We discuss the expected office changes due to the COVID-19 virus and the technology winner/losers.
This is a pre/early COVID episode where Heather and Ryan discuss these two articles:
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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in their field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that will help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.
So there's two articles that I've sent you Devon read, Jeff, quite interesting. Did you have a chance to to have a read?
Heather Bicknell 0:37
They did? Yeah.
Ryan Purvis 0:39
Which one? Which one sparked your interest the most?
Heather Bicknell 0:43
I think, you know, we could probably maybe cover a little bit about because the wired one was so short. But I feel like there's more to dig into for me with the CIO piece,
Ryan Purvis 0:57
Yeah, I mean, the thing that I sort of What what the wide weather which I liked was the move back to city arise business parks. So having this is parks that are out of the side of the city that'll have sort of buildings they'll have in the middle of them parks or, or common areas and, and all that sort of stuff i thought was quite a quite a nice because you don't see them as much in the UK because everyone, okay, they do exist. They don't exist. But most most organizations are in the city, which is obviously, you know, a very compacted loaded area. You got sort of areas like Maidenhead or Thames Valley Thames Valley, which which are big business parks. Most thought that they're going to move that this is where things go to a business park where it's more balanced, because now people are going to be commuting less and sharing more You've probably ever lost a business park experience and sort of cubicle office experience.
Heather Bicknell 2:08
Yeah, I mean, it sounds nice for for organizations who can? Who can do that? I guess I just really associate that with, you know, Silicon Valley, the various Google Apple, you know, those kind of campuses?
Ryan Purvis 2:26
Yeah. Well, I suppose it's always go back to the satellite model. Because the other thing they talked about in the articles was sort of becoming more bicycle focused. So people been able to to cooperate in certain areas of their design and motorcycles and walking pedestrians. And they mentioned specifically Paddington and talking port road stations within Douglas. I remember Paddington because I used to ever want to have those with the headquarters from the UK was in the Pentagon just off Paddington. And And the amount of people going through that, again, Tom required it to be very pedestrian friendly. But it does does seem like a better way to avoid infection and the like if you can cycle on your own as opposed to sharing public transport with everybody.
Heather Bicknell 3:20
How big friendly is London
Unknown Speaker 3:24
in parts is quite friendly and part is not so they've been spending.
Ryan Purvis 3:29
So when I moved here, which is what 1019 years ago they had Boris bikes in place for a long time, which was then Boris Johnson as Mayor of London and put in I think it was sponsored by Barclays.
Heather Bicknell 3:45
They named them Boris bikes. I think
Ryan Purvis 3:47
the nickname was Boris bikes, but then they say well bred they're all branded blue and the idea behind that is you can basically stop at any station and you can rent a bike. I think the first Half an hour is free and then after to pay sort of two pounds a day or something like that, we've got to two pounds a day. And the idea is you could cycle from one point to another point. Then about five years ago, six years ago, they changed over from Barclays to Santander. So they're in bikes, but they're still there. So with that starting there was quite a lot of work done to tune or create bicycle lanes. Riding areas, some roads were closed off completely to create cycling a cycling highway since it's definitely a move towards it, and you do see people in the morning sort of have to tow the train with the folded biker Brompton or something like that. So they you know, they cycle to the station and they get to the station on the other side of the station to the office instead of going on the the bustle the tube to get to the office, which to me is the way to do it, you know if I can avoid the cheaper avoided. So it's quite a good culture and sort of in this pandemic been around a lot of stuff. I've seen a lot of people around my area cycling a lot. Now when they're cycling before, not, I don't know. But there's definitely a lot of people on the roads, giving the exercise that way. I mean, it's one of the best technologies ever rented, if you think about it for for human to move around. In the sense of, you know, every step you take the cyclists has got to proportionately let's say you're pushing take on your, on your cycle, you can move x millimeters before we push again. So your translation of efforts to distance is really, really good. They've been with us and what they're saying in this article. They're pushing more and more for that to be the way of moving people around. Which could only be better for the climate and for people that are going into the cities to to offer the help or at least
Heather Bicknell 6:11
that i i was a bike eater for many years and I've always enjoyed it. I mean it you it's funny because you have to kind of it's not it's not as it takes it requires a little bit more thought and planning then driving or, or taking public transit just in, you know what you what you can wear and what the weather's like I'm having, you know, you can't carry an umbrella so you have rain gear and getting any sort of, you know, reflectors or safety equipment. It isn't nice. I've always found it to be kind of a relaxing way to get in and out of work. It kind of creates a nice transition. And recently I've been I just walked to work because it's like, not not too far away. And I've always enjoyed that.
