Existing web conferencing and collaboration solutions are too restrictive for businesses. Employees want to choose the devices and operating platforms they use to spontaneously connect and share with colleagues. Holger Feigner, General Manager at TeamViewer, argues that next-generation solutions will give more power to users--and pave the way for more versatile use of remote talent, changing the way companies think about recruitment.
Without question, workforces are becoming more mobile and dispersed, reducing the window for team meetings where all key members can be physically present. Flexible-working policies, designed to reduce internal costs and to attract and retain staff seeking an improved work-life balance, add to the challenge. To be productive, they need to remain fully connected in to office functionality and able to communicate and collaborate as if they were in the same space.
It is no coincidence that Gartner has forecast that 'telepresence' (online meetings) will replace some 2,1m airline seats this year, and that by 2015 200m workers globally will be running video conferencing from their desktops.
Yet as more employees and contractors favour using their own technology and tools to manage their workloads, as seen in the growing 'consumerisation of IT' and 'bring your own device' trends, it is becoming harder for companies to manage the ways their staff connect and share with each other. To be fully inclusive, the software and services harnessed need to be readily accessible to all users, on all devices, in all locations.
Existing conferencing tools don't always allow this, because the content users want to share while connecting with colleagues remotely isn't always accessible to them during an online audio or audio-visual meeting--especially if one or more of the participants are mobile. The more that users swap desktop PCs and even laptops for Apple iOS and Android devices, like tablets and smartphones, the danger is that they will drop out of the loop.
While online videoconferencing services have made versatile video connectivity a real option, they are really designed for 'communication' rather than deeper collaboration. For extended business use, conferencing services need to include secure file-sharing and shared whiteboard capabilities that enable organisations to mimic physical meetings to the greatest possible degree.
That means allowing remote team members to dial into their own PCs or...