The office of the future: How workplace communication is changing

Over the past decade, workplaces and the way people work in these workplaces have changed significantly. The closed technology ecosystem of phones, emails, chat, and shared sites is a thing of the past, and has been replaced by a growing number of open platforms that foster easier communication and collaboration within organisations.

Now, this new class of productivity platforms is evolving to offer built-in apps, cross-platform compatibility and integrations with every service under the sun (almost!). This enables easier communication and effective collaboration between employees and helps businesses be nimble and agile, increase efficiency and achieve higher productivity – all at a faster pace. No wonder these platforms have seen a meteoric rise in enterprise adoption.

>See also: Oxfam’s communication transformation

Today, there are a growing number of such tools and platforms that are competing with each other. As businesses are quickly adapting to the changing landscape by trying out new solutions and switching subscriptions, the early mover advantage is not as sacrosanct as it once was.

According to the latest Worldwide IT Spending Forecast by Gartner, global IT spending is a trillion-dollar market. Flock, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, Atlassian’s HipChat (now Stride), Google’s G-Suite Apps with Hangouts and Duo, Facebook’s Workplace, Amazon’s Anytime, and a host of newer/smaller players are all vying for a piece of this pie.

There is space for all these tools and platforms in today’s market but what should businesses – big and small – expect from the best of these platforms in the near future?

As technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) trickle into the mainstream, the best team communication and collaboration platforms will make use of them to help you get more work done.

PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series on Artificial Intelligence reports, “72% of business execs believe AI will be the business advantage of the future. 67% of business execs see AI automating processes and optimising business efficiency.”

>See also: Communication key to allaying employee concerns about automation

And Gartner, in its Smarter With Gartner series, says, “We predict by 2019, AR, VR and mixed reality (MR) solutions will be evaluated and adopted in 20% of large-enterprise businesses.”

Enterprise tools that adopt these technologies with customer-centric development efforts will be better positioned to help businesses scale and increase ROI. Looking into the future, here are a few ways in which these new technologies can improve productivity.

Leading enterprise messengers, including Flock, already use Bots to help users set reminders, create and complete To-Dos, and more. How about using bots to schedule appointments, set up polls, organise standup meetings, and even draft basic replies to emails? All these tasks are repetitive time-killers. If handled by bots, they can give your employees more time to do more quality work.

Meetings have become easier to organise with built-in video conferencing features in enterprise messengers. How about a VR app that brings people into a virtual meeting room even if they are sitting at opposite corners of the globe? This can exponentially increase the effectiveness of collaboration among distributed teams.

>See also: How to prepare your office for the app generation

While apps that incorporate these technologies will be useful, as we reach a “too many apps” stage, businesses will need a platform that brings together all apps, workflows and conversations into one interface. Enterprises will need extensible platforms that they can customise and for which they can create integrations with minimal effort. This is the thinking behind apps like FlockOS, which let users create custom integrations within the Flock platform.

Ultimately, the best tools for your business should make your life simpler on a daily basis. You have to make the tool more intuitive and smarter for daily tasks that take up a majority of your time, rather than focusing on developing features that may be used only once or twice a week.

The use of technologies such as AI, AR, VR and IoT will change the way we work and exciting things will come from this space. However, with a plethora of available options, ensure that you only pick the best tools and technologies that help you and your teams get work done faster and better.


Sourced by Bhavin Turakhia, CEO of Flock


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...