Keeping Up with Tech: Four Tips for the Digital Workplace

Larry Alton

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Would you consider your business an early adopter when it comes to tech, or do you take more of a wait-and-see approach? For many businesses, prioritizing budgetary restrictions and concerns over functionality prevents rapid deployment of new technology.

But the evolving digital workplace demands adaptation of its own. Keeping up with the newest tools could be the difference between staying in business and losing out to the competition.

It is time for your business to move beyond basic cloud services and embrace the spirit of innovation. These four tools are what is next for the modern workplace, and they should be part of your strategic development.

Connect & Collaborate

Collaboration is the heart of innovation, but with an increasing number of workers positioned remotely, it can be challenging to bring everyone together.

Using professional social networks like Chatter or Slack, though, you can include everyone in the conversation—regardless of their location. Plus, since these solutions are enterprise-based, they are not attached to productivity-sapping distractions like Facebook or Gmail.

Enhance the Environment

One of the most surreal ways workplace technology is evolving is through the use of ambient intelligence and locally integrated devices like shared screens. For example, 20 years ago, it was unimaginable that a team could spread out across multiple offices yet write in real-time on the same surface—but not anymore.

Today, that kind of technology is actively in development as a collaboration between Steelcase and Microsoft. Combining video conferencing and shared note-taking, these new spaces can recreate a traditional conference room experience. This experience does not require any of the travel, helping teams build trust and allowing everyone to contribute their ideas on equal footing.

Focus on Flexibility

Flexibility is a major business buzzword. Workers want flex time. They want flexible office arrangements like "hot desks" that eliminate assigned spaces. So, why not integrate flexibility into your communications system? One way to integrate flexibility is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

One of the primary advantages of VoIP systems is they let your team communicate in multiple ways from any location; that includes voice calls, video conferencing, and file transfers. VoIP is a complete communications management system.

Another benefit of using VoIP for communications is that many VoIP providers offer long-tail security, meaning they do not just cover common threats, but also less likely occurrences. This broad coverage helps protect business files and client information from security breaches.

The Virtual Gets Real

Despite its increasing popularity, many businesses still think virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are more gimmicks than legitimate tools, but big companies with high-tech flare, like Nike, are proving them wrong.

Nike recently began using AR to sell limited-edition sneakers. This strategy was founded not just on a business partnership but also by eliminating the role of bots in competitive sneaker-purchasing.

In a more traditional workplace setting, AR/VR advocates have suggested that the switch to virtual engagement would allow workers to ditch computers and their kin.

Instead, using just a headset, workers would use their eyes and hands to control devices, open files, and create text virtually. That transition could be a highly cost-effective transition—even for smaller businesses.

It was just a few decades ago that computers transformed workplaces across industries, and we may be reaching a similar tipping point. Whether it is VR headsets or high-tech conference spaces, something new is afoot.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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