The past several years have seen an incredible evolution in the way businesses operate, including the way employees communicate, share ideas, and tackle new projects. With most of the workforce transitioning to hybrid or remote work, the demand for more support is growing. Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) technologies have evolved from merely converging voice and data networks into a business communication technology that allows workers to interact effectively from any location and on any device. The enterprise communications infrastructure includes audio, web, and video conferencing platforms to telephony systems, email, messaging team collaboration solutions, and other productivity tools. UC platforms are also evolving to be more user-friendly and mobile-native to support employees’ demands for a more flexible work environment. Today’s modern workforce also demands support for BYO and corporate devices.
Cool, but what’s next?
Beyond next-gen, one-touch video conference capabilities or offering tools across all device environments, what’s next for collaboration in the modern enterprise? Let’s look at how breakthroughs in embedded communication tools, speech recognition software, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies shape the next wave of collaborative application and UC&C services.
Voice-activated enterprise collaboration
New announcements from Amazon Web Services, Workplace by Facebook, and other tech leaders give us some insight into where enterprise collaboration is heading. Imagine getting to your desk and asking, ‘Hey, Alexa, what meetings do I have today?’ or ‘Who can help me with this marketing presentation?’ Or ‘What are my latest inventory numbers at the Phoenix warehouse?’ These are precisely the sort of natural language processing and voice-activated interactions Amazon is working on with its Alexa for Business offering. Amazon’s Visio and many other areas extend enterprise collaboration further using speech-recognition technology and AI. The idea is to let people naturally ask questions to voice bots, at home or in the office, to stay organized and focused on the things that matter. Additionally, voice-activated UC systems like Alexa for Business also allow businesses to build their APIs to extend the usefulness of the voice systems. These AI-powered enterprise applications blur the lines between our consumer-centric world and the modern workplace by empowering employees to voice-manage calendars, start meetings, and notify IT of an issue.
As these new, more sophisticated voice-activated collaboration tools are adopted, they will depend on new models beyond the cloud to support uninterrupted connectivity. New voice technologies are set to revolutionize enterprises, and speech technology and artificial intelligence (AI) will profoundly affect collaboration in the coming years (Channel Futures).
Some of today’s collaboration applications have limited functionality to prevent teams from experiencing truly seamless communication. For instance, instead of opening the CRM app, opening your messaging app, sharing your screen, or sending a link to update a record, what if you could IM a colleague directly from your CRM app? New embedded collaboration apps are making this workflow a reality, and in doing so, these capabilities have the potential to make teams much more productive. It’s the closest thing to working side-by-side in a remote working environment, which explains why so many companies are interested in the implications of embedded collaboration tools.
That adage holds in today’s digital workplace. Advancements around unified communication and collaboration technology enable information sharing and enhance collaboration in ways we could not have imagined. As enterprises look to strengthen communication across the office, countries, and time zones, the future looks exciting with collaboration applications supporting in-place app integration for a seamless user experience.