Cloud and mobile technology empower a new culture of collaboration

| April 4, 2018

New research reveals the extent to which workers in Australia and the rest of the world are increasingly using collaborative technologies to connect with colleagues, clients and suppliers.

Research for Polycom’s Changing World of Work report found that three quarters of those surveyed used a range of devices, as ideas of flexible working continue to move beyond the option to work from the office or from home, to being able to work from anywhere.

Tony Simonsen, Polycom’s Managing Director in Australia notes that “with the roll out of high speed broadband networks, technology can now give people the freedom to work the way they want, regardless of where they are. This new business-normal encompasses technology-enabled workspaces from the huddle room; to agile workplaces and anywhere working teams that need to work interstate to get the job done.

“However, our basic need for human contact and communication still underpins the way we work – regardless of the location, space or technology we are using to collaborate. As we head into 2018, we fully expect technology will continue to evolve, enabling us to improve our business communication and collaboration at all levels, from intern to the C-Suite.”

Frost & Sullivan’s ANZ Director of Research, Audrey William agreed that transformational technologies will continue to be a catalyst for business disruption in 2018, following growth in the consumer demand for Smart Homes in the USA and elsewhere.

He notes that “Intelligent voice activated speakers and virtual assistants powered by new AI technologies and Bots have transformed the home environment” and expects this trend to move into the enterprise market over the next year to 18 months. “With new platforms like Alexa for Business becoming available, companies and employees will be demanding the same level of smart connectivity that they experience in their home environment.”

William argues that “Intelligent Workspaces are the Future of Work. In the video collaboration space, this will mean smart devices and voice activated speakers powered by AI technologies and Bots becoming business normal.

“Video meetings will be organised by virtual assistants and password activated user interfaces will be obsolete as machines recognise voice commands to automatically connect users to their virtual workspace. The business potential of Intelligent Workspaces is enormous with vendors actively looking at how they can integrate these new technologies within the collaboration environment.”

5 trends in collaboration this year

Cloud solutions will empower interoperability
The cloud space has transformed the way people work, as well as the computer technology run by their firms and the shape of their workspace. The next generation of technology will be modular and adaptive, tailored to provide solutions via mobile devices and run in the cloud.

Seamless user experiences will be key to adoption
The spaces in which people work and collaborate are no longer confined to a traditional four-walled office environment. People want to connect and collaborate with ‘the office’, regardless of their location or device, and so firms will have to find new ways to allow employees with vastly different experiences and relationships with technology to collaborate effectively and drive productivity.

Users want simple ‘click and join’ procedures to join meetings and collaborate. They don’t want to remember or type in complex meeting room IDs or find a smart board switch to upload documents for team discussion. End users will demand more intelligent, conferencing solutions that can ‘do it all’ – whether connecting from a meeting room, personal device or third-party platform – while retaining security.

Meetings will become ‘smarter’ and more mobile
‘Intelligent’ face-detection cameras and technology will become ubiquitous, allowing seamless wireless content-sharing and simple ‘click to join’ meeting interfaces, while Artificial Intelligence and advanced analytics will help meetings become ‘smarter’ and more productive. Power point presentations will increasingly be replaced by AI enabled conference rooms, virtual assistants and bots.

Vendors such as Microsoft and Google will vie for supremacy in delivering more integrated business solutions. Microsoft is looking use Skype for Business, Office 365 and Microsoft Teams to streamline extraneous meeting technologies and integrate collaboration to reduce costs and ensure a consistent user experience, for example, while Google and perhaps Amazon will look to extend their market share.

Technology will empower ‘hyper-collaboration’
The next step for individuals, teams and organisations may be to move from collaborating with one another to become “hyper-collaborative” by bringing together knowledge, capabilities and ideas from a number of ecosystems, geographies and industries.

As a result, more workplaces will embrace ‘anywhere working’ to boost new partnerships and teamwork, allowing people to work the way they want, where they want in a ‘hyper-collaborative’ manner.

Faster broadband will bridge the urban-rural divide
Australia’s National Broadband Network announced in 2017 that a further 2 million locations would receive an upgrade of fibre-to-the-kerb technology, delivering 100 megabit per second downloads to inner city homes and businesses.

The long awaited improvement to Australia’s broadband infrastructure should create a more ‘digitally inclusive’ society and increase demand for collaboration solutions such as high definition video and digital content sharing that were previously unavailable.