The Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Enterprise Communications
by Ross Sedgewick
The thought of software robots and artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace may make some knowledge workers nervous. But instead of seeing a threat of being “replaced”, workers should think of the new technologies as making them more productive, satisfied and effective in their job.
Why? AI can make several elements of daily communication and collaboration in the enterprise easier, and possibly solve some of those persistent nagging problems.
Here are ten scenarios to consider, all supported or enabled by the intersection of AI with team communications and collaboration:
1. Instead of attending training classes, reading through manuals or struggling on your own, imagine a virtual “helper” that leads, coaches and teaches you how to use new communication and collaboration tools. You can ask a question and get an answer, or be guided proactively as you continue to learn.
2. Annoying line interference or background interruptions can taint many a conference call or online web meeting experience. Imagine that your software tools can automatically detect the source of these problems, and either move your communications seamlessly to another network mode or filter and mute those disruptive background noises in real time so you can focus on the content of your exchange.
3. If you missed a meeting, instead of poring through endless meeting notes, transcriptions or minutes, imagine a tool that “learns” the topics and subject matter that you are most interested in and extracts and presents those relevant meeting highlights proactively for your review.
4. When you are trying to figure out who are the right people (skills, knowledge, experience, availability) across your organization to bring into a conference call or online meeting, imagine your software automatically selecting and recommending them for you, based on your business context and project needs.
5. Many companies are global – imagine meeting transcriptions not only automatically produced but also automatically translated into local languages, along with a self-generating to-do list and suggested task owners – all based on what the system learns about your project team and their work.
6. Imagine if a virtual team “assistant” can start and run every meeting on time, monitor and ensure that each participant is encouraged to contribute proportionately, and produces automated follow-up and reminders for team members to keep things on track (and to ensure workload is distributed fairly!)
7. They say a large percentage of communication is through facial or body language expression – imagine when working remotely, your software can discreetly monitor, detect and relate the sentiment of others on your team who may be thousands of miles away – so you can truly understand the people issues that affect the outcomes of your project team.
8. Through immersive capabilities like virtual reality and augmented reality, imagine that you can sit at the same table in the same room as the rest of your team, even if you are on a different continent! Again, the immediacy of being “virtually” there in person can offer a much greater personal connection with your team members.
9. We all have sat through meetings where topics are re-hashed unproductively or the team gets unnecessarily “stuck” on a topic or discussion point (but everyone is too polite to call it out)? Imagine if your team’s cognitive assistant monitors your teams’ communications in real time, making suggestions to improve team productivity and even redirecting attention to meeting goals and objectives when the team focus gets diverted or off-track.
10. When you are double booked, instead of missing an important meeting, imagine your own software bot “stand-in” who can attend, monitor, abstract the content and even notify you of a prioritized situation within another meeting where you might intervene (in person) at a critical moment.
AI and machine learning hold great potential to enhance enterprise communications and team collaboration – to make things more productive, more streamlined, easier to manage, and even smarter. At the same time, for users, we may generate a more creative and more engaging experience. But it is inspiring to know that the road ahead contains many exciting new possibilities to improve how we all communicate and collaborate across the enterprise.
About Ross Sedgewick
Digital Workplace and Team Collaboration Expert
Ross joined Unify in 2002 and has fulfilled several expert marketing roles in technologies for the digital workplace, team collaboration / customer contact solutions, and virtual team engagement. He currently handles content creation, messaging and insight development relating to the digital workplace. Ross is passionate about humanizing the intersection of people and technology, and understanding how users engage and interact. Prior to joining Unify, Ross has held marketing, product, channel and sales leadership positions at IBM Corporation, Delano Technologies, and Siemens Enterprise Communications.