As the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Intelligence – gathers momentum, fundamental changes are occurring in the way we live, work and communicate.

In the next three to five years, sectors such as business and education will be vitally transformed through digital disruptors like artificial intelligence, augmented reality and robotics.

So, how can you prepare for a future shaped by such rapid change? Discover the top 5 predicted digital disruptors – and find out how we’re introducing innovative teaching technology to equip students for the developing demands of 21st Century workplaces.

The future doesn't have to be daunting if you're well prepared.

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of things (IoT) describes an emerging system of interrelated digital and mechanical devices that can transfer data over networks without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

The development of this intelligence will impact workplace roles that traditionally implement these processes.

Zoran Sugarevski, Executive Director of VU Information Technology Services, says:

“The key to thriving in this digital environment is having a diverse, adaptive and flexible skill-set.

“VU is a transformative University, not just through the Block Model, but in its dedication to revolutionising the university experience through cutting-edge technology. We’re disrupting traditional methods of instruction to create exciting, new ways to learn which help students become technically proficient and multi-skilled graduates.”

Our lives are increasingly managed by technology.

2. Robotics

While the idea of robots might bring to mind images of Wall-E or RoboCop, in reality the design and application of robotics is changing the way goods and services are developed and delivered at an alarming rate.

The work landscape is shifting too, with the introduction of entirely robot-operated businesses such as Melbourne’s Niska Ice Cream Bar.  

Sugarevski explains:

“The increasing use of robotics is something that we can’t stop – nor would we want to.

“But it’s important that schools and universities focus on providing students with education in game-changing technology like 3D printing, construction robotics and drone surveying – as VU is. This approach helps students to outpace their peers with skills that will stay relevant in workplaces of the future.”

VU is embracing robotics and AI in the class room.

3. Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI), and the ethics regarding robots who can understand and experience emotions as well as make complex decisions, has been a hot topic for sci-fi films and tech professionals alike.

Advances in AI show no sign of slowing down, despite ethicists concerns.

Sophia, one of the most advanced AI robots in the world, has even been given citizenship to the UAE.

As with robotics, AI is something that needs to be embraced by workers and workplaces of the future rather than feared or avoided. Gaining an understanding of the field is a great way to prepare through study and access to leading AI technology at VU’s College of Engineering & Science and Program of Applied Informatics.

4. Block chain

Block chain refers to the system by which transactions made in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are recorded and maintained across linked computer networks.

Not only is this system affecting the way we buy, sell and do business online – it also increases our vulnerability to cyber-criminals.

Sugarevski spoke to us on the topic, and VU's response:

“The cryptocurrency sector is used by cyber criminals to extort money through cyber-attacks, and highlights the need for widespread, sophisticated understanding of cybersecurity in the business world. 

“In response to the industry’s rapid growth, VU IT Services worked with VU Polytechnic and our partner Cisco to build and design a new Cybersecurity Training Centre. This ensures our students are ready to take on real-world threats to all kinds of involving online systems.”

VU has purpose built an advanced cybersecurity training lab.

5. Augmented reality

What began as a virtual-reality craze in the '90s reached fever-pitch in recent times with apps such as Pokémon Go. If you haven’t experienced it yet, augmented reality refers to technology that superimposes computer-generated images on a user's view of the real world – and its power is being harnessed by companies worldwide in many different industries.

Sugarevski tells us:

“Knowledge of virtual and augmented reality equipment is becoming an essential aspect of a well-rounded education.

“At VU, we’ve developed a range of new, high-tech precincts, such as Sunshine Hospital Campus, Sunshine Skills Hub and Wyndham Tech School. At these precincts, learning is brought to life with advanced, interactive technologies, ensuring our graduates have practical experience and are work-ready.”

How VU can help you prepare

The convergence of the top 5 digital disruptors is set to create new industries and transform existing traditional business models.

In a world where IoT devices are embedded with robotics and artificial intelligence, new services and products will exist and the skills required of graduates will dramatically change. At VU we recognise the future workforce will look very different. We are ensuring students develop the relevant skills and knowledge through our unique learning models.

Find out more about VU IT Services and how we’re supporting students to achieve success now and in the future.