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'Virtual fatigue' is now a thing, and it's set to change our lives

Business

The “virtual fatigue” felt by so many of us will change the way Australia lives and works, a survey shows.

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Years of tapping a screen or keyboard to seek advice or treatment, order food, try to learn, or see colleagues and friends are taking their toll.

A “back to physical” push by firms to counter pandemic-driven virtual fatigue is one of the top 10 information technology trends in Australia, according to a report released on Thursday.

Most (87 per cent) publicly listed Australian and New Zealand businesses point to the pandemic as the catalyst for shifting to a digital-first way of doing business, global technology market research company IDC found.

But by 2023, 40 per cent will shift half of their new technology spending to support in-person interactions for customers and workers.

The focus will be on services where people live and work, not company headquarters or anonymous automation.

Businesses also face demands for genuine sustainability, not just box-ticking.

By 2025, most will have digital sustainability teams tasked with assessing, certifying, and coordinating the data needed to prove businesses’ claims about meeting community expectations.

Businesses want to shape their own future, not be hostage to what technology can or can’t do.

This year, almost half will reset how they select cloud computing services to focus on business outcomes rather than IT requirements.

Technology budgets will be redrawn and new bundles of security, cloud platforms, virtual workspace, and connectivity service will be preferred.

But “portfolio inflation” is the new danger with everything packaged up as a lump-sum service.

So-called augmentation is expected to trump automation, from bank loan decisions to recruitment.

Some 65 per cent of organisations surveyed are expected to gain twice as much if they use technology to support decision-making by people, rather than remove the human element altogether, the report found.

By 2023, three-quarters of enterprises are expected to use artificial intelligence-assisted, cloud-linked governance services but 70 per cent will lack the skills to fully benefit.

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