InterviewsOutlook

Outlook 2022: “Remote and Hybrid Work Models Are Here to Stay”

Bob Aoun, the Regional Sales Director at Poly, says that many companies have already shifted to a combination of remote and office work

How was 2021 for the industry and your company?
The success and business continuity of almost all organizations in the past two years predominantly relied on their ability to effectively carry out business activities despite most of their employees working remotely. Many employers had to rapidly upgrade their digital services and collaborative communication tools which resulted in high demand for professional-grade devices that maintain productivity and guarantee secure access.

To be successful, this transformation relies on two elements; a shift in workplace culture or employee adoption and the availability of technology and tools to support this significant change.

Many large corporations and governmental institutions started investing heavily in video conferencing. For IT providers, the companies that were best prepared for this transformation achieved considerable success in 2021. Corporations that were able to fully satisfy the needs of their customers in terms of virtual meetings, remote working, and the highest standards of security solutions achieved a lot of growth and success.

What sort of opportunities did 2022 bring along?
The exceptional circumstances imposed by the pandemic challenges forced many organizations and companies to begin considering remote and hybrid work. In fact, in 2022, the business will never be the same again. Everything around us will be turning virtual gradually, especially the working environment.

In 2022, remote and hybrid work models will be fueling investments in video conferencing and secure devices for remote connections, and this is where our portfolio stands out. We create premium audio and video solutions to provide our clients with the best meeting experiences — anywhere, anytime, every time. Our headsets, video and audio-conferencing devices, desk phones, analytics software, and services are designed and engineered to connect people, wherever they work from, with incredible clarity.

Virtual meetings that provided the highest levels of image and sound became crucial to day-to-day business operations and discussions. Video conferencing devices and technology were even adopted by Presidents, leaders of State, and government officials as they too had to hold virtual meetings.

Did you face any challenges in 2021?
The main challenge we faced was to continue fulfilling the evolving needs of our customers. Large numbers of companies and various organizations started demanding our products and advanced technological solutions to support hybrid work. However, we see opportunity in every challenge! These last few months we managed to fulfill the needs of a wide scope of clients, working in various sectors and regions despite ongoing supply challenges, affecting the entire industry.

What were your key achievements in 2021?
We consider this year, 2021, to be quite fruitful. We succeeded in engaging more remote workers by harnessing the power of digital collaboration. Our advanced UC solutions enabled multiple organizations to adopt a hybrid working model. This is in addition to our advanced security solutions as well.

One of our moments of glory was when we supported the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, an inner London borough with royal status, to successfully meet its hybrid working goals for achieving equality. The Council aimed for a significant uplift in video collaboration technology adoption and achieved it by outfitting 41 of its rooms and meeting spaces with the plug-and-play Poly Studio premium USB video bar. Poly’s video conferencing solution now provides a consistent experience for workers, whether based in the council’s offices or working from home.

Another significant achievement was the launch of our updated Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows and Android combined with powerful Poly audio and video technologies. This new lineup of Poly Studio Kits offers premium audio and video for focus, small, medium, and large rooms, and features Poly DirectorAI technology.

This is in addition to several rewards and recognitions. The most recent was the CRN 2021 Tech Innovator Award, in the category of Collaboration – Devices, with The Poly Studio P Series, and IMCCA Industry Impact Award in the “Hardware & Peripherals That Support a New Way of Working” category; Poly DirectorAI and Noiseblock.

What promises does 2022 bring along?
Working conditions have changed during the past two years and there won’t be a return to the old methods of working. Both private and public corporations and institutions will focus on work transformation strategy, including all aspects of activities, meetings, employee engagements, and digital services. However, all these organizations need to ensure these internal and external exchanges remain safe and secure.

This means stringent evaluation of the services they currently provide and analyzing business practices across the board, to ensure they continue to fulfill the needs of clients, externally, and employees internally.

One of our major objectives is to perfectly equip hybrid workforces across the world. We aim to achieve total equality between those in the room and those who work remotely. Different companies all over the globe have started directing a large portion of their investments towards supporting hybrid and remote work.

Do you see opportunities in the regional markets with new markets opening up?
There are distinctive opportunities for our services and products to penetrate other markets in the region and all over the world as well. We offer state-of-the-art video and audio solutions that come with analytics software, and services.

In any meeting in the coming year, at least one participant will be virtually attending. As such, there is a considerable demand among government organizations and businesses across the globe to make sure all their services are easily and securely accessed online. We all expected this transition to be eventually take place. However, the pandemic forced all organizations to accelerate the steps to fully implement digitalization and business transformation.

Many companies have already shifted to a combination of remote and office work. Employees have started to prefer hybrid or flexible working conditions. According to our recent research, 80% of Europe and the Middle East employees prefer to spend some days working from home or remotely. Companies will have to fulfill these needs, first to retain their workers and secondly to preserve the health and safety of their team members by allowing fewer employees to work inside the offices.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2022?
Quite simply, those that enable employees to collaborate and engage virtually. We aim to own the future of working together and to provide our clients with the most advanced products and technologies that support their evolving needs. There is a large demand for virtual meetings enablement, using seamless, collaborative technologies, allowing people to connect and work from different locations, on an equal footing.

With our distinctive audio and video solutions, we offer the highest standards of virtual collaboration between employees situated at the offices and others who work remotely from different locations all over the world. These types of technologies including headsets, video and audio-conferencing solutions, advanced desk phones, and analytics software, all of which have become crucial elements to the success of any organization.

What will be your key focus areas for 2022?
We plan to continue building strong operating foundations that make it easy to do business with our company. Our focus would be our clients, how to get closer to them, and fulfill all their needs through our advanced and updated solutions and technologies. These include the best software and all types of hardware that support digital transformation, hybrid work, and virtual collaboration.

What milestones have you set for 2022?
We consider the success of our customers to be our success. Therefore, our main milestone is to continue expanding in new markets and offer our distinctive product and solutions to more customers in various regions of the globe. We aim to support hybrid workforces across the world and enable more employees who work remotely to engage effectively and equally with those who operate from the offices. We plan to keep on supporting the work transformation strategies of our clients and provide them with all the support required to continue flourishing and achieve all their business objectives.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2022?
In various markets around the globe, there is an increasing demand for the products and solutions we offer. Video conferencing, virtual meetings, digitalization, and secure solutions are primordial for daily business activities and even governmental bodies of the highest levels.

Organizations that are not planning to invest in these areas will surely experience lower productivity within their workforce and lower customer satisfaction. Therefore, we plan to expand in other markets to enable clients to benefit from our top-notch products and solutions. We also aim, on the other hand, to continue developing and enriching our portfolio to exceed our clients’ expectations and provide them with even more support and distinctive features.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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