Collaboration, synergy, symbiosis, leverage, integration — call it what you want — this is how companies can grow faster and quicker. Technology is at the forefront of business collaboration in every aspect. Remotely connected employees, augmented reality-powered interactions, advanced analytics reporting on smartphones, and a lot more — the business collaboration universe is expanding for sure.
Integrated systems of data analysis help businesses understand core consumer behaviors. Collaborative tools result in massive long-term cost advantages for businesses as they are able to reduce travel and hardware costs worth millions of dollars. Sometime in the future, business collaboration will achieve a state where employees will work mostly using virtualized technologies, in virtual environments. Till then, these are the key trends in business collaboration technologies that IT leaders need to be on top of.
AR and VR: The new reality of business collaboration
It’s natural for you to visualize video games and entertainment-oriented content when you hear or read about augmented reality and virtual reality. So much marketing hype of these technologies is about consumer applications that several companies are almost unaware of the advances being made by AR and VR in the domain of business collaboration.
Goldman Sachs estimates that virtual and augmented reality will be an $80 billion market by 2025. Startup activity and VC investments in this technology domain are strong.
VR-driven collaboration is being pioneered by startups like DORA, AltSpace VR, and RealSense. Among the most existing use cases are:
- VR-powered content delivery where presentations become more engaging and valuable because of exciting and relevant virtual environment in which they’re delivered.
- Virtualized interactions where avatars are created for each participant, which interact in a virtual environment.
- VR headsets connected to a robot, letting the wearer experience and interact with the world using the robot’s eyes and arms.
Key AR-based business collaboration use cases:
- Showcasing projected images of artifacts to clients, reducing gaps between “expected” and “actual.”
- Health-care applications where practitioners are able to see where organs, tumors, internal wounds, and implants are located inside the patient’s body.
- Value-added delivery of training and education with information artifacts visualized in 3D space.
Collaboration to make big sense of Big Data
IBM predicts that enterprise data is going to grow at 50 times year-on-year until 2025. Velocity, volume, and variety — these qualifiers of Big Data are met by most enterprises’ data ecosystems. Earlier, the challenge used to be all about collecting and storing massive data. Today, the challenge is all about making sense of this massive data. The incumbent tools that enterprises possess are not capable of making sense of such massive information from such a large number of sources.
To make things work, enterprises need to make their data sources collaborate. A Harvard Business Review study found that 46 percent of enterprises are now looking to blend five to 14 data sources. Data collaboration extends across the study and evaluation of processes and workflows. Enterprises are consciously looking for better data management and governance practices, smarter analytics tools, and mobile dashboards to make data a driver of collaboration across departments. This becomes an enabler of continuous improvement across enterprise functions.
Artificial intelligence: A nitro boost for business collaboration
A key aspect of successful collaboration is the creation of assets that help the entire business. This leverage is possible via machine learning algorithms. These algorithms are the core of most artificial intelligence applications in enterprises. Among the most prominent ones is chatbot technology.
Here’s how chatbots are enabling collaboration in the enterprise via several use cases:
- Virtual assistants for employees, connecting them to all the knowledge hidden in enterprise databases.
- Customer service chatbots that are available 24/7, getting smarter every day by extracting insights from logs of customer service personnel interactions with customers.
- Speedy communications, as busy executives ask for summaries of meetings from their personalized chatbots.
Considering how tech giants have upped their investments in chatbot technology (Apple has even opened Siri to third-party developers), it’s clear they see AI-powered chatbots as harbingers of the next level of business collaboration.
Collaboration between edge computing and cloud computing
There’s been a lot of unnecessary hype about how cloud computing was under a threat posed by edge computing. The latter is a computing topology where content, computing, and processing capabilities are placed very close to the devices, sensors, systems, and things that need them. Cloud computing is a model where services are delivered via the Internet, without dictating centralized or decentralized servicing. Now, low-latency IoT applications such as unmanned autonomous areal vehicles, require edge computing for super-quick data exchange. However, the same applications also require the more powerful cloud computing so that all the cloud-powered platforms can be used to manage, control, and improve these applications. This calls enterprise IT infrastructure engineers to keep the collaborative aspects of edge and cloud computing in mind while making important decisions.
Virtualized devices: Secure way to saving millions
Virtual machines are helping businesses in many ways. For starters, they allow businesses to deliver consistent computing experiences across the workforce, independent of device types. Also, this helps them deliver super-secure computing environments to end users, helping them access enterprise data and applications from any location, as long as they connect using a secure network. Another great advantage is that anybody can access with “office” desktop account on any device using the virtualization software. Because businesses don’t need to buy or maintain hundreds (or thousands) of workstations, they save significant amounts. Advanced virtualization technologies are enabling and empowering enterprises to virtualize critical- and resource-intensive workloads, delivering more benefits in the process.
Transformation of businesses
Collaboration via technology extends way beyond basic communication and collaboration software. The technologies discussed in this guide are leading the transformation of businesses via collaboration. From VR and AR to self-service analytics and mobile reporting, from the marriage of edge and cloud computing to the penetration of virtualization — there is a lot happening all around that calls for your attention.
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