What changed in 2015? “Without question, 2015 will go into history as a pivotal year in the collaboration industry. At the beginning of the year, Polycom predicted big changes to the collaboration landscape, including increased use of collaboration tools in global companies, dramatic changes to workspaces, and a structural change to the way people meet. Over the course of the last 12 months, the industry has shifted. Workspaces are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with open and huddle environments. New technology solutions were launched in 2015 that have made collaboration easier and more productive. These solutions recognize the number of people in a room and can block out extraneous noises commonly found in open office environments. Most importantly, new solutions are transforming the impact collaboration has on organizations across the globe. Doctors in Utrecht, The Netherlands, performed and broadcast to medical students all around the globe, the world’s first 3-Dimensional surgery, changing the game relative to medical education and the delivery of better outcomes for patients.”
- The Millennial Generation is shaping the Workplace of the Future – “In 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force and they are the most active and engaged through social networks, using technology more frequently than any other generation to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues. They are natural collaborators and gravitate to video for both communication and learning. In a recent study commissioned by Polycom, 78 percent of millennials indicated access to the technology they preferred to use makes them more productive at work.”
- Mobility is now about the collaboration of devices – The Workplace of the Future is not a location and work is now anywhere you are, not a place you go. It is centered on being able to perform work tasks from any location, at any time, from any device, with the same level of productivity as can be achieved in the office. A recent Polycom-commissioned study showed 90 percent of businesses in the U.S. are offering or expanding remote working options and this is dramatically changing how we work.
- Web technologies are maturing but interoperability remains a challenge – Leveraging the web browser to access collaboration has been an objective for the industry and WebRTC is emerging as a viable technical option. Ira Weinstein, a senior analyst of Wainhouse Research, predicts that over the next 3 – 5 years, as more browsers become WebRTC friendly, enterprises will embrace the technology. Initially, this approach will simplify video interactions with customers, but over time extend to business collaboration as well. WebRTC enables browser-to-browser video connections without the need to install plug-ins or additional technology. However, despite considerable interest, we expect it will be some time before WebRTC sees widespread adoption.
- Workspaces are morphing to support new work styles – Where you work is now wherever you are and this is driving an important shift in enterprise facilities planning and IT. Visual collaboration is no longer confined to the conference room and the desk but is extending throughout the enterprise and into virtual spaces outside the office. Audio, content sharing, and video communications are no longer just conference room technologies but now permeate every workspace inside and out of the office. In 2016, we believe the industry will place a renewed focus on enabling a wide range of workspaces, expanding huddle/smaller rooms and demonstrate an increasing desire for center-of-the-room collaboration solutions.
- The value of the cloud will reach far beyond collaboration connectivity – The cloud holds unique promise in delivering collaboration services. It is fundamentally changing how enterprises procure and consume services and is driving new usage models. In the past, many small businesses viewed collaboration solutions as an unattainable luxury beyond their limited IT teams and budget. Cloud opens up opportunities for small businesses to operate on an equal footing to their larger competitors by scaling through easier access to collaboration services.
- Collective memory helps conquer time zones – No matter how effective the communications network, it can’t mitigate the time zone challenges inherent in a global workforce. As the rapid expansion of globalization continues, we believe 2016 a greater number of companies will adopt a “follow the sun” strategy which will place greater emphasis on collective memory – the ability to capture, persist and share relevant key information across the enterprise. We anticipate that will, in turn, drive adoption of solutions that allow users to seamlessly and simply capture video, audio and content collaboration, and support playback and analysis from any location at any time.
- What you see is what we all see – In the last twelve months, the market has seen changes that have made an incredible impact on the way corporate decisions are made. Previously, many enterprises looked at collaboration tools as “nice-to-have” but not integral to daily operations. Today, we are crossing the chasm and we believe collaboration has become mission critical. Millennials are now the largest component of the workforce and have brought their collaboration tools and behaviors with them. Enterprises are making collaboration a strategic initiative by refactoring workspaces beyond traditional conference rooms and rapidly expanding mobility solutions to allow work to happen wherever people are and whenever they prefer.