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Are Traditional Full-Time Jobs an Endangered Species?

The traditional corporate environment is giving way to “spot markets,” where workers and employers buy and sell labor on an as-needed basis, and a college professor predicts this trend will accelerate in 2011.

“Contract-based adhocracies” is what Brian Mennecke, an Iowa State associate professor who studies high-end business technology, calls this new arrangement. It’s one of three trends that he predicts will reshape business technology next year, along with location-specific marketing and 3-D technology.

Mennecke said, “The traditional role of the corporation as a place to work and build a career as a long-term ‘tenured’ employee will fade away.”

The growth of this trend is a reflection of society’s move toward an information-based economy where physical proximity is less of a constraint. Such relationships are already common in information technology.

“In the end, many organizations will increasingly be able to operate like virtual adhocracies, where talent is brought to bear only when that talent is relevant and needed,” he said.

Outsourcing firms often serve as brokers for such arrangements, One, GlobeTask.com, an Israel-based business staffed by American expatriates, has been monitoring the contract talent market for three years and notes significant growth in contract hiring in three key areas: social media, maintaining blogs, and customer service.

“Where we’re seeing the biggest growth in outsourcing customer service is with companies with three to 10 employees,” Joshua Last, GlobeTask’s founder, told BusinessNewsDaily.

Economics is the key driver, he said.

Another force that will change the face of business technology in 2011, Mennecke predicted, is the continued explosion of context-aware content and services .

“We already see numerous applications on mobile phones like this, but we will see a growing number of applications that use a person’s spatial location to ‘push’ goods and services based on context,” he said by e-mail. “Context is key if vendors and service providers can learn your behavioral patterns and tie this to your context — i.e., where you are, what goes on there, what meaning is associated between that place, time and other people who are present.”

Adding another dimension to business technology in 2011 will be the power of the 3-D web and virtual embodiment, Mennecke predicted.

He expected holiday shoppers to rush out “to replace their 2-year-old 60 Hz LCDs with new 120 Hz LEDs so they can watch the movie ‘Avatar’ in 3-D.”

“Why is 3-D so popular and what will this trend portend for the future of the Web? I have been studying 3-D spaces and virtual representations for several years, and my conclusion is that the Web will be the next frontier for 3-D,” Mennecke said.

He predicted that as 3-D-capable technology proliferates, apps taking advantage of those capabilities will follow — not only in entertainment centers and gaming consoles, but on desktop and notebook computers.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.