Ryan Purvis 7:11
Yeah, I mean I've also been debated by for a while and now is when we let the tools to go to where the station is it's just 25 minute walk which is just too long to make it a makes my day that make my day longer if I can walk there and walk back. So the bike is definitely something I'm thinking about and I actually got a new hold it for my phone called quite luck, which is quite impressive. I really, really like it. I mean, I've got all the accessories. So you get a stand that my desk and I lock my phone into a wireless charger that you can buy to put into it. So the nugget is like I put it on the chart and there's quite a lot which is silver as you put it On at 45 degrees and you've go either clockwise or anti clockwise to pay the tree or the phone to me, and it locks into place. And they're similar stand and it's and if I'm on a call to use my phone to connect, and I got the camera pointing to me at the right angle, it doesn't adjust the angle that it's pretty much really at the right angles, give me the video for the call. And then the same sort of coverts on the car, which are the same charging on the wrist. And so it's great to be in the corner, sort of purple phone on to navigate somewhere. And that's all all the same mechanism. So it's got a nice color that protects it or kind of stuff. And this actually comes back to the bike. My cousin showed it to me a couple weeks ago, he's grown his motorbike. So he's at four. He bought his own motorcycle, and he took out the speech of the speeder. Why don't we RPM gauge. And he's put his phone with this with his quad lock connector. So GPS actually does, he's got an app that basically it's his digital displays his phone on his back. And the reason why he did that is because the quad lock is so strong enough that these photo shoots is held in the right position and charges and that kind of stuff. It's quite a nifty component. So let me say that is that when I get my bicycle, the same car lock mechanism on there. So I can do that kind of stuff using the phone. So if you get back into the writings with a kid
Heather Bicknell 9:45
Yeah, I think there are some like bike handlebar and different phone attachments. Yeah. Or if you're if you really want to Spring for something and you can get a nice Garmin that will have GPS I just have like a regular old speedometer that I use I worked in a bike shop for a few years so I have I have a bit eight year and I bought I while I was there I made sure that I use all the employee discounts and stuff to build out my own my own bike so I'm very proud of my my bike but I haven't gotten out the summer yet which is unfortunate I need to do that I just need to replace my tubes. I think a great option for a lot of people just while we're on this subject is some sort of like pedal assist or or ebike they tend to be you know, more expensive of course but they can make it a little bit easier for you to do commute. So you know, I think probably for a lot of people one of the main barriers it's just it's, it might be a little bit far for them to by commute. So having like, you know, I like an electronic system. Strength would make it a lot easier.
Ryan Purvis 11:03
Yeah, someone he was hard to do because he used to cycle in from his house to the city and Harmon Balfour was I want to say something like 30 miles or 20 miles. So it was, it was far enough that it wasn't it wasn't trivial. It took about an hour and 10 minutes to cycling. And he would work in a game for seven and he would leave late at night as one cycle back and you're just just thinking of that. Two hours on the bike is especially a long, long day. I suppose it's good for your distress. But I remember him saying he was the candy back just just for those days when you tie your socks up their long Hill in your legs onto on feeling it they must be must be getting coming down in price. I think technology must be getting there.
Heather Bicknell 11:54
Yeah, I feel like doing that dude. That kind of queue every day would be pretty brutal. It sounds like
Unknown Speaker 12:01
Ryan Purvis 12:03
I mean, he received a few years of coverage early became the law. And your body probably gets used to it. But yeah, I remember when I first moved to Houston, that's a really, really common thing to do. Anyway, so the other article, sort of going back to our returning today, this was the 14 technology winners and losers posts on the cio.com website. Maybe you start as opposed to me because I was awful.
Heather Bicknell 12:36
Sure, um, yeah, I actually had this post Of course, I you know, I subscribed to CIO as well. So I got the newsletter, pushing it out, but I feel like I've seen it around quite a bit. But I feel like you can boil it down to the technology winners are things that are typically software and don't require people to To be together and in groups and then the losers are things where you need to have physical presence for them to matter. So in that case, I there was something I found particularly surprising about their list. And maybe we can just dive into some of the list options and kind of talk talk through those I guess, is there anything that that stood out to you is a surprising winner or loser?
