Future technology and the impact it will have on collaborative workflows

Editor’s Note: The business integrator of My TechDecision’s sister site has partnered with IMCCA, the New York-based nonprofit industry association for unified communications and workplace collaboration, to produce a quarterly supplement focusing on collaboration from multiple perspectives. Together, the organizations launched Collaboration Today and Tomorrow.

When I was asked to write a piece for the inaugural issue of the IMCCA Collaboration today and tomorrow about the future of technology and how it would shape our lives, I thought about how difficult this task is. After all, few of us accurately predicted how emerging technologies like the Internet, the World Wide Web, and ubiquitous video conferencing would change our lives. And, if I could really predict the future, then maybe my time would be better spent in the stock market or with a lottery.

With that caveat in mind, what I can share are insights into the trends Metrigy sees in its research and how we expect them to impact the workplace in the coming years. Every year, we at Metrigy collect data from hundreds of companies, including their three to five year plans for spending and implementing the technology. Here are the areas where I anticipate significant growth and impact in the workforce and consumer engagement.

A focus on employee experience

Employee experience has become a buzzword in the last year or so as companies seek to understand how to retain employees and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation, regardless of the workplace. Employee experience initiatives typically fall into two distinct areas:

1. Understand how employees interact with each other (and with customers), as well as implement analytics and feedback mechanisms to enable management to understand employee happiness, job satisfaction and well-being.

Collaboration providers are increasingly providing feedback mechanisms such as dashboards that allow employees to see how they spend their days and insights into using collaboration tools. Other vendors are providing “voice of the employee” feedback tools and platforms to enable connections between teams, enable collaborative goal setting, and ensure employees know what’s going on within the organization.

2. Ensuring an optimal work experience through investments in high quality voice and video terminals.

This includes the use of enterprise-grade devices including headsets, speakerphones, and cameras, along with management tools to allow people to customize how they use the devices. In this case, AI can enable much more than just noise cancellation by enabling acoustic shielding, backlight compensation, and image enhancements.

Optimization of collaboration workflows

In recent years, organizations have adopted many different collaboration apps, including video conferencing, group messaging, virtual whiteboard, work management, and more. However, in many cases such workplace collaboration apps exist in silos and employees spend a lot of time moving between them.

Going forward, these apps and features will continue to converge enabling both internal and customer-facing engagement within a work hub, with appropriate security and governance controls, and the ability for employees to leverage low-code tools. and no code to build their own workflows to optimize whatever they do.

An exploration of augmented and virtual reality

The collaboration between AR and VR has been a topic of discussion since the launch of Second Life nearly 20 years ago. Many companies have tried (and failed) to provide solutions that allow collaboration in virtual worlds, mainly because the technology was not easy to use and because humans generally prefer to communicate directly with each other rather than with avatars.

However, several use cases have caught on, as has the use of AR and VR in the gaming world. Today, companies can choose from several solutions that provide virtual training and product demonstration capabilities that go beyond what can be offered in a two-dimensional video conference.

Vendors and businesses are investing in building a presence in the metaverse that offers the potential to create a truly interactive virtual world alongside the physical one. For remote employees, these types of engagement can offer significant benefits, especially in the form of content manipulation, training, and the ability to leverage play to build social bonds with distant colleagues. While I’m not ready to proclaim that VR glasses will replace the meeting app, I’m increasingly convinced that there is a role for AR and VR applications for an increasing number of use cases.

Finally, the future is likely to be driven by the need for flexibility. Millions of people have found that they can work effectively remotely, thus avoiding the time (and costs) spent commuting. While the impact of COVID-19 is diminishing, it hasn’t gone away, and the next variant of concern may be lurking just around the corner.

In our research, companies that adopt workplace choice and provide appropriate devices, management support and employee feedback mechanisms are the ones that are realizing the most value for their collaborative investment today and are best positioned to address any what happens. the future.

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