For some time now, collaboration technology trends have been evolving rapidly. Ever since the pandemic reshaped the workplace, paving the way for greater flexibility, the way teams communicate and work together has transformed.
Initially, modern collaboration was defined by convenient tools like Microsoft Teams, video conferencing platforms, and flexible meeting rooms. Now, we’re experiencing a new wave of collaboration innovation, marked by AI, extended reality, and platform convergence.
So, which collaboration technology trends will shape the next stage of the future of work? Here are just some of the critical concepts worth watching in 2024.
1. Working Models Continue to Evolve
The way we work has changed significantly in recent years. During the pandemic, in-office work was almost exclusively replaced by remote employment. After social distancing restrictions subsided, hybrid work became the new norm. Some companies are implementing strict return-to-office mandates, while others are exploring office neighborhoods and new flexible work strategies.
Despite increasing number of employees returning to the office, the demand for workplace flexibility will continue in 2024. Companies will continue to embrace DaaS (Desktop as a Service) solutions for remote workers and extended reality for hybrid collaboration.
Additionally, mobility in the workforce will continue to be a significant trend. RCS services built into UCaaS solutions and BYOD initiatives will thrive in 2024 and beyond.
An effective strategy for next-generation collaboration will rely on each organization’s ability to define employee personas and bridge the gaps between workers.
2. Experience Drives Collaboration Technology Trends
For some time, the focus for many companies when implementing new technologies has been on improving customer experiences. However, employee experience is beginning to earn attention as businesses recognize the impact engagement and satisfaction have on productivity and performance.
Many next-generation collaboration technology trends are already focusing on enhancing the employee experience. Extended reality tools can help improve employee connections and strengthen company culture. Unified collaboration and contact center tools can bridge the gaps between business segments.
Even artificial intelligence can enhance experiences by offering end-to-end support and guidance to employees worldwide.
3. Generative AI in Collaboration Tools
Probably one of the most significant collaboration technology trends to emerge in 2023 was the rise of generative AI assistants. Since Open AI launched ChatGPT, companies, and team members have been experimenting with ways to boost their productivity with next-level chatbots.
Many leading UCaaS and collaboration tool vendors have taken notice. Many major vendors in this space, such as Microsoft, Google, and Zoom, have all created their own “Copilot” assistants.
These powerful tools will likely play a more significant role in the collaborative workforce. They can help improve meetings with intelligent summarization, transcription, and translation services. Plus, they can empower teams to work more creatively with personalized suggestions and guidance.
As these generative AI tools become more secure and customizable, with solutions like Copilot Studio, we could enter a world where every employee has a dedicated AI partner.
4. Increasing Focus on Collaboration Data
As innovative collaboration technologies continue to evolve, business leaders must ensure they’re investing their budgets in the right solutions. Excellent workplace collaboration isn’t something companies can afford to cut corners on. However, every new technology you implement should be able to demonstrate precise results.
As a result, companies are investing in more advanced tools to track the impact of hybrid work initiatives, new technologies, and working styles. Data generated by each unique collaboration tool can give businesses better insights into how employees connect.
Moreover, many market leaders, like Microsoft, are investing in new ways to help businesses keep their finger on the pulse of employee engagement and sentiment tools. Solutions like Microsoft Viva, automated workplace feedback tools, and more can ensure business leaders are investing in the well-being of their teams, not just higher productivity rates.
5. Increased Consolidation
Consolidation has been one of the major collaboration technology trends for a few years. Employees rely on various tools as the workplace becomes more complex and digitized. Some studies show that the average staff member uses up to 11 pieces of software daily. Constantly switching between these different apps and tools can waste time.
As a result, next-generation collaboration platform vendors are making their systems more flexible. We’ve seen an increase in UCaaS vendors offering access to integrated contact center tools and vice versa. Plus, many businesses are partnering with other brands to ensure teams can connect all their essential tools in a single ecosystem.
As we move into 2024 and beyond, next-gen collaboration tools will continue to focus on streamlining employee experience. Businesses will want to reduce their reliance on distributed tools and technologies, not just to save employees time. Combining the tech stack will allow for better visibility into business processes, challenges, and opportunities.
6. Extended Reality and the Metaverse
During 2023, the increasing focus on generative AI meant certain collaboration technology trends started to fade into the background. Fewer companies were focusing on the metaverse and extended reality, concentrating instead on the potential offered by AI innovations.
While the metaverse workplace is still a novel concept, interest is ramping up again. Microsoft announced the arrival of new Mesh updates late in 2023, along with Immersive Spaces. These solutions allow employees to interact, share knowledge, and collaborate in digital environments, improving feelings of inclusion.
Companies like Meta continue investing in solutions like Horizon Workrooms, affordable headsets for business users, and advanced avatars. Even companies like Apple are getting involved, creating enterprise-focused headsets built around spatial computing technologies.
We may see more companies beginning to embrace the metaverse and extended reality in the years ahead, particularly as things like remote assistance AR apps become more popular.
The Future of Collaboration Technology Trends
While it’s difficult to predict the future of the workplace, the latest collaboration technology trends offer some valuable insights. Next-generation collaboration will likely rely on various innovative tools based on what we’ve seen over the last year.
Artificial intelligence, the metaverse, and increasingly flexible platforms are set to take over in the next year. At the same time, companies will be exploring new ways to embrace different work models, delight staff members, and maintain engagement.
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