Generation Z Is Coming - How Will It Change Business?

By TechZone360 Special Guest
Marcus Jewell, Vice President Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Brocade
October 07, 2014

The word "teen" was first used in the early 19th century, but concerns about our young people - and how they differ from "adult" society - have been around much, much longer. From Ancient Greece onward, every new generation of young people has developed its own behaviors and social norms that older members of society must learn to deal with or accept. Within businesses, 'Generation Y' has been the focus for many years as those born in the 1980s and early 90s have entered the workforce, bringing with them new demands and ways of working. Now however, attention is turning to a still younger group that is soon to come of age: Generation Z.

Defined as anyone born after 1995, members of Generation Z have been called everything from 'screenagers' to 'digital natives', and today make up a reported two billion of the world's population. They have grown up hearing of foreign involvement in wars, watched their parents and elder siblings experience the recession and have simply never known a world without the internet. Understandably therefore, Generation Z is already showing signs of being markedly different from the previous generation to enter the workforce. Where Gen Y have been typecast as entrepreneurial, ambitious and with unrealistic expectations for success, early reports show their younger counterparts appear to be frugal, display healthier behaviors, and are more outward looking and concerned about doing their part to contribute to social good.

They are also, as you would expect, extremely technology-focused. Instinctive multi-taskers, they're reportedly hooked on as many as five screens, with a large percentage using a desktop computer, laptop, TV, smartphone and gaming device or tablet on a daily basis.

Growing up with the internet as an ever-present resource has made Gen Z naturally more collaborative and this means that concepts such as crowdsourcing and open platform education are seen not as innovations, but as the obvious and most efficient way to solve problems. They are also much savvier than older generations about how and when they are tracked online and they take privacy seriously; as demonstrated by the fact that they are less likely to use Facebook, regularly use misnomers on social media and frequently turn off geolocation tracking on their devices.

Another consequence of Gen Z's internet-centric upbringing is their impatience. With shorter attention spans and a whole new type of anxiety based on the fear of missing out (or "FOMO"), they simply have no time for technology that doesn't just work. They're also rapid-firing, imprecise communicators, using images and videos in place of words and sentences and strongly favor streaming content over downloading.

These behaviors are not going to go away and it won't be long before we see these traits - a high dependence on devices, expectation for high-bandwidth capability at all times and use of short-burst rich content - impacting on businesses. Generation Z will bring new ways of working and communicating to their employers; the best companies will learn and adapt from them rather than seeking to control them. We already know from Generation Y that trying to make new generations adapt to existing workplace cultures and behaviours is doomed to failure; and it is certainly no way to attract the best talent.

Whether you're planning to market to or employ this generation at some point, to do so will require a strong understanding of their values and behaviors and, crucially, a robust infrastructure to support them technologically.

After all, an entire generation of people streaming and sharing video and images in place of text across multiple devices will involve huge volumes of data surging through networks in the Middle East. Organizations that cannot cope with this demand will quickly need to get up to speed, or get used to that “FOMO.”

About the Author: As Vice President Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Marcus Jewell is responsible for sales operations throughout the geography, helping Brocade expand its footprint in the EMEA market. Jewell has more than 15 years of experience in the networking business, having started his career in technical sales at Xerox, focused on network attached solutions.  He then joined MiTech Europe, where he rose through the ranks from lead generation and sales to become Managing Director of MiSpace Ltd, a managed ICT services company jointly owned by MiTech and Jewell.  He joined Mitel (News - Alert) Networks in 2003, heading up the Enterprise Sales and Services for the U.K. and Ireland, where he was responsible for significantly growing market share and revenue

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Related Articles

Why People Don't Update Their Computers

By: Special Guest    7/13/2018

When the WannaCry ransomware attacked companies all over the world in 2017, experts soon realized it was meant to be stopped by regular updating. Even…

Read More

More Intelligence About The New Intelligence

By: Rich Tehrani    7/9/2018

TMC recently announced the launch of three new artificial intelligence events under the banner of The New Intelligence. I recently spoke with TMC's Ex…

Read More

Technology, Innovation, and Compliance: How Businesses Approach the Digital Age

By: Special Guest    6/29/2018

Organizations must align internally to achieve effective innovation. Companies should consider creating cross-functional teams or, at a minimum, incre…

Read More

Contribute Your Brain Power to The New Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    6/28/2018

The three events that are part of The New Intelligence are all about how businesses and service providers, and their customers, can benefit from artif…

Read More

TMC Launches The New Intelligence - an Unparalleled AI and Machine Learning Conference & Expo in Florida

By: TMCnet News    6/28/2018

TMC announced the launch of The New Intelligence conference and expo - The Event Powering the AI Revolution. This exciting new event will take place o…

Read More