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ITEXPO Keynote: The Promise of Progress in Visual Collaboration

January 27, 2016

The market is, over time, converging to provide visual experience. Technology is not just offering the freedom to work when and where we choose. And it is not just technology transforming the way we work. ITEXPO’s first keynote today on visual collaboration, from Polycom’s Ashan Willy broke down the workplace into three categories to illustrate this change: Who, What and How.




2015 marked the rise in Millennials. It was in this year that they became the dominate group in the workforce. Vastly outnumbering baby boomers and gaining a healthy lead on generation X. Millennials are an interesting group because they are the first generation of digital natives who don’t just use tech for work, but to live. Willy noted this generation will check their mobile devices 37 times an hour; the interface for collaboration has changed. This generation touches, swipes and is in general used to interacting differently.

New technology is the top driver of change in the workspace. Willy explained that we spend about 75 percent of our time in the corporate setting, and in this setting we see a few different environments. There’s personal space, huddle space and there is group space. With more and more collaboration taking place, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that only 4 percent of the huddle areas are populated with visual collaboration tools; there’s a conference phone in only 14 percent of these. Willy performed a survey of 60 fortune 1000 companies, and what he found was that we tend to collaborate around a round table as a “natural workspace experience.” This is the optimal way to engage everybody in the group. He explains that when a product is natural to use (giving the example of Polycom’s RealPresence Trio), it will be adopted.

We then arrive at the area of workflow, the “how we work” piece. Every meeting involves several components: the stages of preparation (pre-meeting and introductions), the meeting itself, and the post meeting. And, typically a meeting takes seven to 12 minutes to begin due to technology hiccups, followed by ten minutes to recap the previous meeting to ensure everyone was on the same page. This introduces a couple questions: How can I keep collective memory of a meeting, offering a seamless experience and how do we integrate tools so the user doesn’t have to access replications to be productive?

Willy illustrated that workspaces are growing more personalized, with room to grow. For instance, imagine walking into a meeting room and your device automatically syncs to the room; allowing for access to all of your files via your device. Willy sees this as the next big step. It is not an easy problem to fix, but with the level of innovation taking place one day we will see natural language offer access as a result of the development in natural language processing.

Connecting all of a team’s devices to the cloud provides the ability for “collaboration analytics.” This will be a giant part of our future where will we be collaborating then getting actionable insight for future development.

Today’s digital world offers intuitive and productive ways to collaborate, ways that we couldn’t imagine in years past. Millenials are leading the change, and we’ve only just begun. The promise of progress is there, and it’s happening all around us.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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