AI collaboration
are changing
remote work

Author: Megan Williams

How we work together has been completely turned upside down in recent years—and collaboration solutions are rising to meet the challenge.

While remote work isn't new, the COVID-19 pandemic threw many organizations into an entirely new work dynamic, forcing their shift toward firm-wide remote collaboration.  For example, Microsoft moved to organization-wide remote work which resulted in its network of workers becoming more siloed, with a decline in connections between disparate parts of the organization. Overall, these changes likely made it harder for employees to acquire and share new information across their network.

But with remote work quickly becoming a standard, artificial intelligence (AI) can help organizations on their journey toward unified communications (UC).

AI collaboration platforms are amazing... and limited 

AI is very good at automating processes, analyzing large amounts of data, and supporting decision-making. AI can help remote workers have better-informed conversations with customers and coworkers, support real-time language translation across global teams, and update group calendars while in virtual meetings.

But AI collaboration solutions and platforms aren't well-positioned to replace human workers. This is largely because AI still isn't very good at some tasks. Improvement based on experience is exactly what AI is good at. It's the ability to continuously learn and adapt on the fly that AI struggles with.  

AI collaboration solutions support a future of remote teamwork

As remote workers struggle with connecting less in-person, AI solutions and collaboration platforms are helping bridge gaps, ease information sharing, and pick up the repetitive and simple tasks that drag down efficient collaboration.

Here are a few examples:

Making communication more natural

MindMeld is an AI solution and collaboration platform that allows workers to interact with chat and voice assistants in a more natural way. This improves ease of use and opens the door to new cognitive capabilities. Users can exercise natural voice commands, helping create an industry-specific experience.

Solving the content monitoring and moderation challenge

Many organizations struggle with offensive, inappropriate or even just off-brand content—and not just on social media platforms. AI-enabled enterprise messaging systems and apps are positioned to step in to provide ongoing monitoring of the content and messages that remote teams share. These solutions can also monitor for inappropriate images and comments that violate guidelines and regulations, supporting professional communication across disparate remote environments.

Fixing meeting frustrations

Google assistant is a longstanding player in the virtual assistant environment, and AI upgrades to collaboration platforms are positioned to be a boon to employee coordination. Google’s support of contextual natural language queries means that an employee can simply say "Hey Google, join my next meeting" to jump on a call and even email other attendees to tell them they're running late.

Collaboration solutions outside the company

The benefits of AI are likely to increase as communication platforms continue to leverage data. Currently, customer service reps are able to navigate knowledge bases using tools such as One Talk's Side View app, which integrates with other products like Salesforce, Google, or Microsoft, increasing efficiency and delighting customers who need support.  Additionally, RingCentral with Verizon connects a workforce and empowers an organization with all-in-one business communications on any device. The Cisco WebEx Suite is a single-platform communications and collaboration solution that helps empower distributed workforces, improve customer experiences and reduce IT complexity.

All of these platforms create a foundation for the continued advancement of AI-powered solutions that foster collaboration with clients. For example, in the real estate industry, AI tools like Home Vision AR allow agents, builders, clients, and others to use augmented and virtual reality to bring the customer's dream home to life.

Implementing remote AI technology is a process

Companies that haven't yet leveraged AI collaboration solutions have a world of potential in front of them—from gains in efficiency to an improved employee experience. But it is critical to identify why you're implementing such solutions and what benefits you expect to realize. This can help you identify low-hanging opportunities and skip investing in AI for AI's sake. The key is to find the right balance between AI and human collaboration.

Take time to understand what information will be shared (e.g. knowledge base content, patient information or marketing data) and be ready to train and retrain employees on correct and compliant use, and to build in the right processes and gather the appropriate consent for any use of data, including in AI. From the beginning, keep all stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, especially the team members who will be using the solution you're considering.

Most importantly, make room for feedback, monitoring metrics and incremental improvements in how you use your chosen collaboration platforms. This is especially true when your users are remote and might require specialized support because they don't have the ability to simply pop in at a coworker's desk for in-person guidance.

AI might be of-the-moment, but you will need time to figure out what best aligns with your organizational goals. Explore how you can start using AI collaboration solutions to step into the future of work and create a better customer and employee experience.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.