeta’s Client Success Manager Shwetha Nadgir and Head-of-Research Aparna Anirudhan sat down with Rohan Sharma, Director & Head-Research at Cushman & Wakefield to collect his latest thoughts regarding the usage of 5G and XR technology in the workplace.

Explore the entire interview below.

A & S: Firstly, let us peek into the future. How much of a role do you predict technology would have in real estate (RE) of India in say, five years?

Rohan: To understand the impact of technology in any field there should be a clear context as to how the organization wants to perform. Hence the growth or impact of technology would be unique to every organization. Truthfully, India is currently five years behind the global-growth of technology. However, the country has shown a keen focus on captive markets which are completely technology-driven. Which I think, is a clear indication that technology would influence India’s real estate industry too.

A & S: How do we counteract the apprehension of implementing new technology?

Rohan Sharma: There are challenges in infrastructure, and most are external. This is where research will play a big role; with an even bigger role for development. R&D in India is helping bridge that very apparent gap between use and implementation of disruptive technology and infrastructure. Clarity and a consensus would be the desired results, and these would help India to progress digitally globally.

Also, there is a need for organizations to open themselves to the idea of digital transformation (DT). The need for a DT policy would be apparent now and for sure in the future.

A & S: How well are companies prepared for Digital Transformation?

Rohan Sharma: Organizations are quite ready to deploy tried and tested technology. There must be support for the R&D of disruptive technologies in this regard. But yes, being eager to deploy does not guarantee preparedness as such. There is also the factor of the cost when it comes to adoption of new technology services. Unless they are absolutely convinced that the use of technology is relevant to their benefit, there would not be readiness from their side.

A & S: The main reasons for using 5G is its high speed and low latency. These are factors when it comes to seamless communication during remote working. Do you agree?

Rohan Sharma: Since there is a tag of affordability attached to mobile networks, they would always be easier to use, whether it is within the office or outside the physical office space, be it 3G, 4G or 5G. But seamless communication and collaboration are also a part of designing an open office plan. Therefore, technology must help enhance that communication within the physical boundaries of a place as well as for remote workers.

A & S: How do you think technology can aid employees?

Rohan Sharma: I think technology would aid humans and not hinder the progress, contrary to many beliefs. To utilize it properly technology should be used as a tool rather than a business role in organizations. That way technology would not control employees’ roles in the organization and make them feel welcomed and needed.

There must also be a significant rise in making workspaces customizable with technology. Overall, making design inclusive is essential, more like ‘by the person rather than for the person’. This approach would help in retention too.

It is basically giving access to technology to help employees work and perform well, such as wearable technology.

A & S: Do you see remote working rising as and when network usage and speed rise?

Rohan Sharma: There is always a need for people to meet up in a physical space as humans are social animals by nature and habit. And, the rise in remote working would bring about a fall in office utilization. But a physical office is where an organization can keep its employees under one roof and most efficiently conduct its business. So even though technology would help in supporting remote working, I think there would have to be a bigger factor for organizations to go all-remote.

Originally published on LinkedIn October 8, 2020

Related read: A Technologically Enhanced World

Aparna, the Research Head at Zyeta, with her research prowess uncovers valuable insights that drive informed decision-making. Collaborating seamlessly with Zyeta designers, she ensures that her research aligns perfectly with clients' design needs. This synergy results in optimized resource allocation, strategic choices, and outstanding project outcomes, making her expertise an indispensable advantage for clients seeking a successful workspace for their organisation.

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