There has been a major increase in adoption of newer collaboration technologies due to improvements in technology and demand from the workforce. Deployment options include cloud, on-premises, and hybrid. Value-added resellers (VARs) can review some of the following use cases in order to get a better understanding of how new technologies can help their customers improve collaboration and productivity. Many of these technology use cases involve improved ways to use virtual tracking, biometrics, and data analytics. These are some of the emerging collaboration themes for 2016 and beyond:
Geolocation involves tracking a real-world object such as a smart device to an exact geographical location. Team leaders can use this technology to keep track of remote or traveling employees to ensure that they have made their flights or made it to a conference in another country. MIT recently developed a new wireless protocol called Chronos that will allow users to geotag but will require new routers. WiFi signals can be used in order to locate a user rather than allowing the user devices to attempt to connect to a network. Organizations will be able to create a WiFi network without a password, allowing only the devices identified by the network in a given geographical area to connect.
Chronos Geolocation User Case Study: A large manufacturing firm in New York City has been using wireless routers, allowing its employees to connect using a password. Unfortunately, its bandwidth requirements have doubled over the last year, because employees were sharing their passwords with non-employees in order to provide them Internet access for free. Keeping in mind that Chronos is not currently available and skipping ahead to the future when it is, a new wireless router that supports Chronos is installed. Employees are tracked by Chronos based on their locations, regardless of where they are in the world, and are automatically connected to wireless networks without any password requirements.
Only those employees with the Chronos user application installed have access to the network, resolving the company’s bandwidth issues. Added benefits include allowing employees to walk into or join remotely with a meeting space and have their meeting start automatically on an interactive whiteboard that can automatically add in remote users and shows presence and location updates for all participants.
All of this additional information shared among meeting participants improves their ability to communicate and collaborate effectively, and the whiteboard tools allow them to share and annotate presentations and documents in real time and then save and distribute them. Benefits include better meeting security, enhanced productivity, time savings, automated business processes, and improved connectivity among teams.
Biometrics examples include fingerprint scanning, iris recognition, facial recognition, voice recognition (speaker recognition), signature, and vascular pattern recognition. Biometrics, including facial recognition and retinal fingerprinting, are being used by companies in order to provide security and authentication and to verify geolocation. One of the more common uses of biometrics in business today is voice authentication for contact centers, allowing the caller to automatically be verified without having to answer multiple questions or provide different levels of passwords in order to prove authenticity.
Biometrics Case Study: A large international bank was receiving complaints from clients who called into the member service center. Callers would first have to enter their account number using an IVR system and then, once transferred to an agent, would have to repeat their account number and answer three security questions. Callers did not understand the need to repeat their account number and felt that service was being delayed due to the security process.
The bank invested in a voice biometrics system, and clients were asked if they would like to participate. If so, the system would record a sample of the caller’s voice and when he or she called into member services, the system would match his or her voice to the sample recorded. Agents would get a visual indication as to whether the voice on the phone matched the sample or not. Benefits included agent time savings that contributed to ROI and a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Data analytics allow businesses to provide smart user experiences by using historical data, real time data, and data from geolocation and biometrics in order to make expert decisions and recommendations. Companies can realize better fact-based decision-making and improved business performance with data analytics, while, at the same time, eliminating data silos by consolidating analytics into a single solution. This allows executives and employees to make important decisions quickly. Analytics can be used in a variety of ways, including to improve customer experiences and to leverage information from social media channels.
Data Analytics Case Study: A large international hotel chain added an analytics solution in order to determine how well its social media campaigns were working. It wanted to be able to track website traffic based on its tweets in order to see what its level of conversion was. It used campaign tracking tags in order to show how much of its business came from Twitter posts. Because each Twitter post had been uniquely tagged, the chain could review how each one performed, initially by selecting the chosen traffic channel and then by selecting the specific campaign.
The chain is now able to measure the “bounce” rate and percentage of new visitors and how each tweet corresponds to room bookings. As a result, the chain is able to track campaign effectiveness and know more now about where to spend its time and money. Adding in a geolocation function also allows it to analyze where its customers are coming from in order to produce focused campaigns.
As the evolution of collaboration technologies continues, more organizations will demand new and more productive tools. Companies that keep up with the newer technologies and implement them—whether on-premises, in the cloud, or some combination of both—will draw in a skilled class of employees who will be more likely to remain loyal. VARs are in a great position now to educate their clients about new and existing collaboration technologies and help them choose the best tools for their environments.
Do these case studies help your company understand the constant evolution of collaboration tools? Please comment below.