A new year is just around the corner, and while it’s probably unrealistic to hope that all the volatility and uncertainty of the past two years is now behind us, one thing is sure: technology and digital acceleration will continue to be primary drivers of the COVID-recovery.
With broad implications for employee engagement, productivity, operational resilience and reputational risk management, technology adoption is redefining the future of work.
Below, we explore four Technology Trends we expect to see more of in 2022:
The Hybrid Workforce
In 2019, just five percent of the global workforce worked remotely, today that number is more like 40 percent. It’s no wonder then, that the work from home (WFH) trend will continue to be the most significant driver of technology evolution in 2022.
As businesses explore various hybrid structures from hot-desking and co-working spaces, through to team collaboration labs, and employees migrate between the office and home, technology will be integral for facilitating learning, supporting staggered schedules, and ensuring ongoing operational resilience.
In this environment, access to easy-to-use, enterprise grade tools will be paramount for productivity, security and employee engagement – a hot topic in light of the looming so-called Great Resignation.
Even prior to 2020, device compatibility and the growing need to interact with partners’, clients’ and contractors’ alternate software and platforms (e.g. WebEx, Zoom, Cisco) was high on the enterprise agenda. The almost overnight transition to WFH models has only contributed to the fragmentation of a standard operating environment, as users were often permitted to secure their own devices in order to remain productive.
Mark Scalise, National Account Manager, Programmed Electrical Technologies says: “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the top barriers for greater adoption of collaboration tools – but it’s a trend that’s here to stay, so business will need to adapt.”
Mark believes:“Having meeting room hardware that can support a variety of computer devices (BYOD) and platforms will be essential for delivering seamless connectivity.”
In addition to dealing with BYOD challenges, Mark believes organisations will need to prioritise the following technology considerations if they are to successfully make the transition to hybrid models:
- Range of options to fit individual needs (price, styles, fit etc)
- Video and mobile first
- High audio quality
- Management and control – centralised, excellent support and generous warranties
The partial return to the office will also drive uptake of more third-party collaboration platform such as Pexip, available via monthly subscriptions. Expect to see more businesses utilising their services to connect any room (e.g. Teams, WebEx, Zoom, blue jeans etc).
AV meets to IOT
The evolution of the Internet of Things (IOT) has enabled businesses to become more sophisticated in the design, layout and ongoing management of devices. Cloud-based monitoring services, such as Creston XIO, will continue to transform the way devices are configured, installed, monitored and upgraded over the coming year.
PET’s Mark Scalise notes: “Cloud-based management is already helping businesses to configure and install new workplace technologies up to 90 per cent faster than conventional roll outs.”
“With simple drag-and-drop naming, configuration and organisation, expect to see rapid uplift in overall enterprise capability, with less frustration to the end user,” he says.
2022 will also see more businesses using data uncovered through centralised monitoring to drive fact-based investment decisions. By analysing user insights and equipment usage (for example, face-to-face versus video meetings), IT Managers will be able to assess the ROI of enhancing different rooms, using this data to inform and prioritise commercial upgrade programs.
The need to adopt COVID-safe practices has been game changing for space management technologies.
As people make a cautious return to the office and face-to-face events, these latest technologies will be used to design in-person workplaces that are capable of facilitating more fluid, safe and flexible interactions.
Expect to see emerging space management technologies including machine learning, plug-and-play cameras, digital twinning, real-time congestion, hot spot monitoring, and even gamification, being deployed to create health-first interactions in 2022.
Global technology and equipment shortage
The pandemic exposed serious shortcomings in global supply chains. Compounded by lockdown restrictions and labour shortages, businesses will likely continue to experience lengthy delays for new AV/IT equipment, and even longer wait times for competent installation.
Although longer term savings may be realised as companies are able to downsize physical office space, the accelerated rollout of new workplace technologies will necessitate sizeable Capex investment. For all but the largest players, overnight replacement of ageing hardware is unlikely to be an affordable, or feasible, quick-fix.
In 2022, IT Managers will therefore need to become smarter and more selective about how they utilise equipment and plan for obsolescence. The advantages of standardised operating environments, when coupled with cloud based deployment and management services, will avoid the need for bespoke designs and reduce costs.
“We also recommend negotiating service agreements that require your integrator to keep spares and future upgrade equipment in stock,” Mark advises.
And by taking full advantage of cloud-based technology, data monitoring of devices will help to promote maximum efficiency, Mark explains: “Each piece of hardware has a shelf life of so many hours of operation, so simple monitoring to track when equipment is turned on/off, can help to optimise its service life.”
Change, the only constant
The intersection between people and technology will continue to drive next year’s technology trends: “Even though technology is always changing, the drivers remain much the same: People want better more efficient ways of communicating,” says Mark.
He adds: “We also believe in our people. We have some of the best people in the industry and it is this combination of our clients, our people and technology that drives us to deliver the best technology outcomes.”