In the post-COVID era, enhanced video conferencing and team collaboration tools will become a mainstay, says this visual communications expert.

Asia has seen a dramatic change in the workplace. The skills that our workforce needs are in flux—evident from the recent slew of initiatives by governments in Singapore and Malaysia to bridge the digital skills gap.

The working styles that we have adopted are also shifting, spurred by social distancing and remote working mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this transformation showing no signs of slowing down, a question that comes to mind is, which aspect of our working life will benefit from technology’s onward march?

The answer is the daily meeting experience. This trend is visible in the “Future of Meetings” survey published by Barco ClickShare and Savanta, where most (72%) respondents agree that meetings have improved tremendously from five years ago and are set for further reforms. This emphasizes that emerging and innovative technologies will continue to greatly disrupt the ‘typical’ meeting experience.

As part of our evolving landscape, there are five key trends that will dominate the meeting room experience throughout the year:

Remote working will continue to proliferate

Looking at the past few years alone, it is becoming evident that there many scenarios that can disrupt a business’s operations—diseases, fires, earthquakes, and many other crises. In today’s world, it can even be seen as the new normal, with there being a surge in the number of remote workers as a response to Covid-19.

That said, however, remote working is by no means a new phenomenon. The number of remote workers had already risen by 115% over the last decade, and we see this gathering speed in the years to come—especially with more and more workers from the Millennial and Gen-Z demographic entering the workforce in Asia.

The survey shows that over half (53%) of respondents’ meetings currently have remote attendees, with three quarters (74%) of them predicting a major rise in remote attendee-only meetings over the near term.

An emphasis on an elevated meeting room experience is now more important than ever since it has become necessary that participants interact with each other virtually, in a manner similar to a face-to-face scenario, to make remote meetings a success.

Smart technologies will become mainstream

The futuristic vision of our working environments being controlled by interconnected Internet of Things devices may not be too far off.

Many large corporations are seeing the same vision for the companies, with over three quarters (77%) of those surveyed expecting that video will be standard in meetings within the next three years. Workplace technology is expected to stay abreast of the consumer technology that employees are used to. It is imperative that corporations keep pace with this change and bring in intuitive, experience-enhancing solutions to improve productivity and engagement.

Employees are looking for a new reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions are likely to pick up pace. While they have yet to find their way into everyday corporate meeting rooms, the survey showed that many employees expect these advances to significantly enhance their day-to-day workplace.

The most sought after technology is the ability to use AR while overlaying information onto visual content, in real-time, with about 65% of respondents voting for this innovation. Applying virtual reality to meetings for better collaboration is another popular employee requirement, with 81% of respondents expecting this to be accessible in the next three years.

The end of a generational divide

The technological generation gap, a prominent phenomenon in the enterprise, is rapidly disappearing. According to the survey, 74% of people across age groups are now confident with technology, with 86% preferring meetings that embrace technology. Especially considering the ageing workforce in our region, we are looking forward to the end of the “technophobic older generation” stereotype this year, as new technologies play an increasing role in workplace communication and collaboration for all employees.

Enterprises will have to factor-in this trend when developing workplace technology strategies to enhance the experience of employees

The BYOM future is here

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) market has exploded and is expected to reach US$430.45bn by 2025—up from US$186.09bn last year—with the Asia Pacific region estimated to witness the highest growth rate.

However, the next phase of BYOD is already here, with employees not only capable of joining meetings from their personal devices, but also hosting them through their preferred conferencing solution or device.

This new decade will see a proliferation of the Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) trend, as seen in the responses of Barco’s survey participants—71% said they can already choose the conferencing solutions they prefer using in meetings.

With this development, organizations will be able to address the different dimensions of an effective digital strategy by allowing their employees to pick their own conferencing solution, while also bringing in the device they find most suitable.

This is set to enable an increasingly diverse workforce, ranging from an intern to a contractor, to collaborate effectively and contribute optimally to the workplace.