Demand for collaborative tools and UC solutions boomed during the pandemic and this shows no signs of slowing as people look to return to the office on a more flexible basis.
Jens Werner, Product Manager, Business Communication, Sennheiser, says: “The move to hybrid collaboration and meetings is definitely here to stay, and we will see further investments in AV and IT tech – they are the backbone of businesses.”
Indeed, the aim for many companies is to ensure colleagues can work as they want to no matter their location, seamlessly collaborating with their teams as if they were all in the same room. The desire is for tools that are straightforward to set up, user friendly, future-proof and built to last.
Till Gotterbarm, Product Management and Strategic Partnerships EMEA, Avocor, expands: “Employees should be able to walk into any workspace, regardless of location, and get to work collaborating with fellow team members without a lot of setup time.”
Features such as the ability to show cloud-based real-time annotations in a meeting with, and from, everyone on a call and being able to quickly save and send meeting notes and action points are increasingly in demand, making it easier to connect in-person teams with those working remotely.
Adam Dover, Corporate Marketing Manager, Sony Professional Displays and Solutions, elaborates: “Impressive displays, proper workspace management, a modern environment, and an efficient flow of information and branding is imperative to achieve this. Considering this, we have seen more and more organisations looking to implement an ecosystem of real-time signage, quality displays and efficient workplace management solutions that can work seamlessly across their office spaces and logistics centres.”
Gotterbarm agrees: “Employees should be able to move from each style of work fluidly, whether they’re in a conference room in the office in the morning or at home working after the school run in the afternoon.”
In addition to video technologies, audio also has a crucial role to play in ensuring these smooth transitions. “Real communication and effective collaboration in this new working model is much more productive when high-quality audio is in place,” says Chris Merrick, Senior Director, Global Integrated Systems Marketing at Shure.
This utilisation of collaboration tools is also benefiting businesses themselves, offering more opportunities to attract talent and develop a diverse workforce.
“Collaboration between company offices in different countries has improved massively, making teams more diverse, which in turn leads to broader and better decision-making,” adds Werner. “Companies located in remote areas are able to hire the city-based expert who is not willing to move anywhere else, or the digital working nomad who works from varying locations.”
AV technology also has an important role to play in making sure employees feel comfortable, safe, and fully informed about any new protocols as they return to their place of work.
“Digital signage is an effective method for conveying messages, and we expect networked systems for this purpose to grow in demand,” shares Dale. “There is a growing trend towards touchless technology, and we could see more of this in areas such as room booking, access control and so on.
Data and analytics is also increasingly valued across the enterprise sector. Workspace intelligence analytic solutions built into workplace hardware such as meeting room displays allow enterprise decision-makers to take immediate action to re-evaluate meeting rooms, UC hardware and software ROI, as well as guide future planning.
As Gotterbarm says: “Analytics and data have always been an important driver in decision-making for the enterprise, but with the return-to-work post-Covid, they will become even more critical to ensuring both operational efficiency as well as ensuring employee comfort and confidence.”
Dover concludes: “Many businesses are thinking about how to optimise their workspaces. The solution is to deploy a workspace management platform that can ensure the office space caters to this new working world, where flexibility remains at the core of all modern, forward-thinking organisations. Flexible working is here to stay, with some companies phasing in slowly, and others redefining the working week with set work-from-home days.”