Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Collaborative tech enables productivity, innovation

Oct 29. 2018
Minhaj Zia, Vice President for Polycom in India, SAARC
Minhaj Zia, Vice President for Polycom in India, SAARC
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By The Nation

Technology disruption has had a huge impact on the global workplace as well as those in Asean. Minhaj Zia, vice president for Polycom in India, South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation and Southeast Asia, speaks to The Nation’s Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn on the new trends at the workplace today and how they can overcome challenges.

WHAT IS THE GLOBAL TREND LIKE ON HOW THE WORKPLACE IS IMPACTED BY TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION? 

Globally, we have seen technology drastically transform the way we live, learn and work. There is an increasing demand for collaboration tools at the workplace to enable innovation and allow for greater flexibility. With the expanded reach and faster surfing speeds of high-speed broadband networks, technology is giving people the freedom to work from anywhere, the way they want to. “Anywhere working” is becoming the business-normal.

Throughout the Asia-Pacific region and Thailand, we are witnessing traditional offices evolve into open, technology-enabled environments that create more opportunities for flexible working and anywhere, anytime collaboration. 

HOW DOES DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IMPACT THE WAY PEOPLE WORK, AND HOW ARE THEY ADAPTING 

THEMSELVES TO SUCH CHANGES?

The habits and preferences of today’s workforce have been impacted as a result of digital technology. According to the Polycom Future of Work 2017 study, 62 per cent of today’s multi-generational workforce are now working from anywhere. Enabled by mobile devices, employees today are demanding more flexibility in managing their work schedules. This is to not only adapt to a globally connected workplace that often works across multiple time zones, but also to allow time for commitments like family, healthy living, me-time or better work-life integration. 

Consumerisation also plays a big part in shaping the technological expectations of the workforce, and has cultivated that familiarity with collaboration devices in any workplace. People now expect to either work from home or work flexibly, with collaboration technologies as key enablers of productivity and innovation. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY BENEFITS OF MOBILE OFFICES OR PEOPLE WORKING REMOTELY FROM HOME OR ON THE GO?

Mobile offices enable companies to scale quickly, as they are able to set up operations in a fairly simple way – with simple connectivity tools like laptops, instant messaging, audio-conference phones or video-conferencing, without the demand for large spaces, which incur higher rental. Allowing people to choose their location of work also gives rise to productivity gains and employee satisfaction. In addition to the ability to expand market coverage that has a positive impact on the business, an engaged workforce would also boost innovation and reduce churn, which can be costly for businesses. 

A great example would be the well-known traffic congestion in major cities like Bangkok, where any amount of time spent commuting would be lesser time spent with a customer. By harnessing technology such as video-conferencing on-the-go, decision-making can actually be accelerated, while customer face-time can also be improved, thereby increasing customer satisfaction. 

Another example would be in the healthcare industry. Continuing medical education is mandatory for healthcare professionals. Scheduling physical training can be a challenge for large healthcare organisations with high employee headcount and dispersed geographical coverage. Leveraging video-conferencing as a tool to conduct training can potentially increase participation and information retention, while making the whole process more efficient and lead to savings in travel costs. Direct access to professional lecturers or medical professionals also improves knowledge transfer and the overall quality of healthcare education. 

WHAT WILL BE THE KEY CHALLENGES FOR THE WORKPLACE, ESPECIALLY IN ASEAN, CAUSED BY TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION? HOW CAN ASEAN COMPANIES ADJUST BUSINESS STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME SUCH 

CHALLENGES?

With the rise of mobility especially in mobile-first Asean, employees are constantly connected and want the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere. The Future of Work 2017 study highlighted that 98 per cent of the global working population believe “anywhere working” has a positive impact on productivity and that 91 per cent believe that video collaboration technology helps improve relationships and fosters better teamwork. To cater to these changing preferences and modes of working, companies need to embrace the “anywhere working” mandate by putting mobility at the centre of the collaboration experience, thereby enhancing employee productivity. 

In order to do this, companies need to create a framework as guidance for their workforce, outlining expectations of flexi-work and providing tips to maximise the usage of given technologies. Human resources or people managers have to agree with a flexi-work employee on the set of outcomes so that the end goal is measurable as if they are functionally in a traditional, physical operation-only workplace. Organisations need to invest in collaboration tools to enable employees to connect, share content and manage projects, preferably on multi-modal devices. 

HOW DOES POLYCOM OPERATE AND HOW IS THE 

COMPANY COPING WITH THESE BUSINESS CHALLENGES?

Polycom is a part of Plantronics, an audio pioneer and a leader in the communications industry. Plantronics and Polycom technology create rich, natural, people-first audio and collaboration experiences so that good ideas can be shared and heard – wherever, whenever and however they happen. Polycom is on a mission to develop collaboration solutions that make connecting people and communicating feel like they are in the same room, and are easy to use, intuitive and require no training to operate.

For example, our RealPresence line includes several solutions that exemplify our vision. RealPresence Clariti is a collaboration infrastructure software that allows co-workers to connect in team environments on virtual boardrooms while seeing each other and sharing ideas visually, no matter what device or technology they are using. 

In-app content sharing and virtual whiteboards make for a seamless collaboration experience. 

With this solution, companies can also manage, monitor and troubleshoot voice and video devices easily from a centralised, intuitive dashboard.

With RealPresence Desktop and RealPresence Mobile, users can enjoy high-quality video, audio and content-sharing with smart tuning of lighting and sound quality wherever they are, on any device.

With our focus on user experience, Polycom has developed a number of innovations to enhance collaboration solutions. With these solutions, we want to empower workers with true location liberation, and fulfil the “anywhere working” vision.

 

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