Trend #1 – Virtual and Augmented Reality
Although you might still equate virtual reality with science fiction and video games, the business applications of VR and AR are very real—and very here. Virtual reality creators offer immersive experiences for the boardroom and new ways for companies to show off their products and services.
- AltspaceVR’s virtual reality headset catalogs users’ body language and then replaces their body with avatars. This allows two users to interact more closely, even if they are not in the same physical space, which is key for collaboration.
- DORA users wear an Oculus Rift VR headset that is connected to a robot. When the user turns his or her head, the robot does the same, and the user sees through the robot’s “eyes.” The result is an experience that makes it seem as if the user is living in the robot’s body.
Where virtual reality completely replaces the user’s surroundings, augmented reality manipulates only an aspect (or aspects) of the user’s surroundings, by adding digital information. For example, an augmented reality user shopping for watches could “try on” different models and see how they looked on his or her wrist without ever having to travel to the store.
This allows greater collaboration, communication, and customization between businesses and their customers. Augmented reality is expected to be quickly adapted in industries such as retail, healthcare, architecture, and manufacturing. Both AR and VR experiences will soon start to be incorporated into cloud-based unified communications and collaboration applications.
Trend #2 – Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Yes, machines are coming to “life.” No, they’re not here to end humanity … yet. AI is a top Unified Communications trend poised to take off in a big way. Among its many proposed benefits, AI’s ability to improve collaboration efficiency by automating workflows and processes is worth keeping an eye on.
For example, how great would it be to have automatic call transcribers, voice bots that perform key actions during meetings, or contact center applications that improve self-service by creating more natural conversational experiences for customers. Additionally, AI features can help facilities and UC managers analyze how employees and customers are collaborating by analyzing how meeting spaces are typically being used, for how long, and by whom.
Trend #3 – Increased Adoption of Unified Communications
With all the exciting advancements and features developing within VR, AR, AI (and any other initialisms), businesses are jumping on the collaboration advantages Unified Communications has to offer. Increasingly, growing businesses and companies with limited IT resources are adopting cloud collaboration solutions such as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)—a cloud-delivery model that provides instant access to a range of collaboration software and advanced features. And as AI running in the background becomes more commonplace, UC voice control and interaction tools will also become more practical.
Trend #4 – Businesses Running from Any Device, Anywhere
For anyone left wondering where business leaders will be able to make use of their progressive UC platform, the answer is: absolutely anywhere. As more businesses implement UC or UCaaS, both hardware and software developers are working to ensure that their services and applications are available for remote consumption. Unified Communications today enables businesses to work and share things from anywhere, as easily and securely as if the users were in the office. And managing the systems is just as easy.
The Greatest Ability Is Scalability
As businesses continue to navigate an increasingly digital universe, more and more means of collaboration will take shape, and new features and applications will be routinely added to UCaaS platforms. To learn how your business can benefit from the latest advances in communication, visit Connected Office UC™ from Kinetic Business.