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Intelligent workspaces

Debbie Murray
intelligent

Intelligent workspaces will be centred around better-equipped employees, who are empowered by smart tech, rather than hindered by it. It won’t be long before the likes of digital assistants, voice-controlled devices and interactive whiteboards will be commonplace in all workplaces. Article by Debbie Murray, VP, People – BlueJeans Network.

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistance will not only benefit all facets of the business, but the HR departments specifically, enticing and retaining top talent, whilst improving the interviewing and onboarding processes.

AI as an extension of existing tools
For some companies, there seems to be a reticence to fully embrace AI in the workplace. This is perhaps understandable with the sensationalist headlines in the media, that give the impression AI will leave millions out of work. But, whilst those stories grab headlines, they are misleading in terms of the positive role that AI can play in the future of work. AI does not have to be threatening or overbearing; in fact, the likelihood is that in most cases it will be far from that – improving the workplace experience instead. In the future of work, AI will likely be deployed as an extension of existing tools, with the aim of enhancing pre-existing technology; improving the resources that employers and employees have at their disposal.

Integrating AI to assist the workforce
As an example of how AI can be integrated into existing technology, to play a key role in the future of work, BlueJeans recently announced the new Meetings Platform, which has embraced AI to make video meetings simple and productive. The new platform incorporates AI in various different forms; from Amazon Echo voice control, to Kaptivo interactive whiteboards and Voicera digital assistants. Advancements like this provide a great insight into what intelligent workspaces will look like in the very near future – with the deployment of technology, that can be used to improve both the worker experience and office efficiency. Smart offices should empower employees to do their best work and take pride in their workplace.

Benefits to the People Team
The benefits of deploying AI strategically in a business have a huge impact on the People side of the organisation. Clever tech integration, that offers genuine time-saving capabilities and can help to improve collaboration and productivity will be enticing potential candidates. However, tech is still a point of contention for employees, including millennial employees who continue to make up a large percentage of the workforce. Recent research from Sharp highlighted technology in the workplace as a major pain point for workers, with 51% of respondents expressing frustration with out-dated and restrictive technology.

While prospects don’t know about the kinds of technology an organisation runs when they are recruited for a job, once they have joined, it could really put them off if it doesn’t meet the standards they have come to expect in their private lives. This is particularly pertinent in ‘the age of the millennials’, where expectations of tech are perhaps higher than other members of the workforce. Once new-joiners have a bad experience, they will use it as a lens to look at other aspects of the company experience. If a company isn’t prepared to invest in up-to-date tech, what else are they failing to invest in?

People Teams would also do well to adopt digital assistants, such as Voicera’s Eva, which offers a practical transcription solution; listening, taking notes and providing intelligent highlights from meetings or interviews. Voicera’s Eva also ensures that any interviewer unable to attend in person is still able to make a fair assessment of candidates, rather than relying on the word of mouth. Full transcripts and recordings, as well as action items, are saved and available to be shared with all attendees and non-attendees straight after the interview, so that everyone is up to speed. This gives interviewers the power to re-watch interviews in order to make the most informed hiring decisions possible.

At BlueJeans, we have also integrated Kaptivo interactive whiteboards into our Meetings Platform. This tool can help to transform mundane meetings into engaging, productive and collaborative experiences. The technology allows users to capture images and live stream content, enabling staff to host meetings that are interesting and capable of providing detailed, and interactive sessions. For People Teams, this will revolutionise the way businesses onboard and train new employees; providing an interactive presentation that shows step-by-step processes, rather than a mountain of paperwork. As a result, new-joiners will be brought up to speed in an immersive manner and a far cry from the traditional methods of onboarding, which is a win-win for the whole company.

The future workplace will consist of intelligently integrated technology designed to make the day-to-day working environment easier and more productive for both employers and employees. From a People perspective, emerging technologies like AI will help attract and retain the best talent, keep them engaged, and is worth investing in from a business perspective. In a highly competitive job market, these small gains could make all the difference.