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How the tech revolution put a price tag on efficiency - everywhere

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Today, internet-powered tools are an integral part of our day-to-day lives; we turn to technology when we need to book holiday accommodation, get a taxi, find and make reservations at a good restaurant or find out when the next bus is due. New technology makes our lives easier and provides us with the kind of flexibility and variety of options our grandparents couldn’t have dreamed of.

With the launch of Hotmail and ICQ in 1996, millions of people got access to email and messaging services, enabling instant communication and fuelling major shifts in how companies conducted business.

This invention has had major implications for the global economy, helping optimise thousands of processes across the whole spectrum of industries – from travel to logistics and finance, allowing people turn around multimillion-pound transactions with a click of the mouse.

The hospitality sector is a great example of how businesses have harnessed the power of technology, offering customers speed, a wider range of options and more attractive pricing. Booking.com was among the first tech companies within the hospitality sector to enable people to bypass travel agents and get access to thousands of accommodation options online from their own homes. In addition to that, it offered users the option of filtering hotels by rating and the types of facilities available, making it possible for them to tailor the accommodation to their needs. The service turned out to be so popular that it is now available in 43 languages, with over 28 million listings across the world, and many of us rely on it to this day for both business and leisure.

Eleven years later, roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came up with a simple yet revolutionary idea of turning their living room into a bed and breakfast by putting an air mattress into it, which was how the concept behind AirBnb came into existence. The new service emerged as a response to a perceived gap in the market, offering a more immersive and authentic hospitality experience than a standardised hotel at a lower price. In addition to that, it enabled people with spare rooms or vacant properties to let them on a short-term basis and generate extra income. The new offering resonated with the millennial generation, known to be driving the experience economy, and since its launch, the service has expanded to offer cooking classes and a whole host of other activities which get travellers to experience a day in the life of a local.

Switching from PC to laptop

Uber is an obvious example of how tech helped optimise a process by enabling users to book taxis through an app and offering a new tracking functionality, which makes it possible for the passenger to follow the route in real-time. Back in the day, booking a taxi required calling a local minicab service or fetching a cab on the street, which was especially problematic in remote locations or in times of bad weather.

The office sector has also undergone a transformation over the past few decades. Driven by a growing awareness of different working patterns and styles, desire to fuel employee productivity, and, of course, technology, the 2020 office bears little resemblance to its predecessor from 30 years ago.

While many companies still provide employees with conventional stationary PCs, many of the more forward-looking employers have switched to laptops, tablets and hot desks, which allow people to work from different locations in the office, depending on the business needs and their own preferences.

Back in 2017, the Carnegie Mellon University introduced the world to autonomous robot Berry, an office manager, who could count the number of workers doing overtime, measured noise levels, checked if the fire doors were closed. Outsourcing some of the day-to-day chores to a robot and getting employees to work on more creative tasks instead is something several progressive companies have been trialling for the past few years in the pursuit of greater efficiency.

The workspace itself has adapted to reflect the seismic shifts in technology. Gone are the days when companies were forced to take out inflexible leases on impersonal and often outdated spaces which didn’t reflect their identity, needs and business forecasts. Today, business owners can bypass agents and select the right office space out of a carefully curated collection of modern spaces with state-of-the-art facilities and plenty of perks to help attract and retain top talent.

The office is catching up

With the emergence of new agent-free services like Spacepool, businesses can view, connect and agree contracts with providers wherever they are, which makes it possible for them to generate savings and make crucial business decisions faster. Removing the middleman means businesses can devote their full attention to their commercial goals and strategy, instead of wasting precious time and resource on briefing agents, having regular check-ins and visiting the spaces that don’t reflect their culture and ambition.

Another advantage of office listing platforms is the fact that they make it possible for the office space providers to secure the right type of businesses at every location, fostering a collaborative culture, where people can exchange ideas and flourish. Technology is a great force for good, but as we spend more time connected, it is important to be in an environment which fosters healthy face-to-face interaction, which is essential to our wellbeing and success.

While the office space sector hasn’t been at the forefront of embracing technology, it is catching up, acknowledging that the one-size-fits-all approach is no longer viable. The tech revolution has fuelled this quest for ever-increasing flexibility, instant solutions and direct engagement across the board, and businesses need to embrace these changes to stay afloat. Today’s customers no longer wish to waste any time on outdated processes and practices, so the focus on efficiency will continue to be front of mind among successful business leaders.

Eugene Tavyev, Founder and CEO, Spacepool