2021 promises to be an exciting year for office technology. The past year saw some major shifts in the way technology works in our day-to-day lives. Overall, the major theme in 2021 for office technology will be about becoming more productive while working from anywhere.
In this article, we will break down the three tech trends poised to make you more productive in 2021.
Trend: Unified Communications
2020 turned the world on its head for many of us. In 2021, the focus will be on becoming more productive while working from anywhere, at any time. Enter Unified Communications.
What are Unified Communications?
Unified Communications is an integrated network or solution that can fulfill all your communication requirements within one comprehensive solution. This solution assimilates all your communication tools and platforms. Some examples include text, voice, video, email, file and data sharing, multimedia and collaboration applications.
Why Might You Adopt Unified Communications?
By adopting a Unified Communication system, you can provide a seamless way for your team to communicate and collaborate regardless of physical location, allowing for the flexibility that 2021 will need.
A few of the features our customers love most about a Unified Communications solution are the ability to:
- Connect desktop phones to cell phones so you never miss a call while on the road
- Integrate your email and chat messages into a single thread to reference while video calling your customer
- Or call a landline directly from your computer with tools like Microsoft Teams
Every month new possibilities are emerging to improve the accessibility of your team. Effective communication, both among teammates and with customers, is a key element when running a successful business.
Unified Communication technology promises to make it easier than ever before, which is why it will be so popular in 2021.
TREND: Automation and Artificial Intelligence
While workflow automation in and of itself isn’t a new trend, recent advances in technology, sometimes with the help of AI, have ushered in a sea of new opportunities. Let’s take a look at four ways automation is poised to improve efficiency in 2021.
Office Phone Systems Will Become More Automated
One example of this automation is smart routing. Smart routing is a tool that uses caller data to automatically route callers to the most relevant person or team, without requiring the caller to navigate a seemingly endless network of menu options. Many companies are already beginning to adopt smart routing as a way to improve their customer experience.
Here is a quick demo of how this technology works in practice: when a customer calls your office, the application can pull data such as age, gender and location of the caller. It then uses this information to automatically connect them with the most appropriate person on your team.
Smart routing is easy to set up, is usually run through a third-party company and both improve the customer experience as well as reducing how much time your team spends redirecting callers to other departments.
New Workflow Automation Tech Is Revolutionizing HR
One of these new technologies is the chatbot. Chatbots are exploding onto the recruitment scene, particularly early in the job application process where potential applicants can be lead through a series of questions or tasks. Early pre-screening means that your valuable hiring managers and HR staff only spend their time vetting qualified applicants. If executed well, chatbots also allow applicants to learn about the role early on in the process.
Best of all, chatbots are typically easy to navigate and can be customized based on the role, language and location.
AR and VR have been trending for years, but we are now seeing these programs be created especially for employee training purposes. VR allows for realistic training simulations, which may not have been possible without technology. For instance, you can train someone to repair equipment without needing to have the hardware on location.
Best of all, training done through these kinds of programs is easily tracked and standardized to ensure that the quality of training doesn’t vary by team or region. While these programs can be expensive, their scalability has the potential to both greatly increase the quality of training given to your teams as well as reduce the overall cost of large training initiatives.
Ricoh Smart Integration Technology
Another innovative automation tool we are adopting with our customers is Ricoh Smart Integration, or RSI, technology. This little program lives on your Ricoh MFP giving it many smart device capabilities including scanning to the cloud or PDF, creating searchable documents with Optical Character Recognition or OCR, and automated scan sorting and filing.
RSI is a subscription service, eliminating one of the major problems with the previous generation of workflow automation software, the significant upfront financial costs. This means that RSI is a very cost-effective way to start your workflow automation journey.
Read the full article here if you want to learn more about Ricoh Smart Integration.
TREND: The Year of 5G
The third trend we are watching is the much-anticipated mass-roll out of 5G. 5G has dominated tech news for the past couple of years, and 2021 promises to see a larger adoption worldwide.
5G is already available in 35 countries, including parts of Canada and the United States and as it becomes more widely available across the country we will see new tech emerge to take advantage of this availability. 5G devices like cellphones and computers are on the rise, and further devices and technologies are expected in the next 12 months.
According to Qualcomm the mass adoption of 5G will result in $13.2 Trillion dollars of economic output.
What Impact Could 5G Have on Your Business?
First, 5G is up to 100 times faster than 4G, which means your network won’t overload during peak times of the day. Activities like sending and receiving files will speed up exponentially and video calls will be smoother than ever.
It’s no secret that every business relies on stable and reliable internet. 5G promises faster, more stable internet connections for you and your team.
We’re excited to see how business technology will evolve in 2021! If you want to learn more about adopting some of these trends with your team, reach out and book a free consultation!
Digital Content Specialist