Collaboration | News

Report: The Future of Collaboration Is Cross-Platform

By 2016, most collaborative technologies will be available across devices, from Web browsers to desktop software to native smart phone and tablet apps, according to a new report released by market research firm Gartner.

Gartner said that fragmentation among communications technologies has led to headaches for IT departments and difficulties in in using collaborative technologies in the workplace. But that will change over the next few years.

"In the past, collaboration on mobile devices meant interaction through wireless messaging and voice calls," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "Today, smartphones and tablets have larger screens, touch-based user interfaces (UIs), location support, broad network connectivity, enhanced cameras and video support, voice over IP (VoIP), and so on. Such features enable a range of applications — both traditional and new — for employees to better communicate, collaborate, socialize, create and consume content."

The report, "Mobile Collaboration Will Drive Innovation in Your Workplace," indicated that there are three driving factors behind this development:

  • The growth of BYOD;
  • The advent of cloud-based personal file sharing; and
  • The increasing availability of specialized mobile applications.

According to Gartner: "The BYOD trend is already affecting organizations and will continue to drive new mobile and client computing strategies in the coming years. Employees who bring their own consumer smartphones and tablets to work, initially ask for and receive support for corporate email, calendar and contacts. Before long, they begin to use other apps that make it easier to get their jobs done."

Cloud-based personal file sharing has proved especially important for tablet users, who may lack the ports needed to swap files via physical media. "People need to move files such as documents, audio, pictures and videos across their multiple mobile devices, PCs, network drives and other storage repositories," according to the report.

Finally, mobile applications are giving rise to tools designed for specialized job functions. "Mobile applications have transformed the internet from a web-centric to an app-centric model. Regardless of what technologies or architectures are used to build them, mobile apps have become the primary entry point for individuals to access and consume complex information and functionality," according to the report.

Gartner will discuss trends in collaborative computing at an upcoming conference in London Sept. 16–17. Further details about the conference, called the "Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit 2013," can be found on Gartner's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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