Ryan Purvis 13:31
Yeah, so so I guess I mean, if I if I look at some of these these items, so we've got bring your own device was a winner. And obviously that was a Fed to extented law for a while ago. And it was almost one of those things that yes, legislative devices in and then the actual reality of how you mentioned devices, some setting them became a more complicated than they're not that BYD has come back in is interesting. Although I think the technology that exists nowadays, like anything bad things happen to, for example, where it's a bit easier to manage them external device has made it more prevalent. But I think the needs must sort of overwrote everything. So as a thing to call yesterday, one of the networking things that I've been part of where they actually had to issue out a whole bunch of vanilla laptops, to staff and even give a number but that sort of 25,000 staff, they had to buy a certain amount, because those people actually didn't have home devices. And something they wanted to avoid in the future. And one of the things I mentioned as part of his strategy was to actually have a BYOD fund where they would give and it wasn't a lot of money, but I think it was somewhere in the hundreds of dollars range to start with a certain level to go and buy their own devices to use Thought quite surprised that this came up as a winner. I was surprised. I'm surprised that it's thrown around as a concept that some of these people would really heard. In essence, you think about our parents and you think about, you know, buying Chromebooks, which should be expensive. People should be able to do to the information age, if they do this job should be able to buy those devices and the last 365 connecting.
Heather Bicknell 15:35
Yeah, I think one of the points that the article made was that since iPads you know, and we were just talking about this in a previous episode, but since iPads and phones can do so much more for us that they can satisfy a lot of people's, you know, everyday computing needs. So not everyone may have a laptop for that reason, you know, if the iPad is good enough for them. So I think When it came time to, you know, have to fully work from home.
Unknown Speaker 16:06
Maybe that wasn't enough for some people
Heather Bicknell 16:10
you know, eight hour eight hour work device. Me I think, you know, the, the counterpoint to that BYOD was that corporate hardware specifically, you know, desktops were going to be a loser and, you know, this makes sense to me is a longer term trend because I feel like BYOD BYOD could, you know, easily fizzle out again, when offices do
Unknown Speaker 16:35
Heather Bicknell 16:38
But then move to a mobile a more mobile strategy to be able to have a more flexible workspace, you know, into if you need to respond to an emergency like this again, I feel like the case for laptops will be a lot stronger.
Ryan Purvis 16:57
Yeah, I mean, because it has to Corporate hardware and a lot of the trend, at least in the bigger companies has been to go VDI, and some form of VDI. And with EBD. As an offering, it all falls over, if you don't have that BYOD device, you don't have something, you know, thinking about the Agile offering where you plug in a USB stick into the device, and then that turns into a corporate device for you. Basically, simplifying what they're trying to do. And it but it still requires you to have that that device at home something, you know, whether it's whether it's an old device, or a low power device to get you to get you going. So I think there's almost a benefit that is associated to employees that they have to have some sort of allowance to go and buy a device and it always needs to specify that if you ever buy a device, it needs to be found an iPhone six A high five processor with 16 gigs of RAM at least get some some longevity out of the device as opposed to going to buy the cheapest, cheapest thing they can find and then pocketing the difference and complaining to it that they can't do anything.
Heather Bicknell 18:18
Yeah, I have heard of some companies planning for this sort of redundancy where and and maybe it's you know, part of it's giving people budget to buy their own device and bring it home but just, you know, provisioning them from the company. So instead of when everyone goes back, taking all of the all of the hardware, you know, any monitors, any mice keyboards, whatever they took from the office, instead of having people take that back in to leave it and then buy everything again for the office so that everyone has the workstation they need at home and everyone has it at the office and just plan planned for that as a strategy going forward?
Ryan Purvis 19:02
Yeah. What I heard yesterday from a few companies, what they were saying is that the people that were that were set up by the company at home, we're gonna leave the kids that they had in the house. And then we're not bringing it back. And then we're going to reprovision in the office of s3 provision. So almost take that as a hit.
Unknown Speaker 19:27
I'll say them up.
Heather Bicknell 19:30
Yeah, I mean, I feel like right now, it's gonna be so interesting. Like, we have this whole record of podcasts and, you know, videos, just people talking their way through this pandemic. Just keep imagining, like if we could listen back on podcasts from the Spanish Flu times and what people will be saying, but, you know, I feel like if you are hoping to bring employees back into the office anytime soon, you know before we have Have a vaccine and this threat has kind of dissipated. You have to build that agility and right and agile was another winner on this list. Because you know, you don't know when you might need to, you know, when you're sitting like on lockdown again and everyone has to go home and you want to avoid the sort of panic that you had to go through the first time, what you see in Beijing early today, they've had to go back into lockdown, or the second way really expensive tickets, all other things and they basically start the process again of
Ryan Purvis 20:38
social distancing in court a lot and I call it something else. So yeah, exactly that being being flexible and agile is always going to be important. I mean, everyone that I spoke with yesterday will listen to your setup and same thing, any plan they may longer than a week ahead, got changed, and in some cases was getting changed daily. Just to just react in the situation walltime which is, which is fine for a short period of time. I mean, this lockdown UK was downgraded today from level four level three. So technically we've been in probably this for about a month but we haven't really followed in you, you know, so it's never been a noted thing that we have five levels or three levels at all recently. Yeah, they can easily go back to level four which means more lockdowns and the rest of it which means more freedom. So yeah, it's all happening on a constantly changing bases.
