When I heard the news about Facebook’s new venture – Workplace – I was glad to see that another technology company is listening to what employees really want. Facebook seems to have really grasped the way people want to communicate with their colleagues. In day-to-day life we don’t sit in the same spot all day to liaise with our family and friends – we see them, speak to them, and message them (on the move or face-to-face). Why should the workplace be any different?
As Facebook describes it: “The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department, or geography. Organisations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.”
Social media has drastically changed the way we communicate and maintain relationships with one another in our personal lives, so it was inevitable that this style of interaction would eventually creep into our work lives too. We are now constantly connected and the pace of business is quickening, so it’s crucial for work teams to be agile. Any tool that improves communication across levels of seniority, departments, or even continents, is going to be beneficial to an organisation.
Being able to collaborate with my team, wherever I am, is vital to me. I can’t always be creative and resolve problems when I am stuck behind a desk on my own, and it’s not like I just switch off from my work the minute the clock hits 6pm, or when I’m away from the office. I’m lucky that at Polycom I have the option, thanks to the technology we have, to collaborate and share new ideas where and when it suits me. I don’t have to waste time sending thousands of emails – with just one click I can join a group video meeting with my team and instantly share any bright new ideas I have.
Business communication technology is a vibrant space right now, and Facebook’s Workplace will be a great addition to the mix. The modern workforce is becoming increasingly spoiled when it comes to integrated collaboration solutions, because there is now technology that can enable almost every type of interaction.
For example, for more complex communications – such as creative brainstorms – you have the RealPresence Centro, which allows quality group collaboration. Important business calls can rely on high-quality video and audio technology to ensure there are no hiccups or background noise, while global teams can feel closer together with content collaboration tools.
Facebook’s Workplace will certainly assist in team collaboration, but it’s just another piece of the jigsaw puzzle of creating a truly collaborative working environment. As the world becomes a smaller place, and flexible working continues to grow, it’s important that organisations integrate a variety of technologies to keep teams genuinely connected.
Guest Blog: Simon Aldous, Channels Director, UK & Ireland
This weekend sees the final game of this year’s 6 Nations Rugby Tournament and as the anticipation builds as to whether England will achieve the grand slam, it made me think about how the England rugby team turned things around from their somewhat ‘interesting’ performance as hosts of the Rugby World Cup six months ago. Over the past couple of months they have demonstrated that as a team they have come together collaboratively and focused their sights on the end goal, successfully working together and winning.
Behind the success of winning is not the magic of the game, but through the power of the scrum, the huddle, the coming together as a team to unite, agreeing the plan of action, aligning the process of delivery and together they achieve success, and it’s no different in how teams should operate in the workplace. Team meetings should be a way of pulling together to achieve a common goal. They should be productive, concise and each individual should takeaway something valuable, something they needed to know, but didn’t already. Some organisations, especially in the field of product development, have taken things one stage further and hold a ‘daily scrum meeting’ where the key points that are on the agenda for that day are discussed and communicated so everyone knows the priorites and plan, inclusive of any potential obstacles that might delay progression. But what if the team involved aren’t based in the same location – how do they hold the ‘daily scrum’?
Polycom® RealPresence Centro™, is the first visual collaboration solution purpose-built to put people at the centre of collaboration. The RealPresence Centro brings to life the Scrum Meeting so that teams that have members that are located in disparate locations can still hold a daily circle meeting or scrum meeting ensuring that they work as a unit to reach a common goal efficiently.
Polycom’s patented 360-degree voice and video technology brings the team together to ensure all attendees can see each other – no matter, where they are in the room. Collaboration becomes more fluid and natural as participants engage with each other effectively in the round.
But as with any new technology ‘seeing is believing’ so why not try this new meeting experience yourself? We would like to invite you to attend one of our 2 hour open day sessions at our Executive Experience Centre in London where you discover how to put people at the centre of collaboration to help drive team productivity to achieve success – oh and before I forget, ‘good luck’ England you know you can do it – it’s all about the scrum.
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.
Polycom just unveiled a number of new collaboration solutions that will transform the workplace as we know it today. Polycom RealPresence Centro in particular is going to change your video meeting experience for good with its human-centric design.
With traditional video collaboration systems, a participant’s perception of the presence of others is markedly different depending on whether a collaborator is co-located or remote. People located remotely feel excluded from certain conversations happening among participants seating in the same room. This phenomenon, called presence disparity, disrupts group collaborative and communication dynamics.
Polycom RealPresence Centro addresses this core issue by allowing all participants in the room and those remote to keep eye contact at all times by putting cameras and displays at the center of this collaborative workspace of the future. Professionals can now meet, discuss and share information at a distance without suffering from presence disparity anymore. Watch the product video to learn more about the amazing collaboration experience it provides.
Most importantly, this revolution in collaboration is about to benefit many industries in a major way and here is how:
Government - Public Safety and Security
Situational Awareness is essential in times of crisis or disaster. With Polycom RealPresence Centro, you can instantly get a 360 degrees view of all stakeholders in the room as well as get the full picture of the situation on the ground to make better decisions, faster. Polycom puts you at the center of the action with a highly collaborative situation room, which enables any government department or agency to respond quickly and efficiently.
Healthcare – Patient Care Coordination and Delivery
Hosting virtual Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings (MDT) using Polycom RealPresence Centro allows specialist doctors to review complex medical cases and agree on medical procedures and treatments after discussing a patient’s history and medical data. With RealPresence Centro, every clinician is at the heart of vital conversions regardless of location or distance.
Education – Collaborative Learning and Development
Education and training institutions wanting to deploy innovative distance learning environments using video collaboration technology ought to focus their attention on Polycom RealPresence Centro. Students and educators can simply meet around this new center piece transforming the classroom into the ideal collaborative learning space to increase interactions and knowledge retention.
Innovation is critical to any manufacturer. RealPresence Centro enables distributed development teams to meet virtually in order to brainstorm on new ideas, solve quality issues, test samples, and improve design creating virtual innovation hubs. RealPresence Centro becomes the core collaboration engine that fuels innovation and reduces time-to-market resulting in improved competitiveness.
Business Services – Creative Collaboration and Project Management
A center of the room experience is essential for consulting firms or creative marketing agencies when presenting a new project to their client at a distance. Everyone is seen and heard, adding credibility and impact to the pitch. Creative collaboration takes center stage with Polycom RealPresence Centro helping organizations deliver more projects on time and on budget.
Financial Services – Branch of the Future
Polycom RealPresence Centro makes stylish collaborative meeting spaces in branches and stores. Client relationship managers can comfortably seat around the Polycom RealPresence Centro with visiting clients to share documents on the screens at the center by using their tablet or they can invite remote experts to join the discussion over video to improve service, trust and relationship with clients.
With Polycom RealPresence Centro, not only you can defy distance but also you can fight presence disparity during your meetings. Just like Polycom transformed audio conferencing in 1992 with the launch of the first star-shape conference phone, the Polycom SoundStation, be assured that RealPresence Centro is about to take center stage in various rooms of organizations for the next 25 years. It is truly the industry’s first unique center-of-the-workspace collaboration solution built for the natural way humans brainstorm, ideate and solve problems.