This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Five Technologies to Watch in 2024
Amazingly, 2024 is upon us. And while the year is certain to be noteworthy due to global events, there are a number of trends related to workplace collaboration that are top of mind. Here are my top five technologies to watch in 2024 (and perhaps beyond?).
As I mentioned in last month’s No Jitter post, it is no surprise that 2023 has been the year of Generative AI. In 2024 I see three key areas to watch:
- Adoption: Our data shows significant interest in adoption of generative AI companions, assistants, or copilots, depending on whatever terminology you like. But, there are significant buyer-side concerns over cost, ROI, and security. 2024 is likely to be a year where the majority of companies kick the tires, so to speak, on generative AI and figure out benefits versus costs, and how to ensure security and compliance. Ignoring generative AI isn’t an option for companies. Those that do are likely to find that employees have found their own way to use it for their needs.
- Pricing: In 2023 we saw the emergence of two distinct pricing models: Free versus monthly cost. Free models certainly aren’t free for the vendors giving away their generative AI assistants. It costs money to train models and support queries. While it’s understandable that vendors in competitive markets would utilize a free model to gain share and adoption, it’s likely that we see evolution toward a freemium model with free services offering base-level functionality and usage caps, and additional paid tiers of service for those who need/want more.
- GenAI Ops: While much of the attention around generative AI has been focused on personal assistants, to me one of the most exciting areas for gen AI is in improving the ability of IT teams to manage and support apps. I found Cisco’s demo of its AI assistant for Control Hub at its recent Cisco Live event to be especially compelling. As a former network engineer, I can attest to the time and management cost savings that would spring from doing network admin tasks such a configuring a network, troubleshooting networking, and managing those networks via conversational UI instead of a command-line interface or drop-down menu.
Meeting Room Evolution
The discussion of meeting room evolution is one that is driven by work location. As more and more companies seem to want to force employees back into the office, whether or not that offers any actual benefit to anyone, those companies will have to ensure that those in the office and those who are still remote are able to effectively collaborate. 2023 saw the introduction of a number of new technologies including AI-enabled framing and multi-camera solutions. 2024 is likely to see widespread adoption of such technologies provided costs are low and they are easy to use and manage. Metrigy’s Workplace Collaboration 2023-24 global study found that 37% of our 440 participating companies planned to deploy center room cameras while 30% were planning to use multiple in-room cameras to capture all participants, no matter where they sit.
Security Becomes Paramount
Just 37% of our research participants have an enterprise-wide security strategy for their workplace collaboration applications and services. And, in most cases those who do are still focused around protecting against toll fraud.
While voice is still a critical business service, it has been supplanted by meeting and messaging apps as the primary way that employees communicate with each other and increasingly with customers. Security approaches must evolve to address risks of data leakage and attacks across multiple applications. And, they must ensure that companies are able to secure content generated from AI in the form of meeting summaries and transcripts, recordings, and other content. Security approaches must also ensure protection of company data from leaking into LLMs. Already some vendors, such as Zoom, are offering support for federated approaches that enable customers to use their own, privately controlled, LLMs.
Evolution of the Collaboration UI
A few years ago, email was the primary place where people went to communicate and collaborate with each other. That has since shifted toward messaging and chat apps for asynchronous collaboration and video apps for meetings. Going forward, the collaboration UI is set to undergo another transformation into contextual active connected workspaces that integrate chat and meetings with content. Apps like Microsoft Loop, Notion, and Slack Canvas, as well as the forthcoming Zoom Docs, evolve the collaborative workspace into one where people can easily create, share content, discuss, and embed components from other applications. For example, within a connected workspace team members can share documents, chat, and even start a meeting, all within the context of a project or team activity. As this space evolves, I expect to see a reduction in task switching and growth in the use of workflow automations to handle repetitive tasks such as review cycles.
Contact Centers and Workplace Collaboration Platforms Continue to Converge
It’s increasingly rare for companies to think about their contact center platforms separately from their workplace collaboration tools. Indeed, more than 76% of our research participants say they have already planned or plan to converge their customer-facing and employee-facing collaboration environments, either through a single vendor or via integrations between communications, collaboration, and contact center platforms.
On the vendor side, just about every UC vendor now has a fully integrated contact center offering while standalone contact center providers are increasingly focusing on integrations with leading communications and collaboration platforms. Integration and convergence generates tangible benefits including improvements in customer service and potentially reduced operating costs from management simplification.
2024 is going to be an exciting year in the communications, collaboration, and customer engagement space. I look forward to seeing what the year brings, and in meeting many of you in person at Enterprise Connect in March 2024!
About Metrigy: Metrigy is an innovative research and advisory firm focusing on the rapidly changing areas of workplace collaboration, digital workplace, digital transformation, customer experience and employee experience—along with several related technologies. Metrigy delivers strategic guidance and informative content, backed by primary research metrics and analysis, for technology providers and enterprise organizations