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Five trends driving collaboration in the digital workforce

The workforce is evolving as organizations focus their efforts on digital transformation strategies. New approaches to technology are influencing employee productivity and collaboration. Five key technology trends are expected to drive the evolution of digital workforces in 2018.

1. Artificial intelligence. Voice-enabled virtual assistants in the enterprise are expected to see growth as organizations adapt consumer AI technology, such as Amazon Alexa, for business purposes.

Many organizations are evaluating AI for the digital workforce to use virtual assistants to prioritize emails and chat bots to automate customer service processes, said Alex Bennett, director of end-user computing at Dimension Data, in a recent webinar.

2. Smart workplaces. An extension of smart buildings, smart workplaces are designed around the activities of employees and connect them to business processes using internet of things, AI and big data.

“We see clients bring in activity-based working and architects to design an office space to speak to an activity that people need to carry out during the day,” Bennett said.

3. WebRTC. WebRTC may finally be maturing with the digital workforce in 2018, according to Joe Manuele, group executive for customer experience and workplace productivity at Dimension Data, a technology services provider. Manuele said there is a new generation of video conferencing services from providers like Zoom and Highfive that use WebRTC browser-based communications.

“Once you get a critical mass of people using it, then it becomes absolutely critical for the key browser providers to support that type of technology,” Bennett said.

4. Video. Video is becoming the de-facto communication method as organizations look to go beyond messaging, said Bennett.

However, organizations must heed the security, compliance and regulatory requirements of their respective industries. Financial companies, for example, must make sure all components of a video call are recorded, not just audio, he said.

5. From BYOD to BYOA. Organizations are shifting away from allowing employees to use their preferred mobile device for work. Instead, companies are starting to allow employees to use their preferred productivity and collaboration apps, said Manuele.

However, organizations should encourage employees to use the more secured version of an app, such as moving the user to the enterprise edition of Slack.

“This is a wave we’re not going to be able to stop, but should actually encourage,” he said.