Students across the country are cramming for finals, planning graduation parties, and preparing themselves for their first “real world” jobs. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects nearly 2 million students will graduate with their bachelor’s degree as the Class of 2017.
Most of these students, known as Generation Z, were born in the late 90’s and early 2000s, directly following the millennials.
Unlike generations before them, these graduates grew up with the Internet. There was never a time when they didn’t have the World Wide Web at their fingertips for research, entertainment, or news. Nearly 36 percent of Gen Zers admit to spending an average of 6 to 10 hours per day on their mobile devices.
Not only has this group always had access to the Internet, but it’s also shaped their expectations of technology. They expect technology to make their lives easier and better. This expectation drives technology to be smaller, better, faster, more intuitive, and more powerful. As they graduate, expect Gen Zers to further change the world of technology. Here are three of the industries where they are expected to have a significant impact:
The real-time health information captured on popular wearable technologies like Apple Watches will grow beyond heart-rates, steps, and sleep patterns to include additional vitals and medical triggers. Expect this data to be integrated into medical records and future technology to push alerts out to smartphone to drive key actions.
Imagine receiving a message on your smartphone while you’re at work from your child’s wearable or internal medical sensor. Your child has a fever and the onset of an ear infection. Your phone tells you it may be time to start antibiotics.
Or, maybe your aging mom lives in an apartment alone. With the assistance of technology, you could receive an alert that her blood pressure is high, triggering you to stop at her apartment after work and ensure she’s taking her blood pressure medication.
Productivity is about to get re-defined by a generation that grew up with the ability to turn their drive time into a work session or entertaining experience.
With them taking the lead, you’ll soon be able to get in your car, tell it to take you to work and use your commute time to catch-up on emails, return phone calls, or work on the presentation for your 9 am meeting.
Driverless cars are already exist and will continue to make strides. The new graduates have grown up trusting technology, rather than the doubting it like other generations. This trust will empower the adoption of autonomous cars and robot operated transportation.
3. Home and facility automation
Imagine pulling up to your home and your garage door opening, sensing your arrival. Or, imagine that your home automation system recognizes that you typically leave work at 4:52, so it turns on your home’s air conditioner at 4:50. Instead of cooling your whole home, your home automation system opens vents in the rooms you use most while closing vents in other rooms to keep you cool while saving you money.
With Generation Zers on the leading edge of adoption, home and facility automation will continue to evolve. In the last 12-18 months alone, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in smart-home technology. Products like Google Home and Amazon Echo have entered the home automation space and provide access to productivity apps like to-do lists, calendars, and search engines with just your voice.
Smart-home type automation will seep into the workplace as well where Gen Zers will automate certain aspects of facility management, patient experience, and business operations. Where smoke detectors in your home help your thermostat know you are still home, similar sensors in your practice will help you understand and improve workflows, decreasing wait times and improving the patient experience. Also, imagine installing smart garbage cans in your exam rooms. Whenever you throw something away, the smart garbage can reads the barcode off the packaging, automatically orders more of that supply when it is low, and ensures the patient receives an invoice for that item if appropriate.
These technological advancements may seem foreign and sometimes frivolous, but in addition to convenience, they offer a potential to conserve energy, save lives, and improve overall quality of life.
As we welcome 2017’s graduates into the workforce, let’s embrace the unique value they bring to our businesses and work together for the greater good.
This group of graduates is different – and together, we have the potential to change the world.