Heather Bicknell 21:39
Yeah, this article did prompt me to look into contact tracing a little bit more. So I went down on a rabbit hole last night where I was, you know, diving into some, you know, research white papers and whatnot just to try to understand the the role if any of like the app based approach such as the one that Google and Apple came together to, to work on with the, you know, Bluetooth signaling to to enable people to be linked and notified with while while preserving their privacy as well.
Ryan Purvis 22:20
Yeah, that's that that was always gonna be a sticky one. I see that see the NHS app has been discontinued, I think was an article I read yesterday. And they're now going to follow the apple Google option which which is a totally anonymized version. Whereas I think NHS one was not anonymized. Or it was this it was this privacy conscious. Yeah. And if you look at how it was used in China, there was a couple of videos that floated around sort of middle of May, where if you arrived in the country, you there was a wreck system and you knew basically if you really Have to self isolate if you are under cautionary, and if you're green, you're an artist do certain things. So the most things, and that was all tied into each application that we chat. Yeah, yeah. So so like, for example, the junos that arrived he was marked as red when he got this he had to wait two weeks in his hotel was an apartment quality that he was allowed out, but he had to be cautious and he wasn't allowed to drive a car he was allowed to take another walk to places and then when you go to creative lab, Dr.
Heather Bicknell 23:41
Yanni I you know, you know, privacy and and all aside to me. Kind of the biggest flaw with this with trying to bring technology into it is adoption. So of course if you have you know, country that's enforcing it, you know, 100% on everyone, you know, everyone has to comply with this and allow me to put this thing on their phone. You know, then you have great coverage, right? Doing this kind of thing work. That I just don't I know, there's a few US states considering it, that that based approach, just to to supplement the normal contact tracing method that's very manual, just enrolling people and getting workers who are set up to do that. But I just don't see the us having the bio people people opting into that and self reporting. I guess Singapore is already rolled out a contact tracing app like this, and I think they only have 20% participation, which I think the article said would capture like three to 4% or something of You know, times where where this where you might be near someone who's infected or it was something low like that in terms of the success rate for what it was trying to do. So I guess that's that's the issue with trying to to make this happen as a as a volunteer thing, which I think is why you know, we would we would need it to be to get the buy in from folks so to me that was the major downfall But yeah, I mean sounds like the UK was has been considering it more strongly. My understanding was that, you know, they've had to move away from the model that they were doing because Apple said, like, No, we won't support that.
Ryan Purvis 25:47
I hadn't really I shouldn't read the details Be honest. I I read so it's all my sort of open tabs to read. All I would have seen as a headline wasn't they they discontinued the HSF They're going to use the Google model, which I believe would be applicable. And that was using anonymize signatures and, and that sort of sort of thing. So you'd get notified via the app that you've been close to someone that was infected, but you'd have no idea. And no one else would know, unless they were also near that person. Who was that there was an infection and it could have could affect you. You have to contact your GP or whatever it is to take it forward. It was the cleanest way of doing it, I think, with protecting privacy and getting the desired result. All contact tracing?
Heather Bicknell 26:41
Yeah, I think it's, you know, through the low band Bluetooth approach and then storing the, the data would be anonymous and stored on everyone's, you know, on your phone, so you'd have like that record. Just locally, and I think the the other Approach either using location data or storing, storing data in some sort of government database. I think it was what the the initial thought was with the with the UK. But Apple and Google were trying to, to avoid that. So I think it was there's a, there was an interesting slate article on it, which kind of talked about how, you know, this is an example of turning the whole Silicon Valley privacy story on its on its head of it, because we typically think of, you know, I guess Apple is a bit of a better reputation here, but other tech companies, you know, not not being privacy conscious first, then have them kind of be the ones to build that into the model is sort of a nice change of pace.
