The technology tools that will make 2021 a year of progress.

What changes will 2021 bring for workplace communication?

As 2020 winds down, we’re picking up steam on a major initiative at ClearTech, one aimed at bringing clarity to businesses and other organizations that are trying to figure out to how to plan wisely, work productively, and spend prudently in a fast-changing workplace environment.

The name of this initiative: “How Technology Will Unite Us in the Distanced Future.”

The idea in a nutshell: No one can see the future, but we can plan for it by taking advantage of technology that’s available right now – technology that will enable you to respond to the changes you’re seeing today and give you the flexibility to accommodate whatever else is coming down the pike.

Some safe assumptions

Here’s what we know: Social distancing is going to be with us even after COVID-19 becomes more manageable. To varying degrees, working remotely, whether from home or satellite locations, will remain part of our new normal (because, let’s face it, we’re getting used it; a lot of people like it; and many businesses have shown that they can serve their clients just fine while incorporating it).

Two more things we know: All these changes require technology investments; and technology investments seldom come cheap.

New thinking for a new communication landscape

The purpose of “How Technology Will United Us in the Distanced Future” is to help you assess your communication technology options in a way that will enable you to satisfy your immediate needs and meet future ones. We’ll explore these issues via a number of vehicles, and present our findings to you in various channels ranging from live events to blogs, case studies and an upcoming ebook. To maximize the utility of these tools, we’re not only mining the talents and experience of ClearTech’s team of experts, we’re talking to some of the top minds at AV industry technology leaders like Crestron, LeGrand, Shure and Panasonic, as well as some of the premier thinkers in office design and architecture; visionaries who will design the workplaces of tomorrow.

In 2021 businesses will learn to empower a mix of home and in-office employees.
In 2021 businesses will learn to empower a mix of home and in-office employees.

Our goal is to offer practical assistance – information you can actually use. We don’t get down into the weeds. We won’t numb you with technical facts and figures (although we will have some specific product recommendations for you to consider). We’ll simply help you achieve the perspective necessary to approach potential solutions confidently, and to choose among them efficiently and cost-effectively. What’s most exciting for us is the prospect of sharing ideas that will both spark imagination and dispel confusion. You may be amazed to discover that in many respects our technology-enabled future is already here. The fact is, remote collaboration technologies aren’t new; COVID-19 has simply accelerated their proliferation and adoption (One technology expert we talked to said, “This was all going to happen anyway. We just got there faster than anyone imagined because COVID pulled the future forward by about eight years.”).

Hope for a better year ahead

After the year we’ve been though, everyone’s feeling daunted about what lies ahead. That’s only natural. But while COVID has brought urgency to the tasks before us, the technology that will get us through this period and take us to new levels of productivity has been evolving steadily over time. It’s been refined. It’s been proven. And now it’s being deployed.

Many of our customers, for example, are familiar with Crestron’s leadership in Unified Communication (UC) solutions and the streamlining of conference room operation, but they may well be astonished by the company’s innovations in enabling touch-free controls (ones that actually work in the real-world. Shure, the leader in microphone technology, has made remarkable advances in ensuring that remote meeting participants aren’t just heard, but understood. Those technological leaps will be of critical importance if we’re to get as much from video conferencing as we do from meeting face to face. Likewise, LeGrand has developed camera technology that make remote meetings much more immediate. It also offers a host of infrastructure solutions ensure the various technologies get along with one another.

Our advice for businesses planning their technology future: Take a deep breath. Right now you may see only confusion ahead but the tools to steady your ship are close at hand. And in the coming months, ClearTech will be there to help you navigate your way to a more efficient and profitable future.