Around the year 2000, the term ‘tablet PC’ was coined. Ten years later, in 2010, we saw the first headline – ‘The PC Officially Died Today – and a near decade long debate began, with most tech pundits convinced that the PC would be extinct by 2020.
Today, the narrative has changed. According to IDC, the “surge in PC demand continued through the second quarter of 2021 despite global component shortages and logistics issues. Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs - inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations - reached 83.6 million units in 2Q21, up 13.2 per cent from the second quarter of 2020.” While the PC has always helped us connect, collaborate, and communicate, the past year has proven the value it brings to our lives more than any other time I can remember.
This is a popular opinion - but I’d take it a step further. I believe we’re witnessing the renaissance of the PC. Not a resurgence, as that would imply a period of little activity, but a renaissance. An entirely new way of thinking.
How does this evolve in our renaissance phase? Think of PCs that self-heal to keep you working instead of looking for help. Think how the combination of AI, analytics, the cloud and improved connectivity will make remote management of PCs a breeze.
How the promise of predictive maintenance means problems fix themselves before they manifest. A future where IT never physically touches a PC again? That’s a revival that could benefit us all.
We need PCs that do more than just work. PCs that are more intelligent, self-aware and user aware, like having a personal AI assistant on your PC to help manage your work and home life. Setting calendar appointments or making recommendations will be simple tasks completed in the background.
Future AI capabilities will benefit us in ways we haven’t yet imagined. AI will make PC usage more seamless, customized and hassle-free. It will hurdle common tech challenges, like connecting to the local network or setting up a printer.
We also need to rethink security in a creative way. Not through patches and updates, but by offering PCs that use machine learning and AI to eradicate malware before it even settles. The new ways of working have come with more opportunities for security vulnerabilities, making it critical to secure workers’ PCs.
PCs should offer best-in-class security products and practices to lower the risk of having end-users accessing internal networks from home. For me, a renaissance in this area means I never question if my PC — or the information on it — is secure.
Collaboration and connectivity
As PCs become smarter, they will understand when you want to be seen and when you don’t. If you’re participating in a video conference but get distracted – it could be a phone call, or your officemate/partner/child/dog needs you – you can trust your PC to turn off the camera until you choose to re-engage. Mobile PCs may also offer expansive, adaptive screens so you can be more productive wherever you are.
Think of workplaces that are completely wireless and turn on by detecting your presence, so you stay productive as you transition from on-the-go to at-the-desk. Collaboration and connectivity that make you feel like you’re with your colleagues when you aren’t is the next frontier.
In the past, executives and salespeople would often get the top-of-the-line devices — the sleekest laptop with high-end components. When I think about a renaissance of the PC, I imagine being able to bring these “premium” experiences to more employees.
Premium is more than the look and feel of a device, the evolving workforce is redefining it, with features they care about.
It must happen now
We have learned the PC is far from dead. It’s the gateway for us all to work, play and learn. Because of this intimacy, people expect more from their PC now than ever before. Augmenting PCs with technologies like cloud, 5G and AI to offer smart, personalized and wonderful experiences is the future, and this renaissance moment gives organizations the opportunity to pause and rethink how they can bring about all these possibilities.