What it takes to overcome the ‘last mile of lost productivity in workplace collaboration tools

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Collaboration has taken on multiple dimensions for businesses of every size and industry. There are a number of key drivers fueling the accelerating demand for collaborative solutions, ranging from the rise in remote workers and virtual office models, to advanced technology tools and infrastructures that enable high-level collaboration in virtually any environment on any device.

FAST FACT:  At the October 2018 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Smart Spaces was identified as one of the top tech trends for 2019. “A smart space is a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated, and intelligent ecosystems. Multiple elements — including people, processes, services, and things — come together in a smart space to create a more immersive, interactive, and automated experience for a target set of people and industry scenarios.”

Collaboration solutions have become increasingly essential to business operations, whether the application involves dozens or a small handful of participants. Whereas high-level solutions were once out of reach for many operations, the cost of available technology has decreased significantly, while the integration, features, and functions have increased as innovation advances. Use cases span everything from real-time consultations with customers, channel partners, and suppliers, to multi-site interdepartmental meetings, to collaboration between a small business owner’s remote team members or customers.

However, that does not mean a one-size-fits-all approach is the answer. While productivity gains are significant, there continues to be challenges worth noting. For example, it is estimated that 15 percent of video conferencing sessions are wasted while setting up the technology required for a meeting*. That translates into nine minutes for a 60-minute meeting. Statistics also show that unproductive meetings cost the U.S. economy anywhere from $70 to $283 billion (based on 36 to 56 million meetings per day depending on the study).

Breaking those numbers down to the individual level, by applying the 15 percent to an average executive’s salary base and on them attending 17 meetings a week, the loss of productivity for that person adds up to almost US$185 per week or just over US$9,500 annually.

The causes for this lost productivity range from technology issues stemming from the wrong setup or inability to connect devices, to the need for participants to take turns sharing screens, updating content and resending it to participants, and other procedural slowdowns. Many of these however, can be addressed through the proper application of interactive collaboration tools.

As with any communication medium, businesses need to choose the right solutions to be as efficient, productive, and cost-effective as possible. There are a number of parameters business owners or managers should take into account when putting together a solution.

The first is the collaboration platform of choice. The software must be able to accommodate any operating system or device, and provide an intuitive interface that can be easily managed by all participants. Standardizing on a single, fully integrated platform is particularly important to future-proof a rapidly growing operation or expansion into new markets.

Interactive capabilities are also critical, particularly when engaging in real-time decision-making. Having the ability to allow multiple users to edit and share content “on the fly” can increase efficiency exponentially.

Ease of setup is an equally important consideration. Many systems offer built-in plug-and-play features that allow for instantaneous collaboration and content sharing.

Resolution requirements can vary depending on the type of collaboration a business or group may be engaged in. Engineering teams consulting on a 3D modelling project with an international customer and a graphic design team developing video content should consider investing in the highest resolution possible (4K ultra high definition). However, for basic content sharing, a 1080p resolution would suffice.    

Physical and wireless connectivity is also integral to the collaboration experience. To date, wired connectivity continues to be the predominant option for bandwidth-intensive streaming. However, as innovative new 5G technologies emerge, advanced wireless collaborative solutions will be readily available as the technology becomes mainstream.

Another important consideration on the list, and one that is often overlooked, is security features. In an age of increased integration of IT and AV technologies, back end infrastructure security should be a top priority.

There is no question that businesses of all sizes are increasingly relying on collaboration tools to improve time to market, speed delivery of services, improve decision-making, facilitate expansion, and communicate with customers, workers, and suppliers in real-time. Given that time is an increasingly precious commodity in today’s fast-paced business environment, having the right integration and security features can play a key role in eliminating the “last mile” of lost productivity.

ViewSonic and the ViewSonic trademarks are registered trademarks of ViewSonic Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other corporate names and trademarks stated herein are the property of their respective companies. Copyright©2018. ViewSonic Corporation. All rights reserved.*Sapio Research August 2017

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