Advanced technology and a tech-savvy workforce have modernized our work environment. To speed up operations and facilitate greater communication, companies are looking to offer greater flexibility to their workers. Flexibility isn’t just about hours; it’s also about location and working style, in which collaboration becomes the key. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Ankur Goel, Director Sales, Government & Commercial Business, Polycom India & SAARC, discusses how collaboration industry is constantly evolving to keep up with the changing landscape and also how Polycom as an organization is powering the changing paradigm of Indian enterprises and government.
CXOToday: Many employees in India are working remotely and are working with colleagues across geographies. What is your view on this trend and how has the collaboration industry evolved to keep up with the changing landscape?
Ankur Goel: With transformational technologies like cloud, mobility, BYOD and video collaboration, offices and workspaces have changed and where people actually get work done is no longer a four-walled room. This is impacting everything from workspace design, to workflow and office culture.
Today’s multi-generational workforce want the ability to work from anywhere and collaborate in a very human way that gets the job done. In fact, according to Polycom’s survey around the changing world of work, two thirds (62%) of the global population are quite literally working from anywhere; collaboration technology like video conferencing plays a crucial role in this changing landscape as it enables more human-to-human connections so as to drive productivity and speed of decision.
Over the past few years, the collaboration industry has evolved significantly. While earlier video collaboration was a much fancy term, it has now become a critical driver of productivity in the global marketplace – millennials prefer collaboration over traditional technology communication like email which is transforming how offices are designed and function so that people can work together better. What’s triggering this trend is the rise of smart meetings– increasingly, workplaces are leveraging technology to automate routine and everyday tasks to optimize how we work. New technologies like the latest intelligent face-detection and voice triangulation cameras, wireless content-sharing, a simple ‘click to join’ meeting interface, AI, and advanced analytics are helping meetings get smarter and more productive.
The growth in flexible working and geographically distributed workforces mean that businesses will need to find ways to empower employees with vastly different experiences and relationships with technology, ensuring they can collaborate effectively to drive productivity.
CXOToday: So, what are the sectors which are adopting digital technologies at a higher rate?
Ankur Goel: In a remarkably short time, what was once considered disruptive technology – big data, social, the Internet of Things and cybersecurity today has become an integral part of what savvy organisations are leveraging to enable the next order of business innovation.
In India, we are seeing that the adoption of digital technologies is higher in the IT/ITeS, government and manufacturing sectors. These verticals are embracing technology at a higher rate to change their business processes.
CXOToday: Will technologies like AI and VR change the way we collaborate? Is Polycom working on incorporating these technologies?
Ankur Goel: As new generations enter the workforce, expectations around being able to connect instantly, from any device or workspace are rising. We see workspaces evolving even further with AI and machine learning. Imagine walking into a room and the system recognizes you through facial recognition, pulls up your calendar, and asks if you want to connect your call – that is the future of collaboration technology.
Polycom is continuing to focus on innovations that make a big difference in how people experience meetings. Camera tracking, voice recognition, meeting transcriptions, and meeting analytics are what we currently offer or have in the works.
We are focused on how we can make virtual meetings feel more and more in-person so that people want to use the technology.
CXOToday: What role is collaboration technology playing in India’s digitization process? How is Polycom contributing to it?
Ankur Goel: As India continues to go through digital transformation bringing significant change to almost all sectors of society, from the way people receive critical services like healthcare to how students are taught and business gets done, there is an increasing demand for easier and more convenient access to public and private services. Collaboration technology plays a crucial in the country’s digitization in the following ways:
1. Helping government departments collaborate: Collaboration technology, especially video conferencing is helping government departments work together closely to finish projects faster. Polycom has been chosen as a technology provider by many government departments, including NIC. 2. Improving Citizen Services : Technology can play a vital role in bringing Government closer to the Citizens.3. Revamping the Judicial system – the major factors contributing to delays in bringing cases to court are lack of manpower, transparency and inadequate data on pending cases. These challenges are making it difficult to streamline India’s justice system. Collaboration technology, in particular video conferencing can be the savior to revamp India’s legal processes, by providing those critical communication links between courtrooms, offices, visitation centres or prisons, while decreasing travel time, security risks, and inmate transportation costs for the judicial system.4. Cultivating talent – Availability of smart or interactive classrooms ensures faster development of skills across the country, including tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Collaboration solutions bridge the gaps in the availability of specialized trainers through video classrooms, so that these trainers can reach people no matter where they are located, and help develop required skills.
Given this landscape, Polycom has a huge opportunity to provide collaboration technologies that will deliver mission critical government services, improving equity of access for all. In fact, in 2017, we witnessed strong demand for our solutions in the Government sector – we powered many State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and police departments in the country and many government agencies in India are using our voice, video, and multimedia solutions.
CXOToday: What is Polycom’s plan for 2018?
Ankur Goel: Over the course of 2018, our focus is to deliver new products with innovative features that make meetings easier to run with rich experience and feel more human-like and in-person than ever. We are also focused on growing in the government vertical, given that the government is focusing on initiatives such as interactive class rooms, smart cities, SWAN refresh, etc. our focus in 2018 is to grow aggressively in the government vertical. We would want to further leveraging relationship with Microsoft. Many enterprises in the country are adopting Microsoft Skype for Business or O365 for their collaboration needs. This is helping Polycom grow given that we offer native integration with Microsoft solutions. We will leverage this relationship further for growth. We are also tapping into tier 2 and tier 3 cities this year. These cities, as we notice is witnessing good growth opportunities as organizations in these regions are exploring newer markets to create substantial impact for their products and services. This has accelerated demand for collaboration-based tools and innovative consumption models.