75% of employees use collaboration technologies to communicate with stakeholders not based in the same office.
This finding, which is the result of Polycom's The Changing World of Work research, shows that this percentage is going to increase exponentially over the next 12-18 months.
Following on from the survey, Polycom has released their top five drivers that are set to impact business collaboration in the year ahead.1. Cloud drives demand for interoperability
The cloud space has transformed, not just our office and workspaces but the way we work.
If we look at the next generation of technology – it's modular, it's adaptive, it's solutions based and it is cloud based.
As cloud continues to move into the mainstream, the conversation is no longer about that sub 50 office space, the one-to-three user space is back on the table.
How you bring them into the network with mobile devices, with USB devices, and more, will be a priority for businesses of all sizes in 2018.2. User experience and ease of adoption reigns supreme
Where we work and collaborate is no longer confined to a traditional four-walled office environment.
Today, people want to connect and collaborate with ‘the office', regardless of their location or device.
This growth in anywhere working and geographically distributed workforces mean that businesses will need to find new ways to empower employees with vastly different experiences and relationships with technology, ensuring they can collaborate effectively to drive the productivity.
Tony Simonsen, Polycom's managing director for Australia - New Zealand, comments, “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.
Users want simple click and join. They don't want to go looking for a meeting room ID, or a truncated number or the smart board switch to upload documents for team discussion.
Expect to see end users continuing to demand more intelligent, conferencing solutions that can ‘do it all' – whether connecting from a meeting room, personal device or third-party platform.3. Meetings are getting smarter and more mobile
Technology, like the latest intelligent face-detection and voice triangulation cameras, wireless content-sharing, a simple ‘click to join' meeting interface, artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics are helping meetings get smarter and more productive.
Expect to see more AI enabled conference rooms, virtual assistants, and bots.
In basic terms, it is the convergence of people plus, not versus, technology that are now working together.
What's more, as organisations move to Skype for Business, Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, we expect them to look at removing extraneous meeting technologies and integrate collaboration via these platforms as a means to reduce costs and ensure a consistent user experience.
Frost - Sullivan's Australia and New Zealand director and head of research, Audrey William, explains, “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.4. The hyper-collaborative organisation
Imagine that the next step for individuals, teams and organisations would be to go from being “collaborative” amongst themselves to “hyper-collaborative” - bringing together knowledge, capabilities and ideas from a number of ecosystems, geographies and industries.
We anticipate that for 2018 and beyond, more workplaces will be open to embracing ‘anywhere working', that enables this evolution in partnerships and teamwork.
Enabling people to work, the way they want, where they want and in a hyper-collaborative manner that will become business-normal.
Simonsen adds, “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.5. Bridging the urban-rural divide
In 2017, Australia's nbn announced that a further 2 million locations would receive an upgrade of fibre-to-the-kerb technology.
This faster technology is expected to deliver 100 megabit per second downloads to inner city homes and businesses.
With the improvement of its broadband infrastructure Australia becomes more digitally inclusive and we can expect to see a jump in demand for collaboration solutions like high definition video and digital content sharing that were previously unavailable.