While generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) significantly influenced cloud-based collaboration in 2023, it was not the sole factor defining the field and, as 2024 approaches, the excitement continues.

The year is set to be marked by AI’s sustained influence, the transformation of contact centre environments, and an intensified emphasis on customer experience. In an era of hybrid work, the necessity for fluid communication underscores a promising and equally intriguing development in the realm of cloud collaboration, says data and analytics group GlobalData.

Gregg Willsky, principal enterprise technology and services analyst at GlobalData, says: “To a large degree, 2024 is poised to build upon the developments that occurred in 2023.”

The company’s analysis finds the areas of AI, the contact centre, hybrid work, and mobility will each witness important new dynamics. AI will continue to be omnipresent on both cloud-based collaboration as well as contact centre platforms.

The concept of a “contact centre” will continue to yield to the broader concept of “customer experience”. Despite return-to-office edicts, there will remain a sizeable portion of workers operating from remote locations. The need will grow for collaboration solutions that enable workers to seamlessly communicate between mobile and landline devices, and pivot between calls and meetings.

“In recent years, dramatic winds of change have swept across cloud-based collaboration platforms,” says Willsky.

The Covid-19 pandemic drove the ascent of these platforms and competitors battled in successive rounds of feature enhancements. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and a “truce” was issued in the form of interoperability between rival platforms. Now, things have come full circle to a degree with competitors reaching deep into AI’s treasure trove and circulating AI features platform wide. Competition is sharp on other fronts as well.

“Vendors will need to uncover ways to distinguish their respective AI capabilities,” says Willsky. “In the contact centre space, vendors will target supervisors as aggressively as they have agents. To optimise office workspaces, vendors must double-down with a range of capabilities from design services to hardware to tools that capture utilisation data. Finally, vendors will have to stand ready to support workers as they switch between mobile and landline environments.”