A Letter from Mersive CTO Christopher Jaynes, PhD
The world of software for audio-visual technology has been an exciting place to be the past several years, and it looks like 2016 will eclipse them all. Workplace transformations that began a few years ago (and had their roots in early research like the Office of the Future Project) have gained traction and are poised to have dramatic, widespread impact this year. Here are three particularly large trends that are driving change in 2016.
Millennials Become the Majority. According to Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm, Millennials will outnumber both GenX’ers and Baby Boomers in the workforce in 2016. They’ll be the largest generational group in the workplace and will make up one in every four managers by the end of the year. If you haven’t been following how their approach to work differs, here are the CliffsNotes: informal instead of fixed/scheduled meetings, a focus on collaboration instead of presentation, and support for mobility and ad hoc work spaces are all important to this growing demographic. Companies that are embracing these trends are positioning themselves to aggressively recruit top, young talent. These companies, and their AV partners, will gain a competitive edge by leveraging the AV and IT technologies that support Millennials’ approach to work.
Social Networking Habits Enter the Workplace. The second wave of social media technologies are set to make a real impact in the workplace. Enterprise and business-oriented social media platforms such as Jive and Yammer support new ways of interacting within the context of business by leveraging the interaction habits workers learned using consumer platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Those forms of interaction have become so ingrained that to ask users to work differently isn’t realistic anymore. Pervasive social networking and content sharing in the work environment removes barriers to effective communication and collaboration, and it promotes more direct interaction between colleagues who may never have had the opportunity in the past. Imagine a company CEO who can weigh in on a potential marketing slogan as easily as she/he could “like” a photo on Facebook.
New Collaborative Technologies Will Unmask Single-Use, Single-Source Meetings. Consumer wireless media streaming is very 2015. This year, corporate enterprise, education, and government organizations are accelerating their adoption of collaborative wireless sharing for their enterprise meeting spaces. As businesses realize the productivity gains to be had by meetings that are not constrained to a single presenter (who has the video cable) they are already transforming their meeting spaces to support wireless collaboration.
A secondary impact that I’ve observed among some of our Solstice customers is that cable-driven, single-content-source meetings are universally dreaded. I’ve seen customers entice their employees to move into a new building by deploying Solstice into the meetings rooms, only to find that people from other buildings (and presumably left with wired conference rooms) abandon their own spaces for the new building, leading to over-booking of the new, more open and collaborative rooms. Of course, if you’re in the business of helping meetings become more effective, this is a very good thing. Wireless collaboration acts like an accelerant for the transforming workplace. Once multi-source, content-based collaboration is introduced, the adoption of millennial trends and social networking accelerates. And the transformation is binary; better meetings don’t really happen piecemeal. What makes meetings better? Improving efficiency and engagement yields better results and ultimately greater productivity. And this what I expect to see happen in a big way in 2016 as enterprises leave the video cable behind and broadly deploy technologies that support this new, more productive workplace.
CTO & Founder