This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.
Like the industrial revolution that sparked the original labor movement, the new technologies of today have caused a seismic shift in the way we work.
As Labor Day approaches, it’s clear that freelancers and new-age workers are reshaping the economy in ways that couldn’t be imagined a decade ago. One of the factors enabling the new cloud-based workforce is the exponential growth in technological advances and widespread access to those advances.
Here are my predictions for the biggest trends and tools to reach the freelancing workforce and help freelancers work more efficiently as well as offer more diverse and specialized services:
3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping Will Expand Freelancer Offerings
3D printing is not a new technology; its earliest versions appeared in the 1980s. But recently consumer access to 3D printing software, tools and the printers themselves has grown tremendously.
3D printing is an effective tool to prototype design, test new features and develop ideas -- all evolving ways for freelancers to offer high-tech design and prototyping services, even remotely.
3D printing is surely an exciting addition to the new industrial and internet revolution that transforms ordinary citizens into powerful makers and will push the boundaries of what freelancers can offer and accomplish.
Advances in Cloud Tools Will Make it All Come Together
Cloud-based tools, apps and platforms have been instrumental in the global growth of the freelancer community.
A "secure cloud" is no longer an oxymoron and as our collective trust in the cloud grows, we will see better tools and apps that will power our work day.
From cloud storage to collaborative work tools, and even cloud accounting and time sheets, the suite of cloud tools available today are truly proving to be life-changing.
Join the Union (it's free!)
Digital Knowledge Centers Will Help Forge Competitive Advantage
Massive Online Open Courses have done the unthinkable, moving universities and knowledge centers online.
Moveover, digital libraries mean that specialised research, study or information is only a few clicks away.
What this means to you? Any freelancer can train and learn while on the job and quality training has become much more affordable.
Hi-Tech Gadgets Will Make your Work Week More Cutting Edge
Move over smartphone and tablets: The next generation of gadgets is here, and it will prove to be game-changing for freelancers.
For example, are you missing a boss peeking over your shoulder? Well, Bossy is here. A smart-gadget could soon be a constant companion. Bossy is designed to help freelancers manage their time, stress and respond to their emotional and bodily needs - like suggesting it’s time for a drink of water or a break.
Another neat invention is the BeamPro (remember Edward Snowden used it to give a TED talk from exile in Russia). The neat device takes Skype and video conferencing to the next level, delivering smart presence for the workplace but is surely not cheap.
When Labor Day rolls around next year, which technologies do you think you will be relying on more? Which do you think you will use less?
Stay tuned, because technology has even more to offer in the future. It’s never been more exciting to write your own career playbook.
Laura Tiebert is Director of PR and Content for Transpay, a cross-border payments platform that enables freelancers globally to receive quick, hassle-free payments without hidden fees, through direct-to-bank transfers or cash pickups. She writes about the sharing economy, payments innovations, and the new digital work economy.