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The Digitisation of Workplaces

Enterprises have long looked to the digital transformation of their IT estate to fundamentally change how their business operates – to deliver value and improvements to customer experiences and outcomes. 

Key to this change has been the cultural shift from a traditional approach to projects and working, as well as the adoption of policies that  focus on customer/user outcomes from activities. However, these changes must be accompanied by a transformation in how employees work and collaborate across both formal and informal teams. 

Enter the Digital Workplace 

To transform how employees work and collaborate requires a digital workplace that allows enterprises to scale to meet employee needs as they arise, as well as to scale back as these needs recede with minimal disruption to productivity. 

In turn, this requires an agile IT/AV architecture that supports the enterprises, employees and customers to realise their objectives. There are several reasons why the digital transformation of workplaces is now garnering as much interest as the digital transformation of IT functions: 

Dramatic Changes in Working Practices 

With the sudden shift to remote work in 2020, companies have seen a dramatic shift in working practices. Fully office-based working has dropped from 75% pre-pandemic to the current 25%. There is still ambiguity around the future, but decision makers and employees agree that moving forward, a hybrid approach of working remotely and being office-based is likely.  

A Shift in Expectations 

Employees’ use and expectations of technology in the workplace are heavily influenced by their experience of technology at home and for personal use. Younger employees express a preference for using their own devices, share more content and are more likely to use smartphones to connect to a display. 

Further reading: Understanding Enterprise AV Meeting Room End-User Perspectives (Western Europe & US) Feb 2022. 

It is now also possible for a company to establish a global footprint with relative ease – though this does require technology that supports impactful communication and collaboration. That being said, new entrants to the workforce will be digital natives, and their expectations of the working experience will be shaped by their use of digital tools in their personal lives. 

The Role of AV in the Digital Workplace 

The role AV plays in the new workplace will be different to the role it has historically played. AV solutions today help employees interact more easily with one another, enabling them to collaborate more impactfully and focus their energies on delivering value and achieving success in their tasks.  

From auditorium solutions to conference rooms, meeting rooms, huddle rooms, training spaces experience centres and more, today’s AV solutions are transforming the digital world in a multitude of ways. Indeed, the AV world is already starting to be shaped by new demands placed on it: 

  • AVoIP is seeing a shift from legacy matrix switches to IP switches. The use of Cat 5/Cat 6 ethernet cabling removes the need for dedicated networking solutions for AV solutions. 
  • Integrating conferencing tools, such as Zoom and Teams, with productivity tools to create ‘rooms’ lowers the barriers between enterprise productivity solutions and conferencing tools. 
  • The disaggregation of AV technology stacks removes the need to seek specialists to manage end-to-end AV deployments. This leads to the growth in managed services for remote monitoring, maintenance and cloud-based services. 
  • Including mobile connectivity solutions in devices, such as WiFi 6 and LTE/5G expands the flexible use of AV devices and how employees connect to such devices. 
What This Means in the Current Market 

The nature of AV in the enterprise is shifting. The landscape is getting more complex, as AV services are combined with IP services to support the adoption of hybrid work, remote collaboration tool and the access and sharing of information in real time.  

Enterprises are now looking for data-driven resource allocation, maintenance and support approaches. At the same time, they want to move away from running separate networks and the associated costs of running siloed platforms, presenting new challenges for connectivity solutions providers. As vendors focus on combining Pro AV and IT services, network performance and stability becomes more critical. 

Vendors are also finding new opportunities, thanks to changes in the devices used to access AV services. The adoption of smartphones with 4G and 5G services enables access for people on the move to Pro AV services. At the same time, cloud-based solutions are also becoming much more common in the Pro AV sector. This creates opportunities to build various services around these solutions and managing that increase in the ecosystem of devices and software. Indeed, enterprise IT infrastructure will need to evolve to support ever-growing, bandwidth-hungry Pro AV workloads. 

Date Published:

Chris Pennell

About the author

Chris Pennell

Chris Pennell is a Principal Analyst for Futuresource Consulting and is responsible for researching and reporting on enterprise technology trends. Chris’s research is focused on working with vendors and end-user clients to understand how technologies are disrupting and transforming the delivery of services by public and private enterprises. His main areas of focus include the digital transformation of front- and back-office services through emerging technologies as well as the increasing use of smart city solutions to improve outcomes for citizens.

Prior to joining Futuresource Consulting, Chris has spent the past 12 years researching government’s use of technology to drive better outcomes for citizens, most recently as the Research Director, Government Insights at IDC and has been a regular speaker on Smart Cities and Government technology.

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