Microsoft Teams now has over 280 million daily active users. The market has spoken, when workers collaborate, it’s frequently not done face to face anymore. Technology is advancing and corporate cultures are shifting to make hybrid work the new normal. It’s no longer a question of whether team members will be allowed to work from anywhere, but how often. And more importantly, how will the enterprise enable it?
Lenovo, a long-standing Microsoft partner, is delivering solutions that support one of the most significant trends in the digital transformation of the enterprise – enabling hybrid work with smarter unified communications (UC) technology.
Digital transformation has never been easy, but in the case of hybrid work, it’s rarely been as urgent. To meet the realities of managing distributed teams and support workers with the flexibility they demand, companies are increasingly moving to a three-two model, with three days working in the office and two from anywhere. And all this was catalysed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, which tested the limitations of what is possible with UC technology.
But how does the enterprise shift to the new model and maintain equity for its employees so that everyone has a seat at the table (even if it is virtual), as well as a voice that can be heard? There’s no single path to achieve these goals. Legacy technology burdens, the scale of office footprints, and budget constraints are realities every enterprise face.
Enterprises are looking for inclusive UC solutions that provide a seamless experience from anywhere, while still upholding reliability and security to ensure it works every time.
According to the Remote Work Statistics And Trends In 2023 by Forbes, 98 per cent of workers expressed the desire to work remotely, at least part of the time. And 56 per cent of employees would look for a new job if their current company didn’t allow remote work. The enterprise needs UC solutions that work in the office and at home, as well as in other locations. Businesses will seek hyper-flexible, scalable solutions that allow employees to collaborate from anywhere. These solutions should also offer a familiar user experience so that employees can easily join a Teams meeting.
Effective collaboration enables diverse teams to learn, problem solve and innovate together. But one in five participants worries about not feeling heard in hybrid meetings, and nearly 50 per cent don’t speak at all. For employees to stay connected, technology must make everyone feel included in the conversation. Solutions using artificial intelligence-enabled cameras with automated focus and framing, along with more immersive, intelligent audio experiences, help ensure every meeting participant is seen and heard. And AI-driven features like transcription, chat, polling, hand-gesture support and whiteboarding let everyone engage.
In addition, making every moment productive is critical for hybrid meetings. That means being able to start and join meetings without time-consuming technology issues. Collaboration solutions must also be simple to use and easy for IT to manage for a consistently positive experience. World-class reliability – along with easy intuitive interfaces and standard software applications – lets workers and the IT personnel supporting them avoid the productivity-killing chorus of “How does this work?”, “Can you hear me?” and “Do you see my screen?”
Leveraging decades of enterprise IT experience across more than 180 global markets, Lenovo is rising to the challenge of assisting customers in transforming their meeting spaces with a wide range of purpose-built collaboration solutions for Teams Rooms. For example, ThinkSmart Core Kits are modular kits scalable to any size room with or without audio and video already installed, while the ThinkSmart One + Controller is an integrated front-of-room collaboration system for simplified meeting spaces.
With computing now at the core of the UC, Lenovo offers the ThinkSmart Hub, an all-in-one touchscreen control with computer and audio for outstanding user experiences. The ThinkSmart Hub also features fully immersive 360-degree sound with four built-in full duplex speakers and four built-in dual array microphones.
Lenovo’s latest solution is the ThinkSmart View Plus, a stand-alone collaboration device with premium audio, video and whiteboarding features that runs Teams Display. The smart collaboration solution is purpose-built for hot desking, phone booths, executive desks and home-office use cases.
In addition, Lenovo collaborates with Microsoft, Biamp, Jabra, Logitech, Q-SYS and others to combine the best audio and visual technologies with its computing expertise to enable it to continually address customers’ needs with advanced UC experiences.
As companies build the new hybrid working model, collaboration remains an essential part of organisational success. Teams require the flexibility to collaborate anytime and anywhere, physical spaces for in-person connections with colleagues, and the technology to support it all.
Shannon MacKay is general manager of worldwide smart collaboration business at Lenovo
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription