Technology moves too fast sometimes. The rate of change leaves some businesses and organizations scrambling, while others simply lag too far behind to catch up. At least, that's the way it feels.
Many business and technology leaders continue to show up as early adopters of high-tech devices and progressive workflows, while others still find themselves struggling to identify common challenges to their productivity and adoption problems.
In recent years, there has been momentum to break down the barriers and make it easier for companies to adopt new technology and enjoy the benefits of the newest advances in this broad industry. Once about tech specs and the engineering nitty gritty has shifted to overall ease of use and experience.
There are numerous trends on the horizon that will enable more people to build ecosystems within their organizations to increase productivity, ensure adoption, and ultimately prove ROI.
Here are 5 trends that business and IT leaders should be aware of in the year ahead.
(Continuing to) Harness Data in New Ways
With data becoming more available to integrators and manufacturers, there’s little doubt that the use of data to influence the design and development of AV and IT systems will die down.
Now that technology leaders can gain more insight into their systems, it’s easier to make informed decisions about devices, workflows, and adoption in the workplace. This year, nearly everybody will crunch the numbers like never before and they’ll be doing so with monitoring platforms that pull all of this data together.
These platforms pull data from the systems and continuously monitors them, gathering information and generating reports on usage trends, downtime, and similar metrics. What’s more, these types of platforms – like AVI Insight – act as a proactive solution to keeping the systems running, predicting when outages or issues might occur so on-site or remote technicians can provide support in advance.
Blending the Physical and Digital Worlds
Backed by data, business and technology leaders are rethinking the way they interact with their physical surroundings, the way they go about daily routines and workflows, and the way the buildings around them can function.
Blending the physical and digital worlds by way of smart spaces, like buildings or homes, is an area of technology that many are eager to see develop in 2019.
Smart buildings and spaces have a number of benefits to organizations, including improved energy use and connectivity. As of late, there have been improvements in the way that these types of spaces are built out, regarding technical and practical uses.
In the year and years ahead, you can expect buildings, communities and greater populated areas to become smarter, equipped with the IoT devices that continue to overwhelm the greater technology industry.
Collaborate… Anywhere… Anytime…
The holidays are over. Back to work. Projects haven’t stopped moving forward, and deadlines approach ever closer. Bustling through the office, you’re passing a few colleagues who are working on the same projects.
Bing! That brilliant idea comes to mind and you just have to get it out into the airwaves.
You stop them, blurt out your idea – but it doesn’t come across quite clearly. “Let me show you,” you say. The monitor nearby turns into a collaboration hub where you can doodle your project details out, then share that ad hoc content jam with everybody present.
Being flexible and able to meet in random, ad hoc ways is increasing. In some ways, it feels natural to meet like this, giving people the opportunity to think out loud when the inspiration strikes. But also, it’s a way for people of different working styles to jump in and out of spaces like these on a need-be basis, whether it’s in the lunchroom, a nook in passing, or a huddle area in the office.
While some still hold onto the fine details and specs of equipment, the majority want an experience that’s going to make their lives easier.
Technology has become so sophisticated. But that doesn’t mean it’s always clunky or overly difficult to use. Some of the best technologies on the market today are those that simplify the process for meetings, for transactional calls or messages, and for basic workflows. What’s trending alongside this is that technology that is difficult to use is going out of style.
Moving forward, technology companies are working to design and deliver products and solutions that make it simpler for people to adopt into their daily routines. That goes for just about everything from meeting rooms to unified collaboration platforms.
Further AV and IT Convergence
The worlds of AV and IT continue to blend, blurring the lines of these technology-focused disciplines, according to Sean Wargo, Senior Director of Market Intelligence for AVIXA. In a large part, that's because the demands in the marketplace have changed, prompting AV professionals to look for help or seek out IT training as a means to add to their skillsets. The same can be said for IT-centric professionals and companies.
Looking inside the workplace, much of what AV and IT professionals handle on a daily basis overlaps. Take a meeting place as an example. The smart display, PTZ camera, audio, unified collaboration software, it all rests somewhere in the middle now – not strictly IT or AV. While the equipment typically lives more on the AV side of things, much of it – if not all of it – is connected to the network. It’s also likely managed by the IT department and users look to them for support.
As projects evolve and scale, AV and IT professionals, departments and companies will continue to converge to provide a more holistic solution to meet the demands of a changing landscape at work, in meeting rooms, and when connecting with others.
What Does It All Mean?
What’s for certain is that technology is becoming even more pervasive and intertwined in people’s lives – at home and at work.
Nearly 80 percent of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone, while 95 percent at least own a cellphone. These devices, among others, are the way people constantly do business and collaborate with others, which has influenced the way technology elsewhere is used. The rise of smart spaces, the swelling number of IoT devices, and the simplicity and interoperability in emerging technology are indicators of a more mobile and fluid population of technology users.
By keeping pace with these trends and identifying opportunities, business and technology leaders can improve the way they empower their organizations to adopt new technologies and workflows seamlessly.