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New priorities for the workplace

New ideas, technological innovation and new generations of workforce continue to upend traditional approaches to work, altering the strategies and technologies which companies use to create smarter workplaces.

Pandemic lockdowns pushed office workers into their homes and remote work; some experts argue the pandemic simply accelerated trends while others insist the pandemic introduced true change from fringe to mainstream. 

Some workers work every day in the office; others work from home but venture into the office a couple days a week; some workers are 'remote' full-time; some are truly mobile and work mostly from 'third' places; and others have office jobs that require occasional travel.

In either case, we find ourselves in a new world of work, a world where you’ll hear 'hybrid' as a description of the many companies coping with a workforce that demands choices.

The time where some employers thought we would go back to ‘normal’ did not last very long.

One thing is clear: each company will find its own solution. So much depends upon the type of industry, the job category, the size of the company—and even the attitude of the top management.

Each company will struggle to find its formula, its strategic priorities for building a smarter workplace. 

Strategic Priorities

Author Philip Ross talks about 'Unwork' in his book - a manifesto for 'unworking' - that is, unlearning old habits and rituals established for an outdated office. And creating new strategies, ones fit for an age of digital technology, design innovation, and diverse workforces.

We’ve all heard of the Great Resignation and now the Quiet Quitting. One expert (the one who coined the term Great Resignation, organisational psychologist Anthony Klotz) says employees moved to companies who have “embraced the future of work rather than resisted it.”

Embracing the future of work requires embracing 'flex work', another expression for allowing employees more options about their work arrangements (hybrid, telecommuting, remote, flextime, job sharing and more).

If flex or hybrid work environment means one goes into an office for a purpose, any strategy needs to include easy access to tools needed to do their job, time for collaboration and heads down work, and better-run meetings. In-office time should be coordinated for optimal collaboration.

The pandemic has also pushed personal safety and health to the forefront of the employee mindset.

Experts suggest workers want to be able to co-create their “workplace experience.” Doing this requires more personalization, autonomy, flexibility, coaching and new strategies. It’s no coincidence that “experience” (a favorite word of the AV industry) pops up.

Technology Priorities

Workplace experience is very dependent upon smart technology. And the pandemic has inspired many new innovations, forcing a re-evaluation of technology priorities.

While the mobile transformation of work is more advanced than the digital transformation, companies found they had to upgrade many of their original approaches to remote work and work-from-home (WFM).

If there is one thing we learned the past two years, it’s the need for equity of experience for every participant in every meeting. What was once standard fare is now considered slow, awkward, non-inclusive, and grounds for the Great Resignation.

There’s a battle of brands to dominate the meeting rooms, creating a front line of innovation as manufacturers finetune their product ranges. All four key human interfaces (displays, cameras, microphones, speakers) have been re-thought and re-engineered for new office conditions.

At least one major AV company is arguing AV professionals should upgrade how they think about (and use) desktop productivity. The cost of old technology suggests AV integrators could use their expertise to design better desktop solutions which increase both productivity and worker satisfaction.

One new technology, IoT, brings numerous opportunities to use sensors to improve office life—not only by measuring variables but also by allowing post-measurement personalisation in some cases.

IoT does not stand alone: new solutions with Artificial Intelligence and Digital Twin can enhance what IoT brings to the office.

While makers of AV and IT reimagine their devices to fit the new marketplace, others want to reimagine the entire work experience and disrupt the incumbents. Both metaverse and holography industries covet the smart workplace and rising venture capital serves to enable their innovations.

Even humble audio (oddly the quietest of technologies in a world where technologies all seem to shout) understands their products need to adapt to the shift in the workplace.


This year’s conference theme, 'New Priorities for the Workplace', explores the new strategy and technology priorities that must follow the conclusion that we have moved to mainly a hybrid workplace. 

We’ll share the newest technology as well as the latest thinking on strategies to move forward in smart workplaces.

The Summit brings together thought leaders and product leaders to move past the pandemic-related uncertainty to now chart specific courses of direction for companies, their integrators, and their vendors.

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