In the hybrid working model, AI becomes a tool to enhance human interactions; attending meetings on your mobile phone is possibly the next normal; and collaboration apps are the most monitored type of app globally as IT teams prioritise the availability and performance of meeting and communication tools. These are some key findings of Cisco's new Hybrid Work Index.
The index, which was launched last week and will be updated quarterly, uses a combinaton of third-party research and data from Cisco's collaboration, networking, and security platforms to examine how people’s habits and technology interactions have permanently reshaped work. Collaboration stands out in particular, simply because it has seen the greatest changes as people shifted from in-office to the hybrid work model.
One major area of growth is AI. Between July and September 2021, for instance, the index indicates a growth of over 200% in the usage of AI capabilities for virtual meeting enhancements such as noise removal and speech enhancement, automatic transcription and/or translation, polling, and even gesture recognition. Data from Cisco's WebEx platform indicates that the algorithms remove approximately 1 billion minutes of background noise every week.
Another area is mobile access to meetings. The index shows that since February 2020, the number of mobile devices used to access meetings has jumped from under 9% to almost 30%, which Cisco analysts attribute to more people working from anywhere - and which might also account for part of the increased use of AI enhancements.
Unsurprisingly, collaboration apps have gone to the top of the priority line as far as enterprise monitoring for availability and performance is concerned. From May 2020 to August 2021, the share of monitoring going to collaboration apps went from 4.5% to almost 43%, making these the most monitored type of apps globally.
The index does indicate, however, that usage of office-based networks has increased in the last few months, and mobile access to meetings appears to be plateauing at the same time as employees return to the office.