Last week Polycom celebrated its 25th anniversary with a 25-hour celebration connecting its offices all over the world. This was a great time to reflect and look back at how far Polycom has come, from a startup company in a San Francisco basement, to the inventor of the conference phone, to now the game-changer in all things collaborative. If you missed the webcast, you can watch it here. I got to experience the event live and in person in the Singapore office, meeting many of my colleagues live for the first time ever.
Want to change the workplace of the future? Impress a millennial.
Polycom also announced one of the biggest launches in its history, introducing new solutions that will change the way people collaborate forever. How do I know this to be true? Because I got to see them firsthand and I was blown away. Full disclaimer: as a millennial that has grown up with technology, I’m not easily impressed by many of the new shiny objects to hit the market. Most of us aren’t, when we live in a world where we’re immersed in technology, and when our own personal tech devices are newer than those that we’re expected to use in the office. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the value of a good old-fashioned conference phone (I love the trusty Polycom SoundStation) but what I saw last week is unlike any type of technology I’ve ever used in the office. Polycom, you have my attention.
Introducing Polycom RealPresence Trio, the first millennial-proof technology that is a modular voice, video and content sharing system for any team environment, large or small. Or in simpler terms, the first real smart hub.
Besides the fact that it looks sleek, sexy, so attractive that you’d be inclined to use it, this piece of technology actually works the way you WANT it to. In fact, without ever having a demo or training on how to use Trio, I was able to use is successfully on my own (my IT team can be happy about that!). One of my favorite features? Trio has Bluetooth connection so you can sync your own personal devices to it. For example, if you’re on a call on your smartphone (like I am many mornings while commuting into the office) you can walk up to Trio, simply tap your phone to the unit, and it will transfer the call onto the conference phone. You don’t have to hang up and redial. No one on the line will ever know you just effortlessly transitioned from your morning commute into a conference room. It’s that easy.
It’s no surprise that millennials are the most prepared for the workplace of the future since we are the earlier adopters and drivers of the technologies that businesses will rely on for collaboration and innovation. Why should it matter? Millennials matter because they are not only different from generations who have come before them, but we also are more numerous than any since the soon-to-retire Baby Boomer generation, already forming 25% of the workforce in the US and accounting for over half of the population in India. By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce.
Millennials’ use of technology sets them apart from their predecessors. The most defining characteristic of the millennial generation? Their affinity with the digital world. They have grown up with internet, smartphones, laptops and social media as the norm, and expect instant access to information at any time and from any device. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tools than more senior workers.
It matters, because we work differently. Long gone are the days where you have to adapt to the way technology works. Now, the technology is designed around the way that WE work. Millennials want a flexible approach to work, but very regular feedback and encouragement, in real-time. They want to collaborate and communicate with their manager and their team, while maintaining work/life balance. How can companies be expected to accommodate that?
Enter Polycom RealPresence Centro. The first video conferencing room system that puts people at the center of collaboration--collaboration that is face-to-face, literally, as Centro is built in a “campfire” arrangement with screens at the center of the conversation. Now you can talk naturally to the people in the room and the remote participants on the screen. Share content, annotate, design, create. When you’re all done, you get up and leave the room and all of your work will be saved. Forget having to take pictures of your sketches on the wall. Those days are over.
Innovative, young, growing companies are already using this in a big way.
Take HomeAway, for example. Their team in Austin uses Centro to connect with their dispersed teams and brings members from all different departments such as IT, engineering and marketing all together in one room.
Bring on the Workplace of the Future
I’ve seen the workplace of the future, and it is exciting. It’s a world I want to be a part of, a world where I can drive innovation and creativity and collaboration. Where I can work together with people across different time zones, locations, generations, whatever it may be. It’s a world where I can work remotely from a coworking space in Istanbul one week, to a small coffee shop in Malaysia the next, and connect with my team seamlessly. Yes, it is the workplace of the future but it’s starting now.
If you think about it, Polycom is now 25, which would make it the same age as my fellow millennials. Coincidence? Yes, but it certainly fits now.