Some new technologies amount to little more than expensive, disappointing toys (you know, the kinds of impractical gadgets you might find in an in-flight catalog). I think it’s fair to say that a headline like Which Smartwatch Sucks Least. Least tells us a lot about the problem with even fairly popular technologies: technology fails to live up to its promise.
But innovation can also result in nothing short of a technological revolution. At Synergy, we believe the right technology really does have the potential to produce a massive change. And not just AV technology, either. I’m thinking of everything from air conditioning (I can’t imagine living in Houston without it) to bioengineered produce to smartphones.
Few technologies have as much practical influence on our daily lives as communications technology. AV and IT systems have converged in a way that radically enhances our day-to-day communications. It’s hard to imagine we ever functioned without tools we now take for granted , such as video telepresence and cloud-based collaboration.
Let’s look at five of the most important ways technology enhances communication.
1. Technology allows us to reach a wider audience.
One of the biggest challenges with technology is accessibility. It’s not enough to simply assume you’re reaching everyone—you need to make sure of it. Assistive Technology, such as screen readers and other assistive communications software, lets us connect with those among us who historically have often been left out of communications in one way or another.
The physical range of our connectivity has also greatly increased. Not so long ago, it would have been difficult and expensive, if not impossible, to communicate globally. Today, global communication is the new normal. Need to meet with a client in Beijing and a partner in the Netherlands from your office in the US? There’s an app for that—really.
But perhaps just as significant as range and accessibility is the need to command the attention of your audience. We know that humans are highly visual, and thanks to communications technologies like video conferencing and telepresence we can maintain the vital visual aspect of communications.
But effective team collaboration requires more than just adding some visual stimuli. To find solutions together, teams need an engaging environment that facilitates group input. Which leads us to…
2. Technology makes communication more interactive.
Video conferencing is the best example of interactive communication in action. Today, video-enabled meeting software solutions allow for more than just face-to-face discussion. With cloud-based VTC systems (such as our conferencing solution of choice, Starleaf Breeze), teams can also share and collaborate over data and visualize that data in real-time.
Interactive touch displays like T1V’s ThinkHub allow for even more interactive collaboration. Teams can share, edit, and annotate files easily with user-friendly multi-touch interactions. And ThinkHub doesn’t confine you to in-person collaboration, either. Teams can connect to any device via video conference, or collaborate with other ThinkHub devices through the Multisite feature.
If you’re meeting participants are all in one room, it’s still important for everyone to be able to share and interact with data in real time. With tools like Barco’s Clickshare, it’s easier than ever to do just that. Plug in the USB-connected toggle, click, and share. There’s no other software or hardware to install, which means you can share and interact with documents, images, and video from multiple devices on one screen at a moment’s notice.
3. Technology gives us instantaneous connectivity.
These days, teams can’t wait to communicate. Email is still the norm for most of us, but many teams are turning to free web apps like Slack and Trello to manage projects and communicate in real time. And while these aren’t technically AV technologies, they are examples of real world communications technology solutions that are transforming how teams work together.
Social media is a similar non-AV phenomenon that has revolutionized connectivity. Most if not all media outlets, marketers, and customer support teams rely on social media to communicate with their audience instantaneously. Social media has transformed everything from political campaigns to enterprise marketing, and it’s clear more companies will continue to rely on social channels to communicate with clients, prospects, and partners.
4. Technology lowers the cost of large-scale collaboration.
Communications technology has never been more accessible from a price standpoint. Technologies like VoIP, video conferencing, cloud-based collaboration, and WebRTC have made communicating with anyone anywhere in real time a cost-effective option for even the smallest teams.
Not only are these technologies themselves growing cheaper, they’re lowering the cost of doing business. Of course, there’s the monetary cost you can save by traveling less thanks to video conferencing. But there’s also a time cost. Think of how much quicker it is to send a message or email as opposed to typing and faxing a memo.
Communications technology has brought us more mobility, reduced our need to travel, and created a better-equipped remote workforce. Though technology has its own cost, the incremental savings that technology brings add up to a larger benefit in the long run.
5. Technology helps teams communicate more productively.
Everyone wants to be more productive. But few teams realize just how much communications technology can help them achieve that goal.
If you’re still finding that your meetings with internal teams, partners, or clients are slow to start and fail to stay on task, it might be time to make a change. One of the best ways to make your meetings more productive is to choose technology solutions that cut down on unproductive tasks—such as scheduling rooms, setting up equipment, or tracking participation.
But it’s not enough to adopt technology. It’s just as important to take the time to master it. Technology isn’t a silver bullet for productivity, but it is a valuable tool that, when mastered, can help you create a more productive collaboration culture.
The Time for Technology Adoption is Now
It’s easy to take for granted just how powerful communications technology has become. The more we depend on it, the more we expect it to accomplish for us. Of course, AV and communications—like any technology—is merely a tool. The power comes in how we adopt it and use it.
If you’re looking to enhance your team’s communication, there’s never been a better time to invest in powerful, user-friendly AV systems. The costs have never been lower, the technology is more robust, and our industry grows more innovative every day.
Even the AV industry has its “flash-in-the-pan” gadgetry. In any technology sector, there will always be a few trends that don’t last. But as a whole, information and communications technology has never been more mission-critical and accessible.
If you need a custom solution that enhances your team’s collaboration, we’d love to help discover your exact needs and deliver a total technology solution that you’ll actually enjoy using. Contact us today to find out more about how Synergy CT can partner with your team!