This Friday, December 15th, marks the long-awaited premiere of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. While millions will be rushing to see the latest installment, what many people don’t realize is how much of the technology we see on the Millennium Falcon or Starkiller Base is taking shape in a galaxy not all that far away. The science fiction of Star Wars is a natural extension of the tools many of us use in the workplace today. Droids? Holograms? You might know them better as bots or video chat. The roots of Star Wars are found in the core components of unified communications (UC).
Before you hit the theaters, we wanted to highlight how Star Wars is foreshadowing the future of communication and collaboration. Check out a few examples below:
Video conferencing upends communication dynamics. One of the earliest examples of video enabling team collaboration in the franchise is simultaneously one of the most iconic moments: Princess Leia’s hologram message to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode IV: A New Hope. This video message not only sets up the film’s arc, but demonstrates the power of leveraging video to effectively engage your audience – which in the workplace, is your co-workers. Furthermore, video conferencing allows remote workers to participate and maximize productivity – making it an important part of any communication stack.
It is critical, however, that these video capabilities are reliable, well integrated and user-friendly. This is something that even Leia’s message could have benefited from. A seamless user experience may have caused a lot less strife and saved R2D2 the time-consuming task of transferring the hologram across the galaxy.
Geographical location will become less of a team-building constraint. From the desert planet of Tatooine to the swamps of Dagobah, the characters in Star Wars literally connect from lightyears away. This creates incredibly diverse and dynamic teams but also quite an intense commute. The technology support seen in Star Wars demonstrates a shift towards a mobile workforce – geographical location becomes less and less of a constraint. Regardless of how an employee commutes, organizations that follow this lead and offer flexible, remote work policies will continue to foster an engaged and happy workforce.
About 70 percent of workers between the ages of 16 and 44 would “like to be more mobile at work.” – indicating a shift away from the traditional workplace. Furthermore, according to our Breaking Barriers 2020 report, 83 percent of workers believe they don’t need to be in an office to be productive. Remote work policies not only allow companies to hire and retain the best talent from anywhere, but they also allow employees to cut down on commuting and to produce their best work in the environment that suits them as individuals.
Artificial intelligence will revolutionize the enterprise. AI and virtual assistance tools have quickly found a place in the personal lives of consumers, and they will soon find their way into the workplace, as well. Remember R2D2 helping Luke Skywalker pilot an X-Wing fighter or C3PO’s continued translation assistance between human and machine? These droids demonstrate the role artificial intelligence will play in the Future of Work. With Amazon’s recent announcement of Alexa for Business, AI’s role to increase efficiency by automatizing management and administration tasks in the enterprise environment is becoming a growing reality. As AI continues to find a home in the digital workplace, we will see the real-world droids take on the indispensable sidekick role in supporting communication and enabling personalized workflows for the next generation of employees.
Unified communications allow for better informed decision making, more efficient operations, and increased engagement. These tools should be optimized for the mobile workforce – both in user interface and functionality. Like the force for the Jedi, UC unifies and brings balance to the enterprise.
May the Fuze be with you!