Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Google Glas intranet?

Most people know the history of the intranet. And if you’re older you will have experienced its history. Many organization that have had an intranet for years are looking for ways towards a modern and future-ready intranet. But what is the future of the intranet? Many intranet experts and organizations are thinking about this question. Are we eventually going to be apply to wear the intranet?

From intranet to social intranet 
There’s lots of talk about using social media within organizations. In short this is also called the ‘social intranet’. The intention is to have an intranet that is more than most are used to: news, procedures, who-is-who and the restaurant menu. A ‘social intranet’ should make us forget the old intranet. The old intranet that often hardly supports the way employees do their daily work. 

From intranet to digital workplace 
For this reason the new intranet is also called the ‘digital workplace’ more and more. A new name to help us forget the old intranet and sell the intranet as an essential tool to support work. It stresses that fact that the intranet can be relevant to help knowledge workers get things done. Looking at the definitions of the digital workplace, it is intended to be a bit more than the ‘social intranet’. The digital workplace wants to be the place where a knowledge worker can do his/her work. Therefore it must also connect to and support the business processes (and related tools). (Of course this can also be done when it’s called a ‘social intranet’...)

From intranet to mobile intranet 
If the new intranet should truly support workers, it should also support him/her everywhere work is done. Therefore the logical step for the new intranet is to also become mobile. The knowledge worker needs access to the intranet everywhere he/she is getting things done. Slowly organizations are thinking about how to do this. 

But what comes after this? I want to share two of the steps I see. 

Location-based intranet 
When the intranet gets mobile access there will be a new demand for push-information. We have come to find push-informatie without context irritating. But when information is filtered based on your location, it could be useful. Services like Foursquare, Google Fieldtrip and Google Now give us glimpses into this future. In the same way this could be useful within organizations by providing information about nearby experts when you’re looking for help or which protocols apply to the part of the organization you’re walking around in. Furthermore location information added to messages employees are publishing also provided meaning and context. Posting a message in a factory can give it a totally different meaning, than posting it from a car on your way to work. 

Google Glass intranet 
One step further can relate to projects like Google Glass. Google Glass is trying to make finding and consuming relevant information and publishing it easier. You don’t have to carry your smart phone in your hand; information is projected right into your eyes so you can consume that information and publish and save content with easy gestures. Imagine the access to your intranet being like Google Glass. Everywhere you are you’ll have direct access to (the right internal) information. During meetings, on your way to meeting, when you bump into someone you planned to ask something, working on a document or product/service. The intranet is less and less something you go to, but something you wear. You don’t have to look for information, it will search for you depending on what you’re looking at and wear you are. 

What do you see as next-steps for the intranet? Do the above mentioned steps make sense? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

By the way, inspired by Dave Gray's work, I made the little drawings for this post by myself!

[This post was also published in Dutch on the Frankwatching blog.]
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