Jargon buster

1

Analytics

A system which helps you process and/or examine large amounts of data in order to explain or interpret it.

In action

We're surrounded by more data than ever before. From knowing which social media posts are most popular to complex models which help predict future trends in fashion, food or finance, analytics are used to help inform business decisions every day.

Did you know...

Shops can use data about buying habits to predict a break-up, pregnancy or what a customer is likely to choose next.

What's the future?

We've already seen an increase in tools which help make data beautiful. As volumes continue to grow, the future will see simpler ways of visualising and interpreting that data.

A system which helps you process and/or examine large amounts of data in order to explain or interpret it.

2

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The ability of computers to think, behave and make decisions in a human-like way.

In action

From driverless cars on the road to virtual assistants in the home, AI is no longer just the stuff of science-fiction. You may have spoken to a chatbot to answer basic questions without even realising. Massive strides are being made in the ability of computers to interact with us in meaningful and useful ways.

Did you know...

The Turing Test – a test to see if AI could fool humans - was first devised by Alan Turing in 1950 and was first passed over 50 years later in 2014.

What's the future?

We're already starting to see a move from dealing with routine questions and transactions to more complex subjects. In the future, the reach of AI is likely to expand deeper into to all sectors, from automated insurance and healthcare to virtual educators!

The ability of computers to think, behave and make decisions in a human-like way.

3

Augmented Reality (AR)

A technology that blends computer-generated visuals into real-world environments.

In action

Mobile games, travel and translation apps can all make use of augmented reality to overlay additional information onto the real-world – not to mention stickers and filters on social media! It's not just for fun though – AR is being used increasingly to overlay complex information like maps and medical operations.

Did you know...

Surgeons can use AR to guide colleagues through operations from another country.

What's the future?

With headsets and goggles to overlay pictures of patients' insides, 'X-ray vision' is no longer science fiction! In the future we're likely to see increasingly sophisticated uses of technology to help connect the virtual world with real life.

A technology that blends computer-generated visuals into real-world environments.

4

Big Data

Simply - large collections of digital information that can be analysed to tell a bigger picture.

In action

Where we buy coffee, socialise or browse online – all sources of data which organisations can use to build a profile of who we are, in order to predict our future actions and trends. This translates into the workplace too. Companies can use big data to track and improve the way they work and identify key shifts in their market and wider environment.

Did you know...

More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.

What's the future?

From predicting future outbreaks of disease to estimating sales on busy trading days, organisations will take increasing advantage of the many sets of data available to them to make better decisions.

Simply - large collections of digital information that can be analysed to tell a bigger picture.

5

Blockchain

Blockchain keeps an open record of every transaction, whether money, goods, services or information, allowing people to exchange directly without going through someone else (like a bank).

In action

Have you ever sent your friends money via a banking app? Or endorsed a friend online to prove they're legit? Blockchain is a way of doing that without a bank. It uses the power of the network to verify and maintain a public, time-stamped record of every transaction in a system.

Did you know...

It's not just for money – blockchain has been used to vote securely online.

What's the future?

Could it be the end of banks as we know them? What about an improvement in public services? Blockchain can be seen as a virtual time stamp - with the potential to revolutionise the way we register births, deaths and marriages amongst other things.

Blockchain keeps an open record of every transaction, whether money, goods, services or information, allowing people to exchange directly without going through someone else (like a bank).

6

Cyber Security

The state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorised use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this.

In action

From clicking on a dodgy link in a phishing scam to leaving your phone unlocked and unattended, the most common security flaw in a system is often human – rather than tech. Whether a high-profile hacking event stealing personal data or social media accounts being taken over, keeping your personal data – and the information of the company you work for – is crucial.

Did you know...

Just under half (46%) of all UK businesses identified at least one cyber security breach or attack in one year alone, according to the 2017 Cyber Security Breaches Survey.

What's the future?

In an increasingly connected world, being security-aware across devices, accounts and networks will be key. We may see cyber criminals use connected devices like smart fridges and cars to access networks and inflict damage. Roles in cyber security are likely to increase, to help protect organisations from unethical hackers and breaches in their security.

The state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorised use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this.

7

Disruptive Innovation

A new product or service that creates a new market, or becomes preferred to the mainstream alternative because it’s both better and cheaper.

In action

Ever been to a travel agent's shop to buy a holiday? Chances are, you research and buy your trips online... 20 years ago that wasn't the case. The internet is arguably one of the most disruptive innovations of the last 30 years, transforming the way we live, work and buy services.

Did you know...

With over 3.7bn users nearly half the world's population now has access to the internet.

What's the future?

From new ways to buy and consume things to faster transport, it's hard to predict the future. You may have heard about the sharing economy – as room rental and car-sharing organisations help owners make money, could we see the end (or at least a big reduction) of ownership of houses and cars?

A new product or service that creates a new market, or becomes preferred to the mainstream alternative because it’s both better and cheaper.

8

FinTech

Short for financial technology, FinTech relates to tech which supports or enables banking and financial services.

In action

FinTech is transforming the way we spend, save and insure against risks. From online-only banks to apps which help you save more, you may already be using FinTech on your smartphone.

Did you know...

China is ahead of the game, with 69% of digitally active users adopting FinTech, compared to 42% of UK users in 2017

What's the future?

FinTech is paving the way for financial services like peer to peer lending, although it's not just for start-ups – major financial institutions are working to revolutionise the way they provide their services. From faster processing for insurance claims to an increase in direct transactions on blockchain we're likely to see much more disruption in the future!

