What happens when you combine artificial intelligence with unified communications and collaboration?

An increasing number of companies are finding that collaboration and overall efficiency improve, further streamlining communication and teamwork.

AI-powered collaboration can help boost the productivity value of existing and new collaborative applications and overcome some of the obstacles to the significantly improved business value that enterprises have sought in deploying these UCC (unified communications and collaboration) tools.

For instance, some UCC tools aren’t intuitively easy to use, which means employees need to be trained. That takes time and financial investment. AI can smooth over some of those adoption bumps.

AI can also aid in providing the contextual data that workgroups need as they collaborate, automating a process that too often bogs down individuals. It can also “unify” otherwise standalone collaboration applications so that users don’t have to toggle between tasks in order to find the right information or documents needed for meetings or other interactions.

But one of the most significant gains that companies find as they embrace AI-based collaboration is in the efficiency of group meetings. Is there anyone who doesn’t find it frustrating that it can take several minutes each time just to launch a meeting, by the time everyone launches their applications, gets their systems configured properly, and joins the meeting? That is time that everyone could put to better use.

Using AI, those meetings could be automatically launched, making sure everyone is connected at the scheduled start of the meeting, with every participant clearly identified (saving the time involved in introductions and figuring out who isn’t on the call).

And once the meeting gets going, the AI engine can ensure that the necessary and appropriate information is available to all the participants both at the start of the meeting and as the meeting proceeds. It can enable faster access to documents, video streams, project management tools, or other needed data. If needed, an AI assistant could transcribe the meeting and automatically distribute a recording afterward, along with action items.

There aren’t many companies that wouldn’t appreciate more efficient and productive meetings.

Choose your AI helper

AI-based collaboration can be implemented in several forms. Intelligent agents, for instance, provide a voice-based way to interact, enabling meeting launches or recording or allowing participants to easily access information both inside and outside the context of a meeting. Chat bots, whether via text or voice or both, can streamline interaction among individuals, applications, or data sources.

Robotic process automation introduces the ability to automate various tasks or activities. For instance, certain data-related events could trigger an automatic sharing of important information into a collaboration channel, alerting everyone in the workgroup simultaneously to something they might not otherwise have immediately noticed.

Improved meeting awareness can accomplish a number of objectives. The number of participants in physical meetings can be automatically tabulated, so facilities managers can monitor room utilization and adjust meeting spaces accordingly. The participants in a physical or virtual meeting could be automatically identified through facial recognition, and relevant information about each person provided to the group. That saves time spent trying to figure out who-is-who in a meeting environment.

Establishing AI’s value

This sounds good, but how do you sell the people at your company on investing in AI-based collaboration? Someone will insist on measurable ROI, and you need to be able to make your case. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Better and more efficient virtual meetings can reduce or eliminate the need for remotely based employees to come to a central location, saving on travel-related expenses.
  • Better collaboration and data delivery open the door to additional sales opportunities, as teams with greater data visibility can more quickly adjust and optimize sales strategies, pricing, and marketing campaigns.
  • If remote workers can be better supported thanks to enhanced collaboration, a company can reduce some of its real estate and facility costs.
  • Improved collaboration can shorten the timelines for projects by streamlining the delivery of the resources that team members need and reducing the time needed to complete each step of the project.
  • Better understanding of meeting space usage can save money by eliminating the costs connected with building additional space.

AI-based collaboration could be the next big advancement in this area. By bringing insight about people, context, and other valuable elements to collaboration, it has the potential to generate clear gains in productivity, employee engagement, and business value.