The idea that technology changes on a dime is a constant fascination—both for those immersed in these changes and those who don’t always know how much their industry depends on them. Two years back, we made some predictions about video collaboration trends, and it’s exciting to see just where technology has gone since then, especially audiovisual technology. Here’s where we were right on target—and a couple of places where we missed the mark.
The 24/7 Office
We predicted a large boost in video use, as top-down structures would support any place workspaces for their employees. Today, businesses that embrace workplace flexibility versus a 9–5 Monday through Friday workday have soared at a rapid pace—a trend that’s not going away. Although the traditional workday office certainly still exists, people don’t work in that type of space all the time. The workforce is much more mobile, which encourages schedule flexibility—remote work, fieldwork, and global communications are now routine. Workplace flexibility is a standard perk most companies are happy to provide. This agility is in large part due to video collaboration, which lets people work from wherever they are.
We were spot on about people making decisions in real time because information would always be available, as it would essentially travel with the worker. What we didn’t predict was the vast improvement in mobile ability. Mobile functionality has become an imperative rather than an option, and the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a huge part of these advancements. It isn’t simply that information travels with employees; it’s that employees can use this information wherever they are. In addition, video collaboration as a service (VCaaS) has transformed collaboration—employees can use their own devices to connect and talk with any network in any area.
We imagined conference sessions would move beyond simple video, with tools that range from interactive chat sessions to synchronized data for all users to access both during the call and after. Many offices today are leveraging a unified communications system that connects all types of communication—from video to the cloud. Employees can use videoconferencing systems with screen-sharing capabilities where they collaborate on documents or projects while seeing and chatting with one another during the process. Collaboration doesn’t get much easier.
We predicted better relationships between distributors and partners the world over because of video collaboration, which we believed would save businesses time and money. Today, we see that geography poses no obstacle. Video collaboration continues to open doors for businesses, no matter where in the world they are. Offices without walls have truly become part of many companies’ philosophies, as people can work no matter where they are with different people in other locations. Since 93 percent of communication is nonverbal, having real-time video and mobility has meant businesses truly collaborate without the anxiety of miscommunication. What’s more, people can access real-time video from any device in any location, meaning better, more closely connected relationships in the workplace.
Video-Enabled Conference Rooms
In 2015, we guessed that by 2020, more than 50 percent of large enterprise conference rooms would be video-enabled; we may have undershot this one. VCaaS can now turn any room in any business into a meeting place, and businesses are quickly realizing its benefits. By 2020, video-enabled conference rooms won’t just be a mainstay in most businesses, they’ll be the norm. The days of collaborating in a confined conference room with bulky videoconferencing hardware are gone. Though those rooms still exist, it’s much more common to find employees participating in videoconferences directly from their computers or devices. Over time, huddle rooms—small-scale conference rooms equipped with more collaboration tools than just video—will replace even this scene.
Expect an Exciting Future
Our predictions from two years ago seem small compared to the leaps that video collaboration has made and will make in the coming years. As Millennials and now Gen Z’ers are hitting the workforce, expect video collaboration to optimize even more innovative changes. Businesses will need to keep mobility and flexibility at the forefront for their employees—if they want to keep top talent. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict that a future with these types of tech advancements will make for exciting expansions across industries.