The “next normal” is hybrid working— flexible working across multiple locations, new workflows, immersive workspaces and consistent experiences. “It’s about creating productive environments that accommodate the workstyle of every employee,” says Ankur Goel, managing director, Poly India & Saarc, as he discusses with Sudhir Chowdhary the workplace of future (hybrid/remote working) and upcoming collaboration trends. Excerpts:
What is your view on the future of work? Will remote working grow while traditional offices as we know it disappear?
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our day-to-day lives and the way we live, work, play or interact with each other. Remote working is widely accepted now, employees are more accustomed to working from home and are finding that they have better work-life balance. So, there is a large segment of working population that prefer to continue with remote working.
On the other hand, there is another segment of workers that are finding it difficult to continue with the work from home arrangement—they miss the human interaction and find that they are more productive in office.
So, we see that the future of work will be hybrid working wherein employees will be working from home two or three days a week and meeting in office for the remainder period. This is beneficial not only for organisations as it has a lot of advantages like cost savings and efficient utilisation of resources but also to employees as it offers a very good work-life balance.
What should customers keep in mind before investing in collaboration solutions?
Some of the top considerations that customers need to keep in mind are:
Solutions that provide amazing user experience: Video and audio conferencing have now gone mainstream and investing in these collaboration devices which have features like embedded Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) provides an amazing user experience. At Poly (formerly Plantronics and Polycom), we are applying advancements in AI, ML and new technologies to deliver the best camera angles, consistently provide superior audio quality and even act as room sensors regardless of what calling platform is used. All this is done without the need to touch any device.
Choosing solutions that are platform agnostic and provide investment protection: No matter which UC platform an organisation chooses for its internal communications, many customers will find that users likely need to connect to several different platforms due to the needs of a client, partner or prospect. That means customers should keep in mind the multi-cloud aspect and choose an audio and visual technology provider which gives the flexibility to work equally well with any platform.
Providers that offer full portfolio of solutions where services play a big role: Customers should look at choosing a vendor that offers a full range of portfolio of collaboration solutions (be it for a remote worker or a large conference room) that offer rich monitoring and insight capabilities, so that they can keep a pulse on device status, meeting performance, and end-user experience.
Could you elaborate on the importance of choosing a collaboration vendor that is platform agnostic? How does Poly work with different cloud vendors?
We are seeing that when it comes to collaboration technology, the industry is shifting from implementing pure AV solutions to implementing a comprehensive IT and collaboration strategy that can deal with uncertainties and cater to workforce with different profiles.
Many companies are deploying multi-cloud and employee first strategy to cater to needs of employees despite their work location—at home, in office or anywhere on the go. They are looking for sophisticated collaboration equipment that is easy to use, works with any cloud platform, gives best-in-class experience supported by services capability to manage complete deployment of devices—not just data capture and analytics, but actual support they can access and trust.
And on that front, Poly has an advantage. Our video, audio devices and headsets work natively with Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other major cloud platforms and also provide IT managers information on how the collaboration devices are being used by the employees. Poly is in the best position to serve customers who are implementing multi-cloud strategy.
What is Poly’s focus for 2021? Which sector do you see the maximum growth?
For 2021, our focus will be to educate and help our customers navigate in the new world of work, that is, hybrid working. We want to provide best-in-class conferencing experience for users from all segments—whether they are working from home, in office or client location and have many products that we will announce in the next few months to meet this vision.
With respect to segments, we see a lot of opportunities in the healthcare and education sector in India—the way that these customers are using collaboration technology is exciting. The pandemic has propelled these customers to disrupt the way they use technology to serve customers and there is a lot of opportunity for Poly to be the collaboration partner for them in their digital journey.