The last year has seen technology take the business world by storm, in particular for video conferencing and collaboration solutions. Not only have we seen flexible working initiatives become a compulsory option available to employees, but we’ve also experienced a greater demand for collaboration technologies driven by millennials and the desire for a greater work-life balance.

Greater Employee Freedom

The issue of flexible working was a topic which dominated much of 2015. Anywhere, anytime and on any device, quickly became a memorable slogan. We saw 14.1 million British workers wanting more flexibility at work, while the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) announced that more of us than ever were making longer commutes.

These factors, combined with the rise of the millennial generation, have led to a shift in attitudes towards the traditional office. The modern workforce now wants the ability to work in any location using their device of choice, and the industry has had to move quickly to support this development. We are now seeing more businesses follow the UK government’s flexible working initiative, and introduce benefits such as “flexitime” and “working from home.”

There is still a lot of work to be done however, and with only 6.2% of job adverts in 2015 mentioning flexible working, the industry needs to keep supporting the workforce and push for more flexibility.

Connected Cloud

The move to the cloud has improved flexibility and ease of access, eliminating the problem of having too much hardware in the office. The cloud means businesses can securely store documents and data, allowing it to be accessed remotely.

For video conferencing, the cloud has improved connectivity for millions of people. Offices can now connect with each other across the world, data can be stored and accessed on demand, and employees can collaborate on the move.

Interoperability across the Board

We found that only 51% of IT and operations professionals are satisfied with the interoperability of their existing video conferencing hardware. Inadequate interoperability slows down business processes and creates communication barriers between employees, suppliers and clients. As such, making video conferencing technology interoperable has been a major aim for the industry throughout the year. With so many smartphones, tablets and “phablets” now available, ensuring the workforce can connect across all these platforms is crucial.

With the release of Blue Jeans 3.0, we saw the Blue Jeans App undertake major developments to improve usability and accessibility, we also saw Blue Jeans take a proactive approach to the release of the iPad Pro and Smart Watch, ensuring that users could connect immediately with colleagues using other devices.

Creating an interoperable network across all of the major hardware and software platforms is crucial, and with devices being continually rolled out, the industry needs to make sure that it stays ahead of curve. Whether an employee is using a PC, Mac, Smartphone or Smart watch, they need to be able to know that they can stay connected.

2016 and beyond

The last 12 months have been exciting for video conferencing technologies and like nothing we have seen before. Thanks to a drive for better connectivity, interoperability and ease of access; businesses now have the capability to deal with the flexible working issue head on. Through the clever implementation of video conferencing solutions, as we look to the year ahead, businesses will now be able to offer the best service available and change the way organisations operate over the course of 2016 and beyond.