Unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technologies are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of industries, including finance, retail, education and the corporate world. Video conferencing and collaboration systems are at the top of the list, and value-added resellers (VARs) across the country are quickly adding these solutions to their product offerings.
As UCC technology continues to evolve and grow in popularity, end users are increasingly equipped to enable seamless, real-time workplace collaboration. Improved collaboration has a number of benefits—including better customer service and increased employee efficiency—so it’s no wonder that companies across the country are looking for ways to incorporate it into their day-to-day operations.
Over the next several years, expect workplace collaboration systems to advance even more, as a number of emerging technologies and trends really take root. To keep your VAR business ahead of the curve, prepare now for these five workplace collaboration trends that are expected in 2015:
1. Mobile devices will rule the workplace.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are already a huge part of workplace collaboration, with 74 percent of UCC users rating mobility as a very important feature in a 2014 Infonetics survey. But 2015 will be the year when mobile collaboration really comes into its own as companies fully embrace the flexibility of cloud-based technology tools—for both remote and in-office employees.
The goal will be to achieve the highest possible level of flexibility in workplace collaboration. This means that employees can easily share information; collaborate over video, voice and chat; and more, at any time and from any location.
To achieve this, your customers will either issue their employees company-owned devices, for which they control the security, policies, etc. Or they will jump on the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.
2. BYOD kinks will finally be worked out.
As research firm Gartner predicts, a focus on mobile will mean that organizations finally work through their issues with BYOD. Of course, security will always be a concern for BYOD practitioners, but in 2015 more businesses will be open to the practice and will take steps to work out their own kinks with BYOD. Meanwhile, the popularity of personal clouds will mean that BYOD can do much more than only a few years ago.
As a result, expect to see more employees collaborating remotely (and, sometimes, within the office) using their own mobile devices. This has the potential to lead to a greater number of telecommuting employees, as well as more flexible work hours—perks that have been commonplace in certain industries for years.
3. 4K will take hold.
4K is the next big thing in both residential and commercial digital screens. The technology has about four times the resolution of 1080p, providing the crispest image currently available on the market.
Although 4K has faced its share of obstacles to wide-spread acceptance – such as limited native 4k content availability and the need to upgrade video systems – the technology is on the verge of the big-time. 4K displays will gain a lot of traction in 2015, and will likely become especially popular in large-scale AV displays, including video walls, and in certain smaller-scale applications that require very high-resolution images. This might include displays used in medical surgery and education applications, for example.
4. A growing demand for wireless.
As end users grow increasingly comfortable with and reliant upon wireless technology, wireless is gradually making inroads into commercial UCC applications. In 2015, there will be more of a shift toward wireless capabilities as VARs increasingly embrace working with the data network and their customers’ IT departments.
More wireless capabilities will mean greater flexibility for many customers, which in turn encourages even more collaboration. To prepare for the growing demand for wireless, start familiarizing yourself with wireless transmission now.
5. Lampless projectors.
AV projectors that use laser and LED light sources have been quietly gaining popularity over the last several years, and 2015 will see even more end users making the switch from traditional lamp projectors.
Without the need for a lamp, laser/LED projectors have a longer life, which enables faster ROI. They also run cooler than traditional projectors, which means they consume less power and keep fan noise to an absolute minimum. Lampless projectors are also smaller and lighter than those with lamps, making them ideal for flexible AV installations.
What other workplace collaboration trends do you expect to really take hold in 2015? What new devices or capabilities are your UCC customers currently asking for?