Virtual Collaboration predictions in 2022

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Virtual Collaboration has been among the top technologies that have been playing a very critical role during the past two years of the pandemic. It has enabled businesses and end-users to overcome physical barriers and boundaries forced upon by the severity of COVID-19.

Though the world has won some fights against the fast-spreading virus with vaccines, the battle hasn’t ended yet. It still continues as the virus resurges in new variants around the world keeping its fear and effects on humans intact. And that does mean, the usage of Virtual Collaboration technologies in different forms and ways will continue even this year.

So how does the Virtual Collaboration technology space look like in 2022? Any guesses or probably any predictions that could outline how the Virtual Collaboration this year? It may be hard to do so for many. But here are the top five predictions for Virtual Collaboration in 2022.

1. The future of collaboration will mimic real-life scenarios
Today, consumers are spoilt for choices and are demanding experiences that are more interactive and engaging than ever before. Across physical and virtual channels, people now want enhanced personalised interactions, proactive services and connected experiences. This demand for superior experiences will facilitate more dependence on advanced technologies like AI, VR and AR which will prove to be game-changers in internal and external collaborations.

Video communications platforms will also see the addition of many more products and services powered by these technologies. The collaboration suite will itself advance with the augmentation of these technologies. Virtual reality, for example, offers a variety of formats such as Huddle Rooms, which provides a view of sitting together when you are chatting. Other examples include whiteboards, kiosks, etc.

AI and machine learning will also enable greater inclusivity, with powering innovations like live translation and transcription which break down language barriers making virtual meetings accessible for all.

CX teams will advance towards an era where AI-powered experiences will be created to feel like in-person engagement similar to real-life interactions. AI, AR and VR technology is at the centre of the conferencing room pod experience, enabling features like auto-tracking cameras, speaker focus or even people counting for meeting attendance.

Visual collaboration tools will provide more immersive experiences that commission real-time and asynchronous communication, allowing teams to work more collaboratively and efficiently, irrespective of where they are located.  

2. Attaining inclusion in a Hybrid environment
To enable a productive and secure hybrid workforce, organisations need to evolve their approaches to security, from implementing multi-factor authentication for all employees to following the Zero Trust approach. By adopting the Zero Trust model, organisations can put continuous checks in place, allowing employees to access the right level of data and work securely from everywhere and anywhere they may be.

Apart from security, poor Internet connections have distorted the communication experience for many and have also been employees’ biggest challenge while working remotely over the past year. However, connectivity resilience through lower latency networks will soon enable more reliable and enhanced communication.

Once fully adopted, employees will no longer be restricted to a Wi-Fi router to work online. Attaining connectivity resilience also highlights the importance of digital inclusion in the region – sustained and healthy growth can only be achieved when economies move forward collectively.

The Internet economy must include the unserved and underserved, enabling them to participate in establishing meaningful connections while protecting them from cyber challenges. The education sector is a relevant example. Education providers are leveraging video and enhanced connectivity for virtual learning in rural areas to make education more accessible to underserved populations across the country. Frontline workers can also be better supported with enhanced digital experiences, supported by both connectivity and the relevant tools for staying connected.

Like all technology, now video communications platforms need to incorporate all settings and ensure a level playing field for all, from students and knowledge workers to those on the frontline.

3. Accelerated adoption of unified communication platforms across industries
Video conferencing platforms have enabled us to seamlessly connect face to face with people all over the world. During the tragedy of the pandemic, two main sectors which witnessed a large-scale adoption of video-conferencing technology were healthcare and education.

Telehealth became an important modality for future care needs and virtual learning extended educational experiences beyond traditional classrooms. However, we will witness video conferencing platforms being increasingly leveraged across industries and sectors to serve a much larger objective for companies to stay competitive and ahead of the curve.

Accelerated adoption of unified communication platforms will be seen in BFSI, aviation & travel, law enforcement, resource management, entertainment and even government agencies. Needless to say, the more these platforms evolve to offer more immersive experiences, the larger will be their rate of usage and adoption.

Collaboration platforms will enable new ways of working, learning, delivering services, hosting events, and empowering a hybrid workforce across sectors. We are looking at a year that will be marked by some very robust growth in both technology and usage.

4. The Real Evolution of ‘Work’ will Play Out
The workplace of the future is undergoing a metamorphosis to meet the dynamic and flexible needs of today’s workforce. This evolution has called for a shift in thinking of work not as a place, but as something that people do, regardless of the place they are at.

Work will be more about how people connect, collaborate and produce and not where their workstations are. This is being enabled by video collaboration platforms and how well they did in keeping things going during extended periods of lockdown.

The benefit of these platforms was realised by end-users, organisations and one might even say, by the environment at large. In order to succeed in the hybrid world, companies will need to upskill their entire workforce. The entire workforce will need to be trained on how to incorporate these tools in a way that improves team collaboration and efficiency irrespective of where they work.

Going forward, it will no longer just be about digital experience, customer experience or even employee experience. Businesses now need total experience, where all of these ‘X’s are delivered in one complete package. A total experience approach also takes into account employee experience as happy employees lead to happy customers, with both linked to each other.

Employees will be at the heart of every future of work strategy and are leading the transformation towards a hybrid environment that will allow them to work productively, securely and where they feel most mentally refreshed, leading to the real evolution of work.

5. A digital-first healthcare system is permanent
The healthcare system will witness an ongoing innovation of digital applications in everything from healthcare delivery to medical training. We have already come across remarkable capabilities like deviceless screening that can measure things like pulse and respiration without monitors or medical instruments — by using different technologies available on a person’s mobile phone.

Such innovations will enable a digital-first healthcare system where patients can experience the same quality of care from their team and manage their health from the comfort of their homes. Such a value-based healthcare system will also reduce stress on the already burdened traditional entities like hospitals which can now focus more on patients who need physical interventions.

Communication will continue to be the key pillar for all these innovations and video and collaboration technologies are expected to be part of enhancing care delivery, developing life-saving drugs and devices, and improving patient experience moving forward.

Taking the same thought further, practices and techniques related to overall wellness and healthy living will also largely go on to be serviced online by collaboration platforms.

(This article is written by Sameer Raje, GM and India Head – Zoom Video Communications, Inc. The views expressed in this article are of the author.)

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