Four Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Collaboration System

Video, meetings, and messaging are integrating with each other more as time passes. While many enterprises currently use on-premises products, more businesses are attempting to implement cloud-based solutions to deploy a comprehensive collaboration platform. According to Gartner’s “Forecast: Unified Communications, Worldwide, 2Q18 Update,” the Unified Communications segment, with revenue of $6.8 billion in 2017, will grow to $7.1 billion by 2022. The core growth driver in this mix is cloud conferencing, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% through 2022. Another key trend related to this market is that the proportion of organizations using embedded audio conferencing delivered through their meeting solution provider will rise from 10% of meeting solutions users in 2016 to 65% in 2022 (according to Gartner’s “Forecast: Audioconferencing, Worldwide, 2016-2022”).

While it is always difficult to predict exactly what will happen in the future, we believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play an increasingly important role in collaboration solutions. In five or more years, the conceptual possibilities are endless. For example, you might participate in a video conference meeting with international partners and customers who do not speak the same language as you. An AI-based translation service embedded in the meeting room system could initially identify you instantly through facial and voice recognition capability and then instantly translate any spoken or written communications through the platform so that anyone can converse seamlessly and completely remove language barriers.

Enterprises that have adopted cloud-based collaboration platforms will have an easier time bringing new services and functionality into their collaboration ecosystem. The cloud offers the freedom to upgrade functionality and deploy innovation almost instantly, while IT staff are empowered to easily control and manage updates centrally. Engineering the meeting room of the future is underway, so there are exciting times ahead where intuitive solutions will empower the way employees collaborate.

How has video conferencing changed over time and why has it become so popular?

Video conferencing is thriving and ubiquitous. Enterprise grade video conferencing that was once only reserved for the most highly paid employees in the largest boardrooms is now accessible to anyone at any size of company. The days when laptop computers and endless wires cluttered the room are beginning to fade. Huddle rooms are undoubtedly increasing in popularity, providing small, relatively low-cost environments for employees to come together and collaborate with colleagues who are working remotely without tying up larger more expensive meeting rooms and board rooms.

Therefore, every enterprise can benefit significantly by using integrated cloud-based collaboration solutions in these spaces to effectively join a video meeting and communicate with colleagues anywhere in the world. With this in mind, many enterprises have invested in superior cloud-based video conferencing to enable employees to enter the meeting room and not have to worry about IT challenges interfering. The huddle room can now be an intuitive experience for seamless collaboration.

The number of remote workers is growing at an exponential rate. How can collaboration systems seamlessly integrate these people to make their experience as good as if they were there in the room?

The workforce dynamic is changing dramatically. More people are working remotely and integrated, making easy to use cloud-based even more crucial to maintain a collaborative environment, even when co-workers are not in physical proximity to one another. Video conferencing, instant messaging, and meeting room systems help to create an environment that can quickly bring stakeholders together, regardless of physical location, to interact efficiently.

The ‘always-on economy’ has dramatically transformed work patterns with staff increasingly adhering to the sentiment of ‘work is something I do and not where I go’. More people are working from home or remotely to be efficient with their time and resources, working around family schedules, and other lifestyle commitments. The increasing globalization of enterprises also means that teams are often distributed around the world but still need to collaborate efficiently to get the work done. Superior cloud-based video conferencing solutions are now enabling enterprises to expand their communications outreach and work more effectively anywhere and from any device.

Complete collaboration systems are now widely available, making them an attractive solution, but what are the pros and cons of one stop shopping on the one hand, and picking and mixing on the other?

Globalization and expanding markets provide opportunities for enterprises to grow their business. This means that there is an increase in pressure to work with dispersed and remote teams. Therefore, a well-planned collaboration strategy is essential for efficient communications. The main advantages of moving to a single platform are that enterprise users will know how to communicate effectively with their colleagues and can spend their time being productive, not worrying about which tools they should be using. Additionally, the company’s IT staff now only has to concern itself with being knowledgeable with one platform.

However, many organizations will have a mixture of legacy systems, different collaboration tools, and meeting room systems across their global network. This means that the ideal situation of moving directly to a single platform can be difficult to achieve, even with the best intentions. This goal can only be achieved with the help of a solution that provides compatibility with other platforms.

For some companies there may be very good reasons to use a “best of breed” approach for their collaboration needs rather than a one stop shop. For example, they may choose to use a specialized messaging service from one provider but still benefit from a dedicated video conferencing and meeting solution from an expert. Again, this use-case can only be achieved properly with the help of a provider that understands its importance and offers a wide range of interoperability to seamlessly bring these two worlds together for their users.

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