Predictions Week Video Highlights: Karandeep Anand, Facebook

Excerpts from our video interview with Karandeep Anand, VP and Head of Workplace, Facebook

As the world walks the long and uneven road to recovery from the recession caused by a global pandemic, the technology industry has a major role to play. Technology companies helped the world continue to work, study, shop, play and stay in touch during lockdowns. Now as we enter recovery, they face numerous opportunities, ranging from simply selling more of their existing products to launching innovative new devices, services and ways to connect.

So who better to discuss these opportunities with than a senior executive at Facebook, one of the world’s technology agenda-setters? Karandeep Anand, Vice President and Head of Workplace at Facebook, was a fascinating guest during our recent Predictions Week. He’s an industry veteran with previous experience at Microsoft, but also someone who’s lived and worked around the globe.

We started by talking about the area he deals with on a daily basis. Karandeep shared his expectations about how people will work in a post-pandemic world, and discussed three major trends in workplace collaboration: a focus on well-being and building empathy; the shift to video and presence; and the blurring lines between consumer and business products.

Next, I had to raise the topic of extended reality! Facebook’s one of the major players in this area, which is experiencing steep growth this year: we expect sales of extended reality devices to businesses to double, for example. Karandeep sees extended reality as not just a tool for remote field service or product demonstration, but a way to enable social presence in workplace collaboration, the next step of the video call.

The most inspiring part of our discussion, however, was on the topic of the digital divide. The pandemic magnified the difference between those who have access to technology and those who don’t. According to the UN, of the 1.5 billion children affected by school closures this year, almost half a billion weren’t able to continue their studies digitally because of a lack of policies, devices or connectivity. This was acutely visible not just in less-advanced countries, but even in some of the richest countries in the world.

Karandeep spoke about the industry’s collective social responsibility to support everyone, and not just the privileged few who have access to devices and connectivity. There’s a role to be played by major global tech companies, by local tech providers and by governments. I hope this part of our conversation will inspire you to think what you and your company can do to help bridge the digital divide.

We hope you enjoy the highlights from our conversation. To find out more about all the videos from our Predictions Week, please drop us a line.