The Future of Work – What's next for digital communication?

The Future of Work – What's next for digital communication?

Although many of us are itching to meet and mingle in person again, we’re not ready to ditch our virtual toolkits yet. 

In fact, if our future of work stats are anything to go by, we’ll be relying on digital communication for many years to come. 

How else are we going to facilitate our growing appetite for hybrid working? 

Video-conferencing platforms are invaluable at a time when we show we care by keeping a distance. In terms of work, they’re enabling us to stay in touch with our coworkers and attend events pretty much anywhere in the world. 

So, what’s on the horizon for digital communication?

In the shorter-term, 5G is set to influence the way we communicate (digitally) at work. Eventually, 6G will transform digital communication to an even greater extent by providing a foundation for the Internet of Senses.

But before we delve into the two Gs, let’s take a look at what’s next for Zoom and its competitors. 

Remote conference call. Photo by @cwmonty vis Unsplash

The evolution of video-conferencing platforms

In the UK the number of daily active users of Zoom increased significantly in 2020, peaking at around 1.7 million near the end of November. Other platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Jitsi, are also experiencing unprecedented growth.

That’s why Nexudus, despite already providing modules that enable coworkers to meet and collaborate, decided to integrate with Jitsi and Zoom in 2020

Our Zoom integration lets coworking operators provide a meeting link to event attendees and allows coworking members to connect their Zoom accounts and request a unique Zoom link when placing bookings on the members portal. 

What’s more, members can participate in conversations on the Community Board remotely by using their unique Zoom meeting link.

Coworking members can also hop into always-on virtual rooms through Nexudus Virtual Rooms, a secure remote conference service powered by Jitsi. They don’t need to install software or create an account – just click or tap on the link and hey presto, they’re in. 

But aside from clever integrations that make our working lives easier, video-conferencing technology is on track to transcend the screen and blur the boundaries between the physical and virtual even more.

Talking to delegates at the 2020 Web Summit conference, CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, said the future of virtual meetings will be shaped by AI.

“We believe that video conferencing tools like Zoom can deliver a better experience than face-to-face meetings in the future. I’ll be able to shake hands with you and, if we speak different languages, with AI we’ll be able to understand each other.” – The Dematerialized Office, Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab

Man in VR headset. Photo by @hammerandtusk via Unsplash

Research into 6G and the Internet of Senses 

Move over 5G – there’s a new generation of technology on the horizon. Okay, perhaps we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on 5G for a moment. 

Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. It follows in the footsteps of 3G, which resulted in smartphones, and 4G, which facilitates faster browsing.

With so much activity taking place online these days, the internet is becoming increasingly congested. That’s where 5G comes in. 

5G offers even faster data download and upload speeds. According to 5G.co.uk, 5G is between around three and six times faster than 4G on average. In some cases, the difference is greater, and in the future 5G could be hundreds of times faster than 4G.

It also means more devices can access the internet at any given time. (5G can accommodate one million devices per square kilometre whereas 4G only supports 2,000). 

This is great news for IoT-driven workspaces that use technology to coordinate meeting room occupancy, use energy efficiently and keep track of how much coffee’s left in the machine.

5G will also facilitate more reliable virtual meetings. That means we’ll finally be able to say farewell to those dodgy connections that result in awkward online interactions and wasted “downtime”. 

Despite the fact that many of us are still getting our heads around 5G, research has already begun on the sixth generation of wireless technology. 

While the Internet of Things (IoT) was a big focus for 5G, 6G is very much preoccupied with the Internet of Senses. It aims to deliver multisensory experiences that mimic reality. 

If all goes to plan, touch, taste, smell, sight and temperature will converge to form our digital experience in the future. These new applications will be driven by a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and automation. 

The Internet of Senses will transform virtual meetings by making us feel as if we’ve been teleported into the same space as our coworkers. We’ll be able to chat, move around and even shake hands even if we’re part of a dispersed team.

Although it sounds like a distant dream (or to some, dystopia), it could all happen much sooner than we think. 

This report from Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab outlines a vision for the 2030 “dematerialised” workplace. 

The report is based upon survey data gathered from nearly 8,000 workers from around the globe classified as early adopters of Augmented or Virtual Reality (AR/VR), together with other innovative virtual workplace technologies. 

Those surveyed were asked about how they expect the nature of work to change, based on their knowledge and understanding of existing technology. 

