Online Collaboration in 2021: Evolution or Revolution?

Dec 08, 2020

Online Collaboration in 2021: Evolution or Revolution?

The world of online collaboration and communication has become an increasingly important aspect of every business, driven by the switch to digital files and distributed workforces. Whether you are working completely remote, in a centralized office, or a combination of the two the COVID-19 pandemic has made online collaboration even more critical to the success.

The acceleration of these changes have highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the online collaboration software that is available today, pushing companies to evaluate their solutions. As online collaboration tools continue to evolve to support new requirements, it is critical that organizations look to the future and understand the ways in which their collaboration processes will continue to change.

By looking at how online collaboration will change in 2021, you can make informed decisions on how you collaborate today and in the coming years.

Major Growth in Teamwork Apps

According to Finances Online, the leading collaboration/communication market growth segment is teamwork apps – a broad term applied to project and resource management solutions that support the daily needs of teams. As more and more companies find themselves unable to discuss projects and their various tasks in person, they are finding that online teamwork software can not only fill in the gaps that have been created due to remote work, but provide support that has always been needed. This is the result of the sudden shift to online employees revealing where daily work inadequacies have always been, but had previously been obscured by the natural benefits of in-person collaboration. No matter how industry landscapes will change in 2021, project and resource management applications will have an even greater role in daily work.

A.I. Augmenting Collaboration

It’s easy to overhype the use of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) these days, with many organizations claiming that A.I. supports their technology in ways that are simply not possible right now. However, there are many ways in which A.I. may support online collaboration in real world terms. These include real-time language translation to help teams from different nations speak to one another through video conferencing, voice control over meetings to enable support as needed, transcribing meetings for comprehensive note taking, real-time meeting optimization that improves frame rates, audio, and video feeds that may be negatively impacted by varying internet speeds, and facial recognition for sign-ons to protect sensitive company information. These capabilities and action item suggestions enabled by A.I. can turn the online collaboration space into a third party within the meeting itself, almost creating a solution-based assistant helping participants make the most of their time together.

The Importance of a Virtual Office Space

While the last decade has seen companies in industries around the world move toward digital files and online-only tasks for their daily work, the changes experienced in 2021 have highlighted the many areas in which physical copies and in-person tasks have remained. Suddenly, these practices are no longer sustainable and require a shift to online collaboration. This is where virtual office spaces have come into demand, creating a digital platform where tasks and deliverables can be managed and shared with anyone, no matter where they are. The virtual office space will only continue to be refined in 2021, but expect to see an increasing importance placed on virtual office spaces that provide easy accessibility and real time updates to files, which are integrated with chat applications such as Slack for fast communication contextualized by shared online documents to simulate in-person meetings.

The Rise of Augmented Reality

Today, online collaboration and meeting software solutions are exploring the role of augmented and virtual reality in their technology. While these options are still being explored, the idea is to provide users with the ability to use virtual reality headsets that recreate the experience of meeting in person. While these AR and VR upgrades may not necessarily improve the basics of online collaboration, they look to fill the gap created by being unable to have the face-to-face meeting experience.

These are just some of the updates coming for online collaboration, but in any case, it is critical that every company depending on remote work look to strengthen their digital collaboration capabilities. With team members better connected to one another, each person can be better equipped to provide and receive the support they need for a job well done. With continued refinements to both technology and your team’s experience, online collaboration in 2021 can enable every company to succeed, no matter the distance between employees.

Equip Your Team Right

Learn more about how to improve your company’s collaboration through critical insights into resource management in our helpful ebook, “Resource Management: What You Need to Succeed.”

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