‘Work’ is no longer a place that people go to, it’s what they do regardless of location

|July 7, 2017 0
Image courtesy of suphakit73 at Freedigitalphotos.net

Soma Tah

The adoption of mobility, cloud, and social media have changed the way people used to work earlier. The boundaries of workplaces are melting down fast, as today people can choose where they work, thanks to the consumerization of IT as well as democratization of it. These are making organizations rely more on the virtual communication tools than ever before- a glue that binds these geographically dispersed teams together.

Video is one growing and effective virtual communication tools among them. The increasing appetite to consume video content coupled with the easy availability of video communications tools will eventually result in a strong adoption of video in diverse meeting formats and scenarios such as conference rooms, huddle rooms, open spaces, desktops, and mobile devices. A Frost & Sullivan survey has estimated that globally there are 30 million huddle rooms and less than 5 percent of those are video enabled which suggests ample room for growth, in this particular area only.

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We spoke to Adil Khan, Enterprise Business Head, Polycom India to know more on the growth prospects further and future trends in the workplace collaboration, as he feels strongly that ‘Work’ is no longer a place that people go to, it’s something that they do, irrespective of time, location, and the devices they use.

Excerpt:

Collaboration has become a popular buzzword in workplaces these days- but what’s the reality? 

Collaboration is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ but  is considered to be business essential for Indian workplaces. According to a recent survey by Polycom, 86 percent of employees in our country work with a colleague based in a different location. This reflects an increasing dependence on global and geographically-dispersed teams in business. The growth in distributadil-khaned workforces mean that businesses will need to find ways to empower employees with vastly different experiences and relationships with technology, ensuring they can collaborate effectively to drive productivity and bottom line results.

Has video become an integral part of collaboration in small workplaces? 

Yes, video has become an integral part for small workplaces. When you think of video collaboration even as recently as three to five years ago, it was considered an expensive technology with restricted usage and confined to conference and board rooms for senior executives. But today, with the democratization of technology and increase in the number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities coming online in India, many small businesses in the country are having access to collaboration technology which is enabling them to work from a multitude of locations and options including desktop, mobile, and cloud.  This is helping businesses better communicate with employees and fuel growth.

Everyone is trying to catch the ‘Workplace collaboration’ wave nowadays. On the solution providers’ side, we have seen Amazon, and Microsoft have become quite aggressive in this space of late. Being a seasoned enterprise player, how do you see this onslaught of pocket-friendly cloud-based video-conferencing solutions?

It is interesting that you highlight players like Microsoft. We have realized that one of the critical components to succeed in the market is by partnering with industry players that complement our solutions. This has become an integral part of our overall business structure.

For instance, Polycom and Microsoft have a strategic alliance for more than a decade, that has resulted in more than 40 voice, video, and content solutions that seamlessly integrate with Skype for Business/Microsoft Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange—including the broadest available portfolio of voice and video solutions that integrate with Office 365.

Similarly, Polycom’s new endpoint interoperability with Zoom Video Communications advances the meeting experience by delivering everything needed for in-room video meetings with clear video and audio quality. This solution is ideally suited for mid-market customers who may prefer a cloud-based subscription service but also want the elevated in-room experience that business-grade video endpoints provide.

With the widespread availability of collective document sharing and editing solutions or enterprise social network platforms, do you feel that standalone video-conferencing solutions will evolve to become all-encompassing soon?

Not really. There’s no denying the power of face-to-face connections—especially considering that over 80 percent of communication consists of nonverbal visual cues. From sales meetings and product development sessions to doctor-patient conferences and crisis response command centers, video conferencing solutions has become mission-critical to many industries.

People use video conference to interact with people, not technology. Face-to-face communication is the cornerstone of connection for any organization—and for communication to be effective, it’s vital that colleagues, customers, and suppliers be able to focus on the message instead of the technology – an all-encompassing solution would divert from this objective. Therefore, I don’t foresee this replacing standalone video conferencing systems.

How is mobility changing the world of collaboration? Can you share some new trends in terms of technology/ emerging areas of adoption? 

Today’s workforce was raised on technology – they expect work to be the natural, intuitive way that work gets done, from anywhere, at any time. They want to have the flexibility to connect from any device, any location, and they expect that experience to feel no different from meeting in person.

We are witnessing a rise in huddle rooms or small group collaboration. Individual workspaces have been shifting from the old-fashioned private office to partitioned open spaces like cubicles, and more recently to fully agile workspaces. As companies take advantage of distributed workplaces, meeting spaces are changing and conference rooms are getting smaller.

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