InterConnect: The intelligent workplace of the future

By | 3 minute read | March 22, 2017

leadspace image for IBM InterConnect 2017

IBM’s Brian Dalgetty, Offering Executive for Watson IoT welcomed Brett Lancaster, Ricoh’s Global Sales Director for Managed Information Services and Harman International’s Kevin Hague, VP Technology Strategy to join him on the stage. The panel came together to discuss the intelligent workplace of the future, how intelligent agents can help us do our work better, and what the workplace of the future will be like to work in.

Introducing the intelligent workplace of the future

Brian Dalgetty opened the session talking about how the current workplace is evolving. Technology has been a keen enabled of the home worker category which has consistently increased over the last 25 years sitting at 13.9% of the workforce in 2014. The flip side of the move towards globalisation has been the rise of the ‘super commuter’, traveling over 180 miles to work and forming 4-7% of the workforce.

Most of us are familiar with conference calls – their frequency grows yearly, but 90% of the content that they generate is lost, even when someone takes meeting notes and circulates them. Calls are more conducive to sharing by voice, they’re not an enabler of visual communicators, or fields that rely heavily on visual interaction, which tends to be the more creative elements within organisations. At the executive level, upwards of half a week is spent in meetings – the equivalent of a full day a week and with 34% of that time wasted, that’s at a cost of $37bn lost in the US each year. The need to gather that data, provide insight from it, and increase meeting productivity could not be clearer. This is where partnerships such as IBM’s and Ricoh’s play.

The vital role of partnerships

Kevin Hague took up the discussion, talking about the role of partnerships in realising the intelligent workplace of the future. Technology will be needed in many spheres from hardware for employees to interact with, audio and visual equipment to interface with, data capture and processing to enable interaction and provide insight. In fact, technology, such as Ricoh’s interactive white board will become a meeting participant. Ricoh’s Meeting Manager Solution captures attendees. Using Watson’s speech to text and language translation capabilities, means that employees can talk their own language which is transcribed on the whiteboard into another language – enabler more natural communication understood by many.

That 90% off lost meeting data is resolved too. Transcription capabilities capture meeting content as it happens and when a meeting concludes, a meeting performance analyser can track attendance, actions and follow-ups. The new workplace certainly looks more productive with these capabilities. With Watson’s analytic capabilities, there’s more insight to be gained, mining all that meeting data. This takes the workplace from mere capture, to meaningful insights that can be acted upon.

Better enabled knowledge workers

Capturing this data is key. With more employees working remotely, having access to that information anywhere is crucial. The chance for a ‘water cooler’ chat is ruled out, so knowledge workers need other methods to find information quickly. It’s a great counter to knowledge loss when employees move to another company. Rather than losing all of their knowledge, much of it is already retained and codified and can be used.

The future intelligent workplace

Brian Dalgetty brought the session to a close summarising the need for partnerships to realise the intelligent workplace of the future. That enablement of interaction for an increasingly remote workforce beyond voice alone would be key to saving some of the significant losses of time and productivity currently experienced. You can find out more about the 10 Ways Cognitive is Shaping the Future of Buildings, or sign up to the monthly IoT Sense newsletter for all the latest thoughts and opinions.