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HCI Platform: collection:

Challenges with Improving Workplace Communication (2020)

Curators: Rory Anders, Jack Smith, and Katie Smrekar | University of Minnesota | June 2020

Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Ann Hill Duin
Collection Archivist: Sharon Caldwell

Closely-related Fabric Collection: Emerging Technologies for Business Communication (2019)

Businesses are becoming ever more comfortable with making use of innovative technologies to improve processes like intake and purchasing. Major corporations have adopted application suites offered by firms such as Google and Microsoft which have radically increased the pace of business communication, making use of internet connectivity and operating on the razor’s edge of interface utility. Other novel applications like Slack and Dropbox have demonstrated positive effects on productivity.

These kinds of innovations also present new challenges, including on an ethical level. Technologies are becoming more intrusive; one article from The Guardian discusses ways that workers are being monitored and controlled through implanted microchips, sensors, and GPS-enabled apps. Forays into automated time-tracking using worn and carried devices at certain companies like Amazon have raised significant questions about the utility and morality of introducing these technologies. Future communicators will need to consider these questions seriously to both improve their business processes and maintain ethical standards.

Wearable and carryable technologies offer many opportunities to enhance this already-transformed collaborative landscape. From nascent ventures into mixed reality to devices offering real-time tracking of products--and even workers-- these novel ways of accessing and distributing information on the move have numerous implications for the way we communicate at work.

Headset use is likely to skyrocket as that tool blends seamlessly with trends toward telecommuting and remote access. Augmented reality interfaces offer to enrich and expand the way that meetings can take place by increasing immersion in a given exchange and solidifying bonds across vast distances. In the software space, applications now able to be brought into any and all workplaces can potentially revolutionize the way that messages are conveyed; real-time translation technology has the potential to make interlingual communication radically simpler.
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