The last two years have not only given the digital transformation of companies a considerable boost, but have also advanced internal communications in many places. In order to connect decentralized teams and mobile workers quickly and securely, new communication channels need to be deployed. Here, DSGVO-compliant business messengers are clearly on the march. We have identified and elaborated six trends in business messaging for the year 2022.
Trend 1: Push-to-Talk – from voice message to walkie-talkie in the messenger
Direct voice communication via push-to-talk, which was previously only possible via digital radio, is now becoming feasible with the help of a business messenger. Additional devices such as walkie-talkies are supplemented by business smartphones. Push-to-talk allows direct voice exchange, which not only makes communication more efficient, but also makes it immensely easier to interpret. At the same time, this new ease of use simplifies receiving and sending audio messages. Operational teams in particular – for example in the areas of public safety, rescue services, construction, logistics, delivery services and tourism – benefit from a push-to-talk function in a messenger. In addition to audio recordings, images and documents can also be exchanged in the same communication channel, for example in an emergency group chat about an observation. All communications relating to an incident can be stored in the organization’s archive and retrieved at any time, which significantly simplifies the creation of reports and evaluations, among other things.
Trend 2: Implementing the social intranet idea in business messaging
Messengers as social intranets not only encourage the vision of including all employees in internal communications, but also accelerate information distribution and take feedback cycles to a new level. Attention messages are used to share company news, both for 1:1 and group chats as well as broadcasts. Color-coded messages are visible to all users of a chat. An additional overview allows chat histories to be filtered by message type, and thus also by attention messages, and to quickly find the information they are looking for. At the same time, employees can interact with the content by “commenting” on it using emoticons. The goal is to activate and drive team collaboration across the entire workforce – from mobile workers to desk employees, but also from trainees to C-level managers – and guarantee best possible interactions.
Trend 3: New user interfaces and smart devices for messengers
It’s not just the messenger itself that is becoming increasingly sophisticated, but also the end devices. In addition to smartphones, tablets and the likewise, which have long since established themselves as the standard for messaging apps, smart devices with new user interfaces will conquer the market. Smartwatches, for example, have undergone rapid technical development in recent years and are in widespread use. They are lightweight, robust and particularly well-suited for mobile forces, such as police officers and rescue workers. But data glasses, so-called smartglasses, are also already in the starting blocks. In combination with messenger apps, they can offer remarkable benefits. For example, they enable doctors to easily view patient records with colleagues during an examination and communicate at the same time – while keeping both hands free. Smartglasses also help logistics staff locate stored goods and exchange information about transport. It is conceivable that the position of the goods to be loaded – including directions in the case of a larger warehouse – can be called up and colleagues called in for support while the employee is on the move with the forklift truck. In this way, new smart devices make it easier and faster to implement use cases.
Trend 4: Even more sophisticated messenger functions for more productivity
Sending documents, photos and videos, sharing locations and making VoIP and video calls – all this is part of the standard repertoire of a good business messenger. Yet the peak in terms of innovative features is far from reached. Messaging apps are integrating more and more functionalities to cover all use cases across industries and make information sharing even easier:
#1 Alerts to ensure direct emergency communication and coordination using acknowledgement options and alert reports;
#2 Surveys to easily create polls and simplify scheduling;
#3 Image processing to anonymize data and make faces unrecognizable.
In 2022, the range of functions will increase even further and individual functions will become more sophisticated – and this will be tailored to industries such as emergency services, healthcare, logistics, retail, manufacturing and construction.
Trend 5: Georeferencing in Messenger – live location functions reach new level
Sharing locations in a messenger is a popular feature – especially among mobile workers. It’s ideal for communicating current location, providing directions, and arranging meeting points. However, in everyday business, there are often use cases where users’ locations change dynamically and knowing real-time or live locations can be of great importance to colleagues and business partners. Typical scenarios include operations by public order officers, police and emergency services, production workers, transportation and delivery service rides. Here, there will be next levels of innovation to further improve geo-referenced coordination. Advanced map applications through to the provision of mission-relevant location information by artificial intelligence are conceivable.
Trend 6: Messenger with maximum data sovereignty and simultaneous networking
Data sovereignty and security are two issues that are becoming increasingly important for businesses. In sync with the continuously evolving messenger functionalities and technical possibilities, the threat of cyberattacks is also growing. Federated servers increase resilience to hacker attacks – after all, in the worst case, only the attacked server fails. Federation is also a significant step into the future to improve data sovereignty. In addition to secure containers on the end device, functions for holistic data and access management are becoming increasingly relevant for security. Further strengthening encryption algorithms for communications and establishing additional security functions are also among the key developments in business messaging. Compliance and audit-proof archiving will become a significant issue for all companies and industries in 2022. This is because it is now clear that messaging is part of business communication and, as such, is covered by the documentation requirements under trade, professional and data protection law. Companies can easily implement their compliance and data protection requirements with leading business messengers – a key advantage over American cloud solutions.
The future is ready to come
Professional communication will continue to change. New technologies are accompanying the change and fueling it. Today, business messengers already make device-, time-, and location-independent collaboration possible within teams and between multiple teams – even from other organizations. But their potential is far from being fully exploited, as the expected trends make clear. Business messaging is ready for the future.
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