Shaping up for 2017 – workplace technology trends

Lieven Bertier, head of product management ClickShare at Barco discusses the workplace technology trends we’re likely to see in 2017

There have been many world events that could easily define 2016; Brexit, the US election, the death of several iconic stars… the list goes on. While these stories will certainly be written into the history books, it’s not just the world political and entertainment stage that has seen dramatic changes.

Looking at office trends and we can certainly see that the way we worked in 2016 was markedly different from just a few years ago. So it begs the question: what will 2017 hold for the workspace? What trends will affect the way we approach our environment? And what role will technology play in all of it?

Continuing trends – convergence, huddle rooms and 4K

For a while now there’s been a slow, but steady convergence of IT and AV. It was one of the big predictions just a few years ago and continues to influence the working environment, particularly in terms of technology chosen and patterns of working. We see this co-mingling more often in day-to-day operations and the benefits are substantial, namely cost-effectiveness, better security and efficiency.

In 2016 there was a strong focus on the huddle room and its impact on employees. The idea of huddle rooms — smaller, more friendly rooms kitted out with the right AV, video and presentation technology — has been around for quite some time. According to research, these rooms better empower employees who want to contribute and collaborate and are driven by intrinsic satisfaction more than extrinsic rewards. What we’re seeing now, especially as more millennials enter the workforce, huddle spaces can be used for any gathering, from a quick chat with a colleague or a call with a prospect, to a group get together to discuss a project — because they are flexible rooms that encourage engagement and collaboration.

We will certainly be seeing more use of these rooms going forward and more organisations will be implementing dedicated areas that can cater to these informal meetings.

Another trend that will continue going into the new year is 4K/UHD. While, as consumers, we’re used to better resolution when we’re watching TV or using our multitude of devices, this same attitude is filtering into the meeting room. The popularity of 4K-capable flat panels in the meeting room is changing the way meetings are being held because the quality of what is being presented, especially if it is graphics, photos or creative presentations.

What’s next for security and privacy

2016 certainly has been the year where cyber security has been thrown into the spotlight — just consider the numerous high profile breaches and DDoS attacks that have occurred globally. In addition, with the EU’s new data privacy act coming into effect over the next few years, businesses are paying particular attention to questions about their data and that of their customers. This is something that won’t change over the coming year, in fact there may be even more focus on it. In addition to concerns over where data is being held and what data is being stored, organisations will be looking to safeguard data and information, all starting with the corporate network.

The resurgence of BYOD and interactivity

As far as trends go, BYOD isn’t new. It’s something we’ve been hearing about and possibly actively doing for the past few years. However, despite the hype it hasn’t quite lived up to its potential facing a number of hurdles in the corporate environment. As the use of tablets and smartphones increases, particularly in areas like the meeting room, technologies such as Bluetooth or near field communications (NFC) will be implemented more and more in order to get those devices connected to meeting room systems quicker, in order to make sharing easier.

 This ties in with another trend — interactivity. The workplace has become a lot more interactive in latter years and, as a result, employees (especially millennials) are looking for more immersive experiences. This ranges from sitting at a desk and engaging with apps, to the meeting room where there is a definite focus on promoting conversations over presentations and bringing elements of collaboration into the mix. Millennials and their successors (post-millennials or Gen Z) will continue to change the working environment. As digital natives they have a different set of expectations regarding technology and this will impact on the way they work with other people, participate in meetings and ultimately advance in their careers.

Conclusion

We can all agree that technology really impacts everything we do. This is especially felt in the workplace where its very presence is intended to make our lives easier, make us more productive and help us work smarter. At the heart of the modern office is the idea that collaboration and engagement will make us better employees and benefit the business. And it is here that technology will play the most important role — perhaps not so much in a dramatic, revolutionary way, but in more of an evolutionary approach, a slow transition to the workplace of the future.

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Posted by Austin Clark (95)

Written on 21st December 2016

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