With a Little Help from Your Friends: The Rise of Collaboration in 2018
It's all about Teams
Collaboration technology has been seeing some significant growth in recent years. Pushed forward by the rise of remote working and Cloud technology, collaborative tools are quickly becoming an integral part of how we organise and engage in work.
Through 2017, software for team workflow matured as an option for enterprise innovators with the launch of Slack‘s enterprise system, and Microsoft’s “Teams” service among others. Numerous other vendors have also moved into the space, such as Facebook, Cisco, and even Amazon. Now that collaboration is showing its potential, these tools will continue to generate even more attention.
Team Apps Take the Lead
One of the most significant trends to emerge over the last year or so has been the need for team apps that allow companies to communicate instantly through messages, audio, and even video. For instance, Microsoft is phasing out Skype for Business with Teams to take collaboration beyond the realm of voice, just as RingCentral acquired Glip to develop a new client for team communications.
In the past, team collaboration apps were simply an add-on to voice, but now, we’re seeing companies attempt to connect all aspects of the communication strategy into a truly “unified” solution. This means that colleagues can chat, share documents, and even work on projects together at the same time – turning digital spaces into the new workplace office.
The Growth of Huddle Rooms
As the state of work continues to change, we’ve seen some significant differences in the modern office environment. People are avoiding the traditional 9-to-5 office schedule and embracing the freedom of remote working, open-plan offices, and flexible schedules. In turn, this demand for a different standard of work has changed the way we conduct our meetings, transforming the big conference room into the small, flexible huddle room environment.
The huddle room takes the focus away from the large conference room and starts to deliver the benefits that come with a smaller, more cost-effective, connected space. According to Wainhouse research, 55% of younger workers are pushing their conference managers for more high-tech solutions in the workplace. The huddle room could be the key to accessing these tools in a budget-friendly manner.
MR, VR, AR
If you’ve already explored the benefits of video meeting rooms over the past couple of years, then there’s a good chance you know just how much the technology has improved. Today, we’re getting clearer images, better endpoints, and stronger software than ever before. However, the remote working revolution has also sparked a search for more “intimate” meeting experiences through technology like Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) too.
Companies like Cisco are already investing in the concept of augmented and virtual reality meeting rooms, where people can come together in an experience that allows them to feel as though they’re sitting across from their colleagues, regardless of where in the world they might be located. Though there’s a way to go before these tech options are fully introduced, you might be able to try your very own beta version of a VR meeting room in 2018.
Kitting Out Collaboration
As collaboration continues to take the concept of communication beyond traditional voice conversations, vendors are constantly delivering new ways to boost productivity and enhance experiences in the meeting room environment. Beyond collaborative tools, we also have “room kits”, like the Cisco Webex Board (formerly Cisco Spark Board), the Google Jamboard, and more that allow you to essentially brain-storm ideas with remote workers, even when they’re not in the room.
Although these room kits might not be a cost-effective option for every company, they could be a great way for those who need help collaborating over complex projects to demonstrate ideas and work together on projects from a distance.