By Dean Clark, Director, and Voice and UC Practice Leader
The workplace of the future
In his role as leader of the Voice and Unified Communications (UC) Practice, Dean Clark is responsible for the overall customer benefit-driven Voice and UC strategy for Bell Business Markets. With more than 15 years of experience developing winning product and pricing strategies for Canadian businesses, Dean has unique insights into workplace transformation in Canada.
Imagine a workplace that blurs the line between virtual and physical workspaces. Where employees can collaborate with colleagues, partners and customers in real time, from any location. Where intelligent systems adapt to your personal preferences, anticipate your needs, and offer up insights and apps, as you need them. Where hardware and software environments are in harmony.
This workplace will be here before we know it, thanks to technological advancements ranging from virtual reality solutions to responsive virtual networks. And it is business needs that are driving this transformation. For too long, Canadian companies shouldered the costs of unused office space as the remote workforce grew; struggled to rein in “shadow IT” as workers adopted unknown apps; and lost talent to organizations that offered employees more flexibility.
Technology is advancing to meet these business challenges head on, offering innovative capabilities to organizations of all sizes. The question is, what does the workplace of the future really look like? The following gives a glimpse into what these technological advancements will enable.
A seamless user experience
Collaborating with colleagues, partners and customers while on the move can be stressful. Trying to transfer calls from your desktop to your mobile and then to your car can be a complex and manual process, and dialling into a conference while on the go is cumbersome, to say the least. Tomorrow, the user experience will be seamless, thanks to widespread adoption of advanced AI, machine learning and data analytics capabilities. Tools will be intuitive and easy to use, offering a high-quality and consistent user experience from anywhere.
Just imagine being able to start a video meeting on your mobile device as you leave the house in the morning. Once inside your self-driving car, you can click or ask your virtual assistant to transfer the meeting to the car’s video screen, without interruption. And while on the road, network bandwidth and quality of service will scale and adjust to keep voice and video quality crystal clear. The transitions are seamless with no manual intervention or dropped calls. What excites me about this example is that, while self-driving cars may seem futuristic, many of these capabilities will soon be available on devices you already use today.
Great progress has been made to integrate formerly independent communication streams, like calling, meetings and teams, into one unified platform. Now envision this platform fully integrated with other business apps that your organization relies on, such as contact centres, customer relationship management (CRM) tools and payment systems. Moving forward, I expect a true “Unification of Things”, where communication capabilities are tightly and natively integrated with supporting IT and productivity systems.
Consider the time you could save if, after an important customer meeting, all notes and action items were intelligently captured by your meeting app and automatically logged in your CRM. You could launch your next review session from the CRM app itself, giving internal and external stakeholders secure access to the latest updates in the shared meeting space. Integrating these tools will not only increase productivity, but also help your teams serve customers better – ensuring that the most up-to-date requirements are accessible from anywhere.
Today’s workplace is really “one size fits all”. Everyone has the same tools, apps, cubicles and meeting rooms – with little attention given to the needs of individuals or teams. While we are seeing an increase in the adoption of offices with team collaboration spaces, it has been a gradual process with limited personalization built in. Tomorrow, offices will be equipped with IT systems that know our individual needs, preferences, permissions and histories, and will make the right app available to us at the right time. Smart virtual assistants, IoT-powered screens and multimedia walls are just some of the things that will be built into team spaces to enhance efficiency and collaboration.
Think about what you could achieve without even lifting a finger. While preparing for a presentation, your smart virtual assistant can recommend subject matter experts to help you, based on your company directory and who you have worked with in the past. It can contact them to solicit feedback, schedule a working session, rearrange any conflicting appointments and book a meeting room. When it’s time for this meeting, the room’s multimedia system will recognize you using facial recognition, turn on the lights, adjust the temperature, brightness and volume to your personal preferences, and initiate the conference on your voice command. This personalization will not only drive efficiencies, but also enhance the quality of your team’s work.
Workplace transformation is happening. And while these examples may seem futuristic, they provide a glimpse into how next-gen solutions are transforming organizations and enabling real business value. The question now becomes, are you ready to embrace these changes and make this workplace of the future a reality? What steps can you take today, and how can you ensure that your strategy is aligned with your long-term business objectives?
We are currently transforming the way we connect, collaborate and do business to get ready for the workplace of the future – let us help you do the same. Visit bell.ca/collaborate to learn more.