Why we invest in remote working tools – the future of work
With the exponential growth of remote working and a huge shift in focus from 9 to 5 time management to productivity and effectivity, the greatest technological innovations in the digital world right now and in the foreseeable future will be in the workplace. – Carl Wallace . CEO Digital HQ
It is for this reason that Digital HQ has made its largest investment thus far in developing technology for the workplace – ydox – the file management and team collaboration platform, fully funded and owned by Digital HQ released it’s first version to the market mid 2018. Digital HQ also acquired 30% of Relimail, an email exchange service innovating in a space dominated by Google and Microsoft for years, in desperate need of change. Relimail aims to change the way we work with mail with a strong focus on simplification, very much in line with the vision of ydox, a perfect match for the group.
“As remote working tools become preferable over face-to-face interactions, their development will dictate how we work in the future. Work, file management, file collaboration, conference calling, chat, automated work flows and task management tools, these are all the kinds of technologies that are allowing people to work remotely while getting more out of it. Increased productivity, effectivity, morals, teamwork, transparency and security allows companies to work better. “
The past 20 years has seen some of the greatest inventions and change in the workplace. From landline telephone calls, flights for long distance meetings and letters for fax and mail by post to smart devices that can handle voice and face calls, long distance meetings, email and instant messaging right in the palm of your hand.
Here are the reasons why we invest in remote work technology and will keep doing so in the future.
1. Remote tools are becoming the norm, even among non-remote staff
Our research from developing ydox shows we will soon reach a point where remote platforms become preferable to face-to-face communication, because of the various additional capabilities and opportunities they unlock. As a result, it is suggested that we’re quickly approaching a future where remote working tools are the standard, whether your colleagues are sitting right next to you, or on the other side of the planet. Quick discussions can take place from one desk to another without wasting time in between offices and getting caught up in unnecessary office gossip.
We are still some time away from this reality as the software is way ahead of the hardware in this game and for this future to become real, we need the best hardware to make our software dreams come true. When this happens, collaboration tools will be entirely virtual, putting all stakeholders, people and work itself, from various locations in the same room.
2. Remote workers will increase productivity & work even more remotely
Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are great for sending quick messages or making minor changes to existing projects, but few remote workers are able to get the bulk of their day’s tasks completed using a truly mobile device. There is a place for mobile and a place for laptops/desktops. I don’t believe the one replaces the other. Certain smaller remote tasks are perfect for mobile devices but the heavy lifting is still done on devices with larger screens, creating plenty space for innovation both on mobile and cloud desktop platforms.
Current video conferencing tools are ok for general discussions but the moment you need to work, enter significant amounts of information or co-work on office files the technology is way behind.
With ydox we are solving these issues with mobile first tools for mobile specific tasks and desktop first tools for desktop specific tasks. The tools in ydox and the third party platforms it integrates with should enable teams to achieve more remotely than they could do in the same room.
3. Out with Videoconferencing, in with Virtual Reality Conferencing
The past decade has seen significant strides in videoconference technology, yet the tools currently on the market still have their limitations. In order to reach a point where remote working tools are just as, if not more effective, than in-person communication, videoconferencing will need to feel a lot more natural than it does today.
If you think about videoconferencing today, typically the eye contact doesn’t really work well, the person is never at the right angle, they’re never the right size. The experience is awkward and it is the root cause for its lack of success.
The future of real-time remote communications is in augmented and virtual reality. For example, in 2016, Microsoft Research announced that it was experimenting with a product called Holoportation, which combined the Hololense VR goggles with 3D cameras to beam life-sized holograms of other people or objects in real time.
The idea was that you would see the person, life-sized, as if they were standing next to you, in a way that would be more compelling than video conferencing. Taking this idea one step further, there will come a time when projects are conceived, designed, and prototyped entirely within this virtual world, making the digital platform preferable to in-person communication.
Topping this would be recordings of every meeting and every word spoken documented. The one big problem we see today is the lack of proof of what was said in meetings where agreements were not concluded. Transparency and accountability will be some of the great fruits of this new development.
4. Un-unified communications
Perhaps the most common buzzword within the remote collaboration space of the past decade was “unified communications,” a fancy way of saying a single platform for all communication types.
The idea of doing all things in one place may have appealed to the first generation to embrace remote work, but as the practice expands to a wider working population, service providers are seeing demand for more specialised tools, rather than fewer, more generalised ones.
If you think about a typical developer, they will use Google Docs for documentation, Slack for messaging, GitHub for code storage, etc, and these things were never designed to talk to each other.
Rather than attempting to design an all-in-one remote collaboration platform, the industry will continue to fracture.
“We’re concentrated on making the communication piece really good,” Cal Henderson, the CTO and cofounder of Slack, told Fast Company at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon in early November. “We’re never going to make the best possible word processor or the best possible wiki or the best possible voice and video calls or the best possible file storage, because for different use cases and different business customers, ‘the best’ has different meanings.”
Instead, Henderson believes the number of software categories is only going to continue to increase in the coming years, with more niche products designed for more specific industries and roles.
From a cost perspective running 10 various platforms to get the job done costs a fortune per employee, ad a team of 100 and you are spending way too much just to get people working together.
Our investment in ydox is a result of our strong belief that we can bring the critical elements of work together into one platform and make it work really really well. Of course we won’t try and stuff it with every tool, but rather integrate with all the tools you use so at least everything you do could talk to one another even if ydox is the middle point for this joint discussion.
5. AI Will Help Manage Remote Staff
With less human oversight, Henderson believes the growing remote workforce will gradually begin taking direction from artificial intelligence tools. Since remote workers are more removed from management, they aren’t able to get the same level of instant feedback, particularly when it comes to prioritising their workload. We have this problem in our business all the time, either with creatives working remotely or myself not being around the office, but still the job needs to continue at full speed, no time to hesitate and no time to make the wrong decisions.
It is now more clear than ever that the workplace is changing drastically. It is a combination of tools that are more available now, and the need to do things differently due to the way our personal lives have evolved, that we are seeing this monumental shift in the way people work. In terms of providing the technology that would drive this shift, this is where we see the real value. Most of our current and future investments will be in this sector as we strive to build an ecosystem of technology leading the movement of the new workplace to ultimately enable companies to work better.
Learn more about what ydox can do for the productivity of your team – www.ydox.net