As we prepare for a prosperous 2015, it seems a good time to look forward and consider what the future has in store for the world of collaboration and the way we engage with each other on a business and a personal level.
Several innovative technologies are emerging across a number of different fields today, many of which look set to drive human collaboration in completely new ways and change our everyday work and personal lives throughout the next decade.
There are 4 main up and coming trends worth keeping an eye on, as they will no doubt affect the face of collaboration in the years to come.
1. Personal Telepresence
Communication and collaboration were traditionally considered to be a method of exchanging information – a phone call or email would have been sufficient for a report or business update. But now our goals have changed – we are looking for more than just a quick and easy retrieval of data. It is about real engagement and establishing personal connections. People don’t just want to leave a message and hope they get it, we want to make a connection and be there with them.
We have already made huge steps in this area – from mobile video conferencing to immersive telepresence, distance is becoming less and less of an obstacle to collaboration. Technology is continuing to evolve and it looks as though the next big thing is personal telepresence, in which everyone can fully engage with each other in increasingly realistic environments, opening up a world of connectivity far beyond that which we currently inhabit.
Virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift are not far off and we are increasingly seeing ambient technologies that can make normal office and boardroom spaces more engaging, such as acoustic management systems, coordinated illumination systems and directed ultrasonics.
All of these techniques, as they develop, will bring remote collaboration more and more in line with our shared and collaborative environment and no matter where we are, we can all be there together.
2. Live language transcription
While so much has been done by collaborative technology to break down the barriers of distance and enable people to collaborate internationally without the expensive and time-consuming necessity for travel, the barriers of language still remain.
The solution to this problem is live language transcription – the instantaneous translation of speech via technology which identifies what you are saying and automatically transcribes it into other languages depending on with whom you are communicating.
While we are still nowhere near the capability for this function, as technology advances it is becoming more practical and very limited transcription is beginning to appear.
For such a system to successfully work would require extremely high accuracy, low latency, large vocabulary and compatibility with a huge range of voices, accents and acoustic environments and this is unlikely to happen in the next few years.
3. The rise of the desktop
What with the growth of smart devices, mobile working and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD), one might be forgiven for thinking that the traditional desktop computer, and thereby desktop collaboration as we know it, will become defunct in the next few years. This is not the case – new generations of the desktop are continuing to evolve and will proceed to do so long into the future.
The desktop is the only endpoint for which reliability can be guaranteed by your IT team, as it remains unaffected by battery-charging concerns, undependable wireless networks, forgotten passwords and potential security issues.
Whilst desktop devices are greatly outnumbered by mobile devices, they are unrivalled in terms of power, security and reliability.
4. Meeting meta-data
Currently, most of the information in a video conference is lost – e.g. who first made a suggestion, the way they proposed it, who agreed with him etc. Meetings meta-data, in which the statistics of meetings are captured for later analysis, is becoming increasingly important for efficient conference management.
It is not just the actions from the meeting that are important; it is just as valuable to have an insight into what actually happens in the physical space in which video collaboration occurs – i.e. the meta-data of live interaction.
Understanding exactly what goes on in the collaboration process gives an idea of the meeting dynamics and who the best idea-generators, managers and revenue-growers are, allowing you to glean a deeper insight into exactly how human dynamics affect value.
These changes are just a select few of a huge number of trends we will no doubt see develop further over the next decade or so and drive the evolution of how people and businesses collaborate. Whilst it is not possible to predict the future with certainty, it is clear that the way we work has changed and will continue in this fashion over the next few years.
Wondering how you should shape your business to take advantage of new developments? Call Videocall on +44 (0) 1276 706706 or get in touch here for a free assessment of your existing video communications technology.
Image courtesy of Polycom