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Top 5 collaboration trends for 2016

Geoff Thomas, President, Asia Pacific, Polycom | Jan. 19, 2016
People-centred collaboration tools, user-driven innovation, and deeper use of analytics to prevail.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

In recent times, we've seen some incredible collaboration innovations come to life and the nature of work rapidly change. What has been very clear is that significant advancements in 'anywhere, anytime' collaboration,and the evolution of workplaces and workspaces are being seen globally. Today's customers not only have greater freedom and flexibility of choice for their collaboration needs, but open environments have replaced traditional meeting rooms with hot desks and shared spaces.With that, traditional room-based conferencing technology is progressing to service these spaces whether they are controlled, personal, or open environments. Similarly, the very nature of work teams has also changed; projects tend to scale down the number of people involved and this dynamic is driving personal, small group interactions — very often across different locations.

Organisations today have moved away from questioning the need and use for collaboration technology. Instead, it's proliferation that is high on the list of concerns — how to equip and deploy in every space, how to scale up or down as necessary, how to account for the different modalities required, and so on. The key for vendors here is to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together and provide a customer experience that is consistent, uninterrupted, and as painless as possible. 

Some requirements for effective and productive collaboration remain the same: connectivity, rich media, and access to content are a given. As we approach 2016, here are my thoughts on what lies next for collaboration in APAC:

1. Technology will move to the centre of the room
Throughout history, natural human collaboration and interaction in most social settings are conducted 'in the round' — conversations around dinner tables, team huddles before a game, brainstorms to solve problems and create new ideas. However, traditional video collaboration systems have participants seated side by side at a rectangular conference table, leading to a 'tunnel vision' style of interaction.

The far-end and in-room experience is now changing; by putting cameras and displays at the centre of a workspace, smaller groups of people can draw together into a collaborative circle. New solutions are developed with this in mind, with human-centred design for use in open space environments as well as traditional meeting rooms. They will also incorporate features such as intelligent 360-degree video, automatic muting and noise blocking, and advanced camera technologies which frame the active speaker, ensuring natural human instincts are a key consideration for improving collaboration tools.

2. Cloud-based apps will converge for simpler workflows
A recent research report by Skyhigh Networks showed that a typical enterprise uses over 1,100 different cloud-based apps for collaboration and file sharing. The range of apps is exploding and they are being created to help support how people get work done. New solutions which stitch together workflows that go through these apps -'cloud on cloud' solutions so to speak — are set to rise in the future. In the real-time collaboration space, opportunities are opening up to integrate audio, video and content within workflows in the cloud, making it faster and easier to deploy to multiple customers at once. This model would eliminate the need for software distribution and remote support to customers on an individual basis. Instead, upgrades and improvements can be managed from one central data centre as a faster and continuous process.


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