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Hybrid working: digital communication and collaboration
Hybrid working: digital communication and collaboration

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10 The future of communication and collaboration

The tools and understanding of hybrid and virtual communication and collaboration have accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we adapted quickly and are becoming more comfortable with both the technology and the behaviours required for new ways of working, the technology is still rapidly evolving.

The term ‘metaverse’ is now fairly well known, in part due to Facebook relaunching to reflect the many products it owns under the corporate name Meta and to reflect what the next version of the internet could be. Mark Zuckerberg says in his ‘Founder’s letter, 2021’:

‘We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn’t the end of the line.

‘The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.

‘The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.

‘In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today. We made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .’

(Meta, 2021)

Already organisations and individuals are experimenting with new ways of interacting, and meetings are being held using technology to enable mixed-reality environments. While some of the technology is not new, the development of the software for these realities is opening new possibilities. The image below is reproduced from the article ‘AR vs. VR vs. MR: differences, similarities and manufacturing uses’ (TechTarget, 2020) and provides a simple definition of the realities you might need to start to engage with.

Described image
Figure 27 Augmented, virtual and mixed reality

Activity 30 What might the future of communication and collaboration in HEIs look like?

Timing: 20 minutes

Watch the video Online conferences, remote work, virtual events: are shared virtual experiences the future? by John Koetsier (2021):

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Then browse the articles below and do your own research on the internet. How do you feel about these tools and approaches to communication and collaboration? Could meetings become something of the past?