Moving from collaboration to meaningful connection. By Darrin Caddes
We can’t design solely for our own generational needs and expectations; instead, we have to consider the needs and expectations of millennials, gen Zers and the now-being-hatched generation alpha.
Have you ever wondered why people never put a photograph of their workspace on the desktop of their computer, or why they never use a spreadsheet as the home screen on their smartphone? Probably not. For most—if not all—of us, I’m sure those notions seem quite ridiculous. If you’re in the vast majority of people who personalize those screens, my guess is that you use images that evoke an emotional connection within you—images that either inspire you or give you the “warm and fuzzies” inside. Almost always, these personalized screens tend to carr y images of our vacations, hobbies, special interests, pets or family members, or perhaps just beauti-
ful imager y. In addition, the vast majority of the time, these images, regardless of the subject matter, are captured outdoors. So, how is all this relevant to the future of unified communications (UC) and the role that design will play in defining its future? Well, consider the relationship between the user and the device, as well as the role that devices play in facilitating human collaboration. If designers know where to look for them, there are clues that will enable us to move beyond the need for simple collaboration and delve into the potential for fostering deep, meaningful human connections. As I’m sure we’re all aware, enterprise environments are changing and
changing rapidly. As real-estate costs continue to increase globally, work environments are becoming more densely populated; with that, there are some unique challenges for the efficiency of work and the UC ecosystem. Noise management and personal privacy are issues that have to be considered both by the architects who design these spaces and by the designers of UC products and ser vices that ultimately help connect us all. Prevalent trends we’re seeing in the evolving enterprise environment include more open-plan workspaces, more hoteling spaces, fewer traditional large conference rooms, and more lounge and huddle spaces. This is all part of an effort to provide flexibility
Darrin Caddes has served as VP of Corporate Design for Poly (formerly Plantronics) since 2004. In that time, he has built a worldclass design team, and he’s responsible for industrial design, packaging design, ergonomics, user research and user experience. He has been the recipient of numerous international design and innovation awards, and he’s had his work on display at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Germany’s largest museum dedicated to modern art and design.
What the future holds for unified communications and collaboration is featured in our fall edition of IT/AV Report.