The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and accelerated underlying trends in remote working, global travel, technological advancement and AI. The most innovative companies are capitalising on these trends. At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, some 2.6 billion people, a third of the world’s population, were under government-mandated lockdown and global travel was severely restricted. This presented huge technical challenges for companies, but it also provided a live, global test for remote working in a way that was unthinkable pre-crisis. As countries open back up, companies have to consider how or even if to bring back a scattered workforce.
On 3 June, Wartsila launched a new remote support service backed by chat apps and video guidance and collaboration tools called Assured Operations. The round-the-clock service allows the company’s technical experts to assess and resolve operational issues on engines using a remote connection between vessels and staff manning Wartsila’s Expertise Centres. Some 90% of operating issues can be resolved remotely, removing the need for field-service technicians to visit ships in person and ensure fast resolution.
Along with remote assistance, technological advancements like automation and AI are top of most companies’ wish lists. But they bring with them some common fears about job losses.
A 2013 report by Oxford University academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne estimated that 47% of American jobs were at ‘high-risk’ of automation by the mid-2030s. Later, in 2019, McKinsey’s Global Institute found that by 2030, up to 160 million people may need to transition to higher-skilled occupations. New research, however, has identified a different correlation between automation and jobs: While technology does indeed displace some workers, it creates many more opportunities than it removes.
According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs report, AI Specialist is the fastest-growing position in the world’s 11 largest nations. Hiring growth has rocketed 74% a year since 2016. But topping LinkedIn’s list of the fastest growing technology jobs roles is customer success operatives. These professionals need a hybrid of soft and hard skills, as they must understand new technology, but also manage customer relationships.
This is in line with a widely-cited 2018 report from the World Economic Forum, which concludes: “The future of work shows demand for a broad variety of skills that match these professional opportunities, inclusive of both disruptive technical skills but also specialized industry skills and core business skills.”
his combination of the latest advancements in advanced analytics and AI and deep subject matter expertise offers extensive value-add for customers, something that has always been a priority for Wärtsilä.