Short for financial technology, FinTech relates to tech which supports or enables banking and financial services.

9

Flexible Working

Employers offering working patterns outside the traditional 9-to-5 office routine, to suit the needs and lifestyles of employees.

In action

Flexible shift patterns, working from home, job shares, working part time hours to longer days (aka condensed hours) for a shorter working week; these are all ways employers are offering more flexible working than ever.

Did you know...

Flexible working will be the main way of working for 70 per cent of organisations by 2020.

What's the future?

Could you imagine sharing your role with a robot? How about clocking in remotely from a different time zone? Limber up as the future is about to get a whole lot more flexible.

Employers offering working patterns outside the traditional 9-to-5 office routine, to suit the needs and lifestyles of employees.

10

Fourth Industrial Revolution

The current transformation of how we live and work through technologies that are fusing our physical, digital and biological worlds.

In action

While digital print processes make it easy for you to order personalised products that were unheard of even 10 years ago, tech like 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) makes it possible to print food and even body parts. From steam engines to electricity to electronic automation, we're now part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Did you know...

Astronauts have successfully printed their own tools...in space!

What's the future?

From intelligent devices that can print their own replacement parts to surgeons being able to practice on accurate replicas of tumours, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will continue to bring unprecedented change.

The current transformation of how we live and work through technologies that are fusing our physical, digital and biological worlds.

11

Gig Economy

An environment where businesses hire freelancers or contractors for short-term jobs, instead hiring of permanent employees. Also known as a Portfolio Career.

In action

Whether it's taking a part time office job to supplement your creative pursuits or becoming a delivery driver or rider, part-time and short-term contracts are becoming increasingly widespread.

Did you know...

Around 1.1m people are working in Britain's Gig Economy

What's the future?

As the workplace continues to evolve, employers are likely to offer more contract and freelance roles. People might take 3, 4 or more part-time gigs, rather than focusing on one position.

An environment where businesses hire freelancers or contractors for short-term jobs, instead hiring of permanent employees. Also known as a Portfolio Career.

12

Human Cloud

The matching of people with projects on a flexible basis, enabled by online communities and virtual collaboration tools.

In action

Have you ever signed up to a task site to offer your skills to tag photos or filled out surveys for cash? The human cloud is giving people the opportunity to work on a part-time as-needed basis, connecting people with the right skills for the job.

Did you know...

The rapid expansion of the ‘Gig Economy’ and ‘Human Cloud’ will see four in ten professionals working as contractors, freelancers or contingent workers by 2020.

What's the future?

From "cloud call centres" where agents work from home to task-based online services, ways to connect people to employers based on their skills are only going to increase. See also Portfolio Careers/The Gig Economy

The matching of people with projects on a flexible basis, enabled by online communities and virtual collaboration tools.

13

Internet Of Things (IOT)

A network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors.

In action

From WiFi-enabled kettles to adverts that know when you're nearby thanks to your smartphone, connected Things are already all around us. Smart devices can predict when they might need repair – something businesses are taking advantage of to reduce down-time and increase efficiency.

Did you know...

With an estimated 8.3bn connected devices in 2017, Gartner forecasts that will more than double, with over 20bn connected devices by 2020.

What's the future?

From frictionless shopping in stores without checkouts to smart offices that know when a meeting room is occupied, we’re likely to see an ever-increasing number of connected objects, devices and buildings.

A network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors.

14

Machine Learning

The aspect of artificial intelligence that allows computers to act without being explicitly programmed.

In action

Ever wondered how your music streaming service knows what music you’re going to love? Or how your social feeds light up with more videos just like the one you watched yesterday? You guessed it – that’s machine learning. You probably interact with it every day without even realising it.

Did you know...

Machine learning began back in the 1950s, when computer scientists taught a computer to play checkers.

What's the future?

Using advanced machine learning, we’re already helping organisations codify their culture to spot risks and prevent them before they ever happen. From personalised healthcare plans based on your genetics and lifestyle, to apps that will accurately translate anything you say in an instant, the future possibilities for machine learning are almost limitless.

The aspect of artificial intelligence that allows computers to act without being explicitly programmed.

15

Portfolio Career

Splitting your time and skills between multiple part-time jobs, instead of one full-time job (see also the Gig Economy).

In action

Portfolio careers can give people the flexibility they need and provide a way to fulfil multiple interests. As employers outsource work to other agencies, being a freelancer who works across a range of clients is becoming a viable alternative for those who want to expand their skills and experience.

Did you know...

20 to 30 percent of the working-age population engage in some form of independent work.

What's the future?

It’s increasingly easy to be connected through digital tools and split your time across projects and be in more than one 'workplace' on the same day – will fixed careers in permanent jobs become a thing of the past?

Splitting your time and skills between multiple part-time jobs, instead of one full-time job (see also the Gig Economy).

16

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

The process of smart technology taking over routine tasks previously done by people.

In action

If you’ve been shopping in-store recently, you might have used a self-service checkout instead of going to a person behind a till. This is just one example of the automation happening all around us. Every task with a routine or repetitive element has the potential to be automated.

Did you know...

50% of all jobs could be affected by automation within 10 years.

What's the future?

It’s an exciting to be in an industry like ours. The robotic process automation of monotonous, time-consuming tasks is freeing people up to focus on more interesting work that requires a human touch. Meanwhile, we’re advising businesses on the skills they need to develop in-house to navigate the future of work.

The process of smart technology taking over routine tasks previously done by people.