In the 1982 science fiction film “Blade Runner,” which is actually set in 2019, the protagonist keeps in touch with another main character via video chat. However, the application is housed in a highly modified phone booth, instead of being available on a PC or mobile device — a sign of the times, since such booths were common in the 1980s but have disappeared since.
Like many sci-fi films, “Blade Runner” anticipated the general outlines of the future of collaboration (mainly video conferencing), but didn’t nail the exact implementation. The 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II” also predicted video chat, this time on a big screen TV but not on a recognizable computer monitor.
Enterprise collaboration platforms have come a long way since those days. It now incorporates not only video conferencing, but also VoIP, real-time messaging and presence. But where is collaboration heading next?
The growth of cloud-based collaboration services
Cloud computing is something that most sci-fi missed. Granted, it is a little abstract in theory, but in practice it’s everywhere you look today, including in applications for customer relationship management (CRM) and in IT infrastructure.
A growing share of collaboration solutions are cloud-based. A 2017 Synergy Research Group report revealed that revenue from cloud collaboration offerings grew 9 percent year-over-year in 2016, compared to a 4 percent decline for on-premises equivalents.
Cisco solutions are one of the leading options in both categories, and the most popular selections in the market as whole. Look for a trusted certified Cisco partner such as LaSalle Solutions to ensure you can shepherd your collaboration systems into the future.
Fewer informational silos
Amid all the gadgets in the typical sci-fi flick or novel, have you ever stopped to think about how many of them are from the same vendor or are easily interoperable with each other? These details aren’t usually scrutinized, since they’re not exactly central to the plot in most cases.
In real life, such concerns are paramount. Too often, “collaboration” means relying on an unwieldy mix of email, chat clients and video conferencing software, all from different vendors. Advanced collaboration services help eliminate such silos.
For example, unified communications solutions can now link together voice, video data and mobile applications for more coherent workflows. They also help boost productivity, which IT professionals generally see as a goal for their collaboration implementations.
Greater ease of use
When envisioning the future, sci-fi media frequently feature devices that make life simpler. The 1995 PC game “Space Quest” included a kitchen appliance that could replicate any type of food by simply entering a code. Collaboration solutions are not that simple, but they have been getting easier to use.
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Cisco and other vendors like Microsoft have responded to the massive success of chat app Slack by rolling out products and services that streamline tasks such as virtual meetings. Cisco Spark is one such Cisco solution, offering functionality like Intelligent Proximity with beacons and access points to detect when someone has entered a room.
Integration with other apps and workflows is also more common from today’s collaboration vendors, although the exact setup you get will hinge on the partners you opt for. To learn more about how LaSalle Solutions will help you find the best collaboration solutions, visit our engineering page, where you can also contact us.
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