The Coronavirus pandemic risk might have receded (at least in the short term!) but the memories and precautionary measures are going to be with us for quite a while. Businesses with makeshift remote work environments are compelled to find effective ways on how to evolve and excel with a distributed workforce, at least for a couple of years. They can take a leaf out of past experiences. The First and the Second World War taught the world about the importance of universal healthcare systems. The financial depression in 2008 taught businesses how to get going in tough situations. Groupon, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Amazon, Netflix etc. were able to expand their business empires during these tough times by leveraging new technologies while optimising their existing resources. Here are 5 important technology trends to think about.
UCaaS for Seamless Collaboration in the Cloud
In a distributed workforce environment, there is an increased need for unified communications (UC) to happen entirely in the cloud. This facilitates seamless communication across the business ecosystem, and enables anywhere, anytime access. As a result, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is gaining traction. With UCaaS, businesses can seamlessly deliver instant messaging, meetings, enterprise telephony and communications-enabled services over the cloud and within a single application environment.
Leveraging the 5G Revolution
5G networks offer high speed and low latency connections with reduced network congestion. When 5G is combined with Cloud, AI, IoT and AR/VR/XR technologies, it enables remote workers to virtually interact with objects and data at a factory or run data-intensive research programs or stream media services in real time. 5G removes connectivity barriers which means businesses can move even the most critical services to the cloud. X Reality (XR) technology that combines extended, virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies gets more capability when connected to 5G networks. Be it vein visualisation in healthcare, product design in manufacturing, interactive ad formats in marketing or property visualisation in real estate, XR technology virtually takes you into the real world. Virtual meetings and video conferencing sessions become real and engaging.
Optimise Resourcing Through Global Freelancing
Gone are the days of a workforce being merely a group of staff members in an office environment doing a 9 to 5 job. Today a workforce has employees distributed among a multitude of environments, contractors on flexible contracts, outsourced teams, and talent-on-demand being purchased on employer’s terms, from popular web sites such as Upwork and Freelancer. Cloud technology has meant the shift of responsibility managing in-house servers and applications to a third-party provider, located somewhere in the world. Optimising resources such as in the examples above enables businesses to run smarter, leaner, more efficiently. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello empower collaboration and offer seamless communication between people via video conferencing, chat, email etc.
Boost Morale through Virtual Reality
While working alone for long periods can become a dreary experience. Remote working as a permanent modus operandi for the masses is questionable. Humans are social creatures and engaging with others, in person, can never be truly replaced with a screen, camera and microphone. Keeping morale high is essential and technology providers are recognising this. For example, to make the remote work environment more collaborative, video conferencing apps are now adding augmented reality (AR) into online meetings. Microsoft Teams allows you to integrate HoloLens to collaborate with others in 3D avatars powered by AR technology. This technology enables businesses to cost-effectively train a distributed workforce using simulations that offer truly immersive experiences.
Take Cybersecurity more Seriously
Installing a comprehensive security suite on your device (endpoint protection), securing your Wi-Fi, implementing strong passwords and avoiding phishing scams are the four important security measures every remote worker cannot afford to ignore. With working from home (WFH) policies set to become an integral part of business operations, enforcing robust cybersecurity measures is essential. When the UK National Cyber Security set up a cybercrime reporting service on April 21, 2020, it reported 5000+ Covid-related phishing email scams on the very first day. By the end of June 2020 over a million scam emails were reported, with the majority of them being fraudulent shopping sites. UK’s online fraud reporting service Action Fraud reports that £4.6 million was lost to cybercrime during the Covid lockdown period.
In addition to taking the security measures described above, cyber security awareness and training for employees is just as important. Working from home environments are evolving and have analogous needs to offices. Policies around security, device management, mental wellbeing all need to be considered.
Whether you are managing a distributed workforce or working remotely, Telappliant is here to help. As a leading technology service provider, we can take over the demands that your business makes on technology with a suite of fully managed IT services. Contact us today and let us help you revolutionise your business operations.