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Today’s workforce has changed significantly in the past decade. More and more businesses are hiring remote employees, freelance employees, part-time employees in addition to full-time in-office employees to help with an ever-expanding workload. It is imperative that as the workplace changes, we learn to collaborate on a higher level. These three trends are driving the adoption of collaboration tools.
It was found that innovative business collaboration techniques can improve your company’s productivity by 20-30 percent. As consumers push for a better experience and quick response times, we have no choice but to use the technology at our disposal to improve our collaboration. Let’s take a look at the trends making headlines.
APIs and Integration
For employees to work efficiently from any location, data and pertinent documents and communication must be at arm’s length. APIs process requests and create seamless communication between other systems—definitely a requirement today.
We now live and work in a hybrid environment. Some applications are available through the cloud and others are on-premise only. With these differences, businesses should implement a tool that will integrate both cloud applications and on-premise applications. This is where the API comes in.
Think about it. How many different applications do you and your employees use each day? Do you use Slack to communicate? Do you use Asana to track projects? Perhaps you use Dropbox as the ultimate “catch-all” for your documents and project information. If you could seamlessly connect all these applications together seamlessly, would you? Of course, you would.
In my company, we’ve integrated Asana, Dropbox, and Google Drive with Slack. Our employees can find the documents they need, easily share them with coworkers, and track progress seamlessly. All thanks to APIs. It’s not an exaggeration when I say we can’t live without these collaboration tools.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
VR and AR are not simply for video gaming alone. In fact, these technologies are incredibly useful for enterprises and businesses are taking notice. According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, VR and AR are expected to have an enterprise and public-sector market size of $16.1 billion by 2025.
As for virtual reality, boardrooms are being changed by the technology. Even when employees are not able to be in the same physical space, collaboration is still an option, even across the world. Some companies such as RealSense offer VR products that allow live streamers to change their background to content, which enhances presentations for all.
Other companies are marketing products that create personal avatars using body language which allows users to interact with one another in a new way. Others are using robots to act as human beings in the boardroom, using the robot’s body language and eyes to mimic that of the user. This allows remote employees the ability to feel connected to the room. Connection drives collaboration.
For augmented reality, users are still able to be immersed in their surroundings, while experiencing enhancements. For example, applications that allow users to try different hair colors before they commit could improve the customer experience. Medical students could view organs during surgery without using an actual body. And the days of the 2D mockup will soon be gone thanks to the ability of augmented reality. Instead, you can see that new chair in your own living room. The opportunities are endless.
Chatbots and Smart Virtual Personal Assistants
Have you ever logged onto a business website to find out simple answers such as their location or their menu? How many times have you been left without any answer at all? Just thinking about it frustrates me. The companies that turn to chatbots to solve this problem are head and shoulders above the competition.
But besides the many consumer-facing benefits, companies are discovering uses of chatbots and smart virtual personal assistants (SVPA) to help employees as well. Many businesses are beginning to use SVPAs in the office for collaboration purposes such as note-taking, meeting scheduling, and task reminders. They are a perfect way to boost productivity and improve collaboration.
SVPAs can scan emails for important information, present a daily meeting schedule and be used for a to-do list. Imagine the possibilities in your workplace—sign me up. This technology is just emerging too. New developments for the future of SVPAs are on the horizon, with Apple allowing third-party developers access to Siri and multiple businesses creating chatbots and SVPAs of their own.
Full Adoption of Collaboration Tools Needs to Happen
When it comes to connectedness, these collaboration technology trends are changing the way employees work and businesses operate. Full adoption of collaboration tools is enhancing productivity while giving employers the ability to hire talent no matter the location. But businesses won’t truly understand the complete benefits of the tech trends until they really are adopted across the organization. Take the time to work with employees and explain the benefits of these technologies. It will pay off in the end, I promise. I’m sure these collaboration tech trends are only just the beginning too. As more businesses begin to use them, new uses will be discovered. I, for one, can’t wait to see what else emerges. But for now, I think it’s important to focus on the adoption of collaboration tools into your workflow. It’s time to change your workplace.
This article was originally published on Forbes.