Half of respondents said they want access to a workstation that makes them feel as if they’re really in the office, no matter where they choose to work from. 77 per cent of those surveyed think this approach will pave the way for more sustainability in businesses.

“Realistic immersion means going beyond video and sound, beyond AR and VR; it also means digitally communicating touch, taste, smell and the feeling of heat or cold.” – The Dematerialized Office, Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab

Finally, we can’t talk about digital communication without touching on security. 

If you’re managing a remote team, be sure to check out this article on what you can do to protect remote workers while safeguarding the digital integrity of your own business. 

For all the coworking operators out there, pop this article on your reading list. 

At a time when data privacy issues are predicted to skyrocket, it provides some food for thought on how to position your network security as a competitive advantage. 

Next up, we’ll be taking a look at what’s next for diversity and inclusion at work. 


Subscribe to receive our latest content and news directly to your inbox

Related stories

  • The Future of Work – What’s next for hygiene in workspaces?

    The Future of Work – What’s next for hygiene in workspaces?

    It will come as no surprise that an increased focus on office hygiene will play a massive role in the Future of Work. Here we take a look at the broader hygiene trends as well as the measures being taken to combat the spread of coronavirus.

  • The Future of Work – What’s next for sustainability in the workplace?

    The Future of Work – What’s next for sustainability in the workplace?

    The third focus article in our Future of Work series takes a look into sustainability, and how workspaces can make changes to reduce their impact on the environment. We offer a number of different tactics that can be taken, from small changes to more wide-ranging ones.

  • The Future of Work – What's next for employee health and wellbeing?

    The Future of Work – What's next for employee health and wellbeing?

    The second focus article in our future of work series takes a deeper look at the trends in employee health and wellbeing. This is an area that has seen growing attention over the past few years, and this very much looks set to continue into the future.

  • The Future of Work – What’s next for flexible working?

    The Future of Work – What’s next for flexible working?

    The first individual article in our future of work series begins with this week’s deep dive into the future of flexible working. We take a look at the different forms flexible working can take, and how it can mean much more than working remotely.

  • The Future of Work – Workplace trends we can expect to see more of throughout 2021

    The Future of Work – Workplace trends we can expect to see more of throughout 2021

    With today marking one year since the first coronavirus lockdown began in the UK, we are reflecting on the workplace trends and changes brought on by 2020 and how these are continuing to shape the future of work throughout 2021 and beyond.

  • Automating spaces: can coworking software be used in other types of buildings?

    Automating spaces: can coworking software be used in other types of buildings?

    As well as being intended to manage physical assets, coworking software was designed with flexibility in mind. Considering this, and the way that it has developed drastically over the past decade, Marc Navarro explores the benefits that other industries could gain from making use of coworking's automation technology.

  • 8 Tips for Coworking Spaces in Covid Times

    8 Tips for Coworking Spaces in Covid Times

    The pandemic has vastly changed the way in which coworking spaces and their communities typically operate. As perceptions of what makes an ideal coworking space have shifted, adaption has never been more important. What can spaces do to adjust to this new normal?

  • Is coworking still a profitable business?

    Is coworking still a profitable business?

    The impact of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures that are being implemented until a vaccine or cure is discovered are having an impact on many businesses from two angles. On one hand, many are experiencing a lack of income due to closure and on the other, they are having to adjust their business models to adapt to the new transitional phase that is already happening in many countries.

  • What role will small to medium cities play in the future of coworking?

    What role will small to medium cities play in the future of coworking?

    With big cities becoming increasingly expensive and technology enabling people to work remotely with ease, many people see small and medium cities and towns as the solution to the work/life balance conundrum. It’s likely that, in the next decade, we’ll witness a migration of skilled professionals from big cities to medium-size one. Will Covid-19 accelerate this trend?

  • ​Will local coworking be the end of commuting in cities?

    ​Will local coworking be the end of commuting in cities?

    Although the benefits are numerous, our collective experience has also given visibility to the problems of telecommuting. Under lockdown, many of us are having to juggle work with childcare and homeschooling. Even under normal circumstances, maintaining any semblance of work-life balance can be a challenge. Of course, when looking at the pros and cons of working from home it’s important to remember that the experience is different for everyone, and it only really works if the employer has a comprehensive remote working policy in place. Is there a middle ground?