These new technologies, combined with demographic shifts and globalisation, will have a profound impact on the future of SMEs. Who would have thought that advanced machinery and electronics such as GPS navigation tools, which only a decade ago would have seemed completely science fictional, would now be a part of our everyday lives?
Even the tablet computer, prophetically shown in Kubrick's 1968 film 2001 A Space Odyssey, was a part of the fictional world.But now we are more than familiar with the object, seeing it used for both business and entertainment purposes.
It is always hard to predict the impact of technological developments, but we are already witnessing how the way we work could be transformed in the near future. Many of the tasks we typically perform in the office today can also be done at home; we share and discuss documents seamlessly and have access to videoconferencing.
But beyond this is the exciting possibility of telepresence robotics. These relatively simple systems - using cameras, microphones, speakers and screens - are already in use.