Ryan Purvis 27:49
Yeah. to, to me, has been has always been the strongest advocate for privacy, that they were working with Google on this name. Got a solution together kind of gives me some confidence that the solution might actually be safe inverted commas. If If I, you know, I shouldn't say never. But if I was an Android device today would be. I wouldn't trust Google with that data. Because they are the biggest advertising company in the world. Let's, let's be honest. Yeah. That apples involved with some credibility. And yeah, I mean, to be honest, I would probably sign up for the contact tracing app, but I would do it only if Apple was involved. And I think that's, that's where everyone's going. It does surprise me that there's so many sort of bespoke solutions been bought. So you know, I think the current states in America are building their own their own contact tracing house, rather than rather just go to the big suppliers like Apple and Google and say, Look, you know, it's your hardware. Can you do something that that keeps the privacy strong, it gives us the desire to do anyway, and that becomes part of the core, the core product and you can opt in On the product, but it's installed for you. You don't make it turned on. You have to go in and opt into it. But it shouldn't be too much choice, I think because we're trying to deal with something that hasn't really happened before. You talked about the Spanish flu, which is 100 years ago. This is, you know, one of those once in a lifetime events again, pretty. So a little bit of extra special attention to 40 words.
Heather Bicknell 29:28
Yeah, I mean, you know, we have so much better health care systems and technology and knowledge than we do, then. You know, and then as many people have Yeah, I mean, I guess the other the other thing I wanted to note with the Apple and Google app was the the thought that once once we don't need this technology anymore, you know, once this pandemic is over that it would be The whole thing would be wiped from the next OS update so that Google Apple, Google, especially like, there's no there'll be no data to make use of anymore because they just get rid of that functionality. With an update, which I thought was, was, again, like a reassuring approach that that seems to be built in.
Ryan Purvis 30:22
Yeah, not to be too cynical, but that requires someone to actually say it's over. Yeah. And it's too easy says it's never gonna go away. Yeah. I mean, I always take the opposite view to say look, you Welcome to the data. Interviewer read Kevin Kelly's book. I think it's called the tall eventualities or something like that. But one of those things is your data is going to be out there. You know, you're gonna choose what's out there. But it's inevitable it's going to be out there. And this is one of the things so so if I don't have a problem because it's anonymized. And as I said, apples involve some level covered and haven't done the deep enough summon the voted, in essence, because if it helps solve bone, keep it we're unhealthy and lots of stuff and then use it. When it gets into the level of, you know, you send me something because I went to the shops twice today for you selling my pattern to someone else and making money out of a different issue.
Heather Bicknell 31:29
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean, I think, you know, I think we're all we're all aware that there are many ways that we have, you know, that a lot of is lost a lot of privacy, right. So that, to a certain extent, a lot of this information is already you know, can already be found, but yeah, I mean, I think at least in the US, I think it's not even it's not this, it's not, you know, it's kind of frustrating because I feel like that the sentiment isn't around. I don't want to have this app because Privacy necessarily, it's just like, you know, unfortunately, this has, I feel like it's been drawn on on political lines. So, you know, people just just don't some people just don't care. And when opt in for that reason, so I don't think we'd meet the I think it's like a 60% of the population needs to opt in for it to work. So I just don't, don't see that happening. Maybe in some cities, you know, I think maybe in different locations that could be successful. But
Ryan Purvis 32:33
you know, which was previously my last lie to say that I was surprised that it came up in such a big loser. And that was the modeling and past data. This probably comes with article phrases such as around the AI and machine learning buzzwords and their activity in the last sort of, I don't know five years and say what will the police activity almost Almost saying here that everything that we've had before this pandemic can be thrown away now because the endemics changed everything, and under really agree with that, yeah, potentially it's changed some things. And it is data that would have to be tossed out, but at least re realigned. But I think stuff that's happened in history can always be used to predict of some of the future. I mean, that's kind of the whole deal behind machine learning and AI is to be able to address the patterns and and optimize them for the future.
Unknown Speaker 33:36
of thought, so sorry.
Heather Bicknell 33:38
Yeah, I did I you know, it seemed like an oversimplification. And it really depends what sort of datasets you're talking about, right, in terms of whether benchmarking would still be relevant.
Unknown Speaker 33:53
Heather Bicknell 33:54
I mean, I, you know, I think maybe, to be to be generous. Their their point was probably that, you know, for the near term that this activity has made a lot of modeling more difficult than it was before. It's it's harder to, you know, predict with certainty, right? Because there there are more unknowns and things aren't so stable. So in terms of immediate forecasting, for some things through the pandemic, I can see how that would be trickier to do right now. I'm
Ryan Purvis 34:32
not sure this. So it's, it's kind of expected at this point in time that we have to. We can't there's the stability is not there. As much as we'd like it to be. I mean, we don't know when this is going to end. Is this another three months? Is it another six months is just another two weeks?
Heather Bicknell 34:54
Yeah, I'm just gonna take it day by day, week by week right now.
Ryan Purvis 34:59
Exactly. Exactly right and this is anything else to cover. Maybe we end off there.
Heather Bicknell 35:05
Yeah, no, I think that's good,
Ryan Purvis 35:07
too, but thank you for listening today's episode. Hey, the big producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.
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