With the rollout of ChatGPT, Bing Chat and Bard, the business world is abuzz with talk about artificial intelligence (AI). Though it’s hard to nail down a universal definition of AI, or a description of how machine learning fits into the AI landscape, the undeniable truth is that the field of AI has been enhancing communication and collaboration for a very long time. Even without the benefit of cloud computing, work was being done in natural language processing and machine learning decades ago (recall IBM’s Watson, who beat the reigning “Jeopardy” champ in 2011). Siri broke new ground in 2011 when Apple introduced the first virtual assistant within the iPhone 4S.
We’ve come a long way since then. Today, AI is helping us in classrooms and businesses every day. It’s been a pivotal part of the retail and e-commerce revolution, allowing us to try on clothes without a dressing room; it’s allowed us to get movie recommendations based on what we’ve already watched; and it’s enabled the leap from performing many human-driven tasks to those that are fully automated. AI is even providing predictive insights and personalization on all fronts for employees and their employers.
From our point of view, using AI to enhance collaboration presents an exciting future for our vendors and their customers. While we’ve made use of AI on a consistent level, our partners and their products are now seeing broad advances in what they can offer.
Here are nine ways AI can improve your smart office with a focus on three huge bonuses AI-enhanced collaboration provides: virtual assistance, personalization, and extensive and instantaneous data analysis.
Who doesn’t want to be able to provide more engaging, user-friendly meetings? Using AI, background noise can be filtered out to improve voice clarity. Cameras can automatically adjust the framing of the video to ensure that all participants are visible, even if they move around a room. Using facial recognition, cameras will automatically adjust to supply the best possible video quality. In addition, the person speaking can be tracked and framed, and the system will even let you choose how tight you want the frame to be.
As with any livestream, be it a meeting or a presentation, use of AI technology makes it possible to provide automatic transcriptions so that participants can follow along or check on anything they might have missed.
In addition, AI can facilitate real-time translation of meetings for participants who speak different languages.
Displays and signage are now ubiquitous in business applications. You wouldn’t think to have a meeting without a display, would you? Hard to imagine. With advances in AI, interactive displays can recognize participants’ gestures and movements, creating a new level of collaboration experience.
Head-mounted displays usher in a brand-new era of corporate training opportunities. AI makes it possible to provide the most detailed virtual training for limitless industries and services, and the algorithms make it possible to adapt to the user’s actions for AR and VR (augmented and virtual reality), which can be used in real-time to detect and track objects.
Whiteboards had a renaissance when they became “smart.” But now, AI-powered whiteboards can not only save what participants write during a meeting, they can recognize handwriting and convert it into digital text, making it easier to share ideas.
As with videoconferencing, AI-powered cameras can be used in many situations to track participants and adjust the framing accordingly, creating a more dynamic and engaging collaboration experience. But there are many other uses. Think about corporate training meetings and how the use of cameras that are making use of new AI breakthroughs can up the game. AI-intelligent cameras can detect and count objects, or people, too, adding significant value to surveillance and security scenarios.
We’ve all come to rely on virtual assistance, whether it’s from Alexa or Cortana or Siri. Collaboration tools in the office can include virtual assistants that use AI to answer questions, supply information and perform tasks, allowing everyone to stay focused on the collaboration at hand.
AI can be used to analyze the user’s hearing and create a personalized audio profile that adjusts the audio output to compensate for any hearing deficiencies. And don’t forget, AI-powered tools can even change your voice!
Lighting is an often-neglected necessity when it comes to providing quality video images. AI-powered lighting systems can automatically adjust lighting based on occupancy, natural light and user preferences. Not only does this lead to significant energy savings, it also creates a more comfortable work environment.
AI is a powerful tool when it comes to data, especially when you have a lot of it. Data analysis for machines is pretty effortless. AI can be used to analyze large amounts of data collected from various sources, such as sensors, employee devices and software applications, to provide insights that may have otherwise been missed. Being able to actually use collected data is critical for decision-making and optimizing business processes.
Workers who are not in the office still need to uphold the standard of collaboration that an organization has established. This is made much easier when the tools employees use support that goal. Headsets are critical collaboration tools when you’re out of the office. Advances in headsets are happening daily. Noise cancellation, automatic equalization and voice recognition are all AI-enabled features that allow users to tailor their audio quality and experience in very personal ways. Some AI-powered headsets even include a virtual assistant that uses voice recognition to answer questions, share information and perform tasks, including hands-free control of a device.
We have already had the good fortune of using AI to help us with predictive equipment maintenance, preventing failures both remotely and in the office. Virtual assistants continue to lighten our loads. Employee well-being has been enhanced by AI’s ability to suggest anything from stand-up breaks to mindfulness exercises. Products continue to get smarter and more helpful. From lighting to scheduling to performance, by taking advantage of large language models, the new and improved AI brings with it some of the most exciting improvements we’ve seen.
TD SYNNEX CollabSolv has many partners that can bring you collaboration tools with the most up-to-date AI capabilities. Reach out to us if you’re confused about what’s right for you, or you’re interested in bringing your smart office to the next level.