Over half a billion results populate on Google in less than a second when you search for “productivity” – most likely servicing people who are finding things to read while procrastinating. That irony aside, our infatuation with productivity and maximizing every minute of every day as a quantifier of success has led us to the present day: a global day just for productivity. June 20th is World Productivity Day, and one which causes us some reflection as to where humans are indexing on a productivity healthiness scale.
While in the last year we’ve seen people start to question how much technology is good for us, these questions are being asked less in businesses trying to maximize their productivity yields. Because while screen-limiting measures and audio health warnings have been introduced to consumers, it is a little harder to tell your boss you won’t read Slack messages until the next day or would prefer not to have a work phone.
People start to question how much technology is good for us, but these questions are being asked less in businesses that are trying to maximize their productivity yields
Though our latest research set out to find out who should be responsible for productivity in the workplace, and we uncovered some interesting results, we wanted to find out how technology could help us improve our productivity in the workplace going forward. Here are four ways in which we’ll see productivity gains thanks to technology in the years to come.
The rise of video collaboration
With major growth forecast in huddle rooms, video is set to be the future of collaboration. Why? Well, any video communication enhances business collaboration and pace, as it helps people establish trust faster. And as companies are getting more dispersed, if you want to have a team meeting, video makes it a better experience. When you deploy 180° video, it also allows you to include everyone in the conversation, and so it accelerates team trust and relationship building, because everyone is in the picture and in the know. In the future, we’ll see a new style of meeting room with inclusive and immersive camera systems that create purpose-built spaces to enable you to be effective in your work collaborating with others.
Data will be used to streamline productivity in the workplace
Sure, video technology might help with collaboration, but when video isn’t distorted like in an ultra wide-angle lens, it enables AI algorithms to detect objects correctly. This data can be used to automate workflows. For example, by knowing how many people are present or if anyone is there, we can create software control signals which enable systems to automate room reservation and release, autonomously turn off power-consuming equipment when it is not needed, or analyze the seasonality and patterns of use of corporate real estate to decide how best to optimize it. These big data lakes of information for business intelligence will enable businesses to run better and faster.
AI will make tech work for us in more discreet ways
In an ideal world, technology isn’t something you will experience at all; it should fundamentally work for us, rather than get in our way. Living in a time-poor world, we are all challenged in focusing on the right things in order to get the most out of a finite period, but technology adoption is where our productivity enhancements lie. As artificial intelligence grows, our software will be an enabler to our hardware, but play more of a background role while making solutions more relevant to users. Software is what will enable users in the way they interact with unique ecosystems or individual services. As we get more feedback from device data we will enable partners to better utilize this to make lives better.
As artificial intelligence grows, our software will be an enabler to our hardware, but play more of a background role while making solutions more relevant to users.
Voice will enable more productivity gains in the office
What we’re doing is understanding human ability and preferences to enable things like voice to become the next user interface (UI) in both consumer and enterprise domains. Voice is a perfect example of a more natural and simpler way to engage with services that unlock time and productivity in our days.
We’re excited about how voice will start to become more of an enabler in the office space. People are getting used to talking to machines, and when that behavioral instinct takes over we can immobilize it and focus on further delivering new voice experiences. How we’re going to interact with collaboration solutions will change over time. You will increasingly use your voice in different ways in the work context to interact with your technology.
Cortana, backed by Microsoft’s Cognitive Services is going to change the way how users interact with machines. We will see a shift to two-way communications, in which we not only invoke our voice assistants to perform tasks, but they start to engage with and prompt users in order to streamline our workflows in software like Office365.