Future Proofing the Workplace with AI

December 21, 2023

Workplace, Audio Visual

Artificial intelligence (AI) is supercharging advanced audiovisual (AV) technologies and collaboration tools, reinventing how work gets done. Early adopters are not just improving employee productivity. They are harnessing rapidly advancing technology to future-proof the workplace—and engage employees in exciting new ways wherever they work.

Tension Around Returning to the Office

The workplace is in flux. Remote work became the new normal during the height of pandemic. As the world moved on, employers shifted from remote to hybrid models. Fast forward to today, and many employers are issuing return-to-office mandates. Ninety percent that own office space expect to have implemented these mandates by the end of 2024.¹ Employers want employees back in the office because they believe that in-person work is critical for productivity, collaboration and innovation.

Yet employees disagree. They want something very different: the freedom and convenience of working where they want. Many are willing to leave employers that don’t allow remote or hybrid work. According to recruitment statistics, a full 64% of US workers say they would quit their job if they had to work in the office full-time.² This situation is more than a battle of wills between employers and employees. Given that 28% of organizations with return-to-office mandates are threatening to fire employees who don’t comply, this divide could complicate today’s talent crisis.³

The next generation of AV technologies and collaboration tools can bridge this divide between employers and employees. Employers can get the productivity they require, and employees can connect and engage, working smarter, not harder.

Pioneering companies like Microsoft and Crestron are supercharging collaboration hardware and software with AI. As part of its broad AI innovation agenda, Microsoft is integrating generative AI into its Microsoft Surface Hub collaboration device and Microsoft Teams collaboration platform. Microsoft Copilot is a generative AI personal assistant that works across Microsoft 365. Crestron’s advanced portfolio of intelligent video solutions uses automatic dynamic camera switching and voice-activated speaker tracking to make hybrid events equitable and engaging for all participants.

Why is AI a game changer here? Its continuous learning and personalization capabilities elevate collaboration, meeting experiences and personal productivity. It can address workplace challenges while making employees feel more engaged and inspired:

Advancing Collaboration

While the debate about ideal environments for collaboration has been going on since remote work blurred office norms in 2020, digital collaboration tools have clearly transformed how people in different locations work together. A full 85% of employees say these tools are one of the most essential areas to focus on to support how they work.4

Embedding AI into these tools takes employees’ experience to the next level. They can actively engage and co-create in new ways. Imagine a global team has a high-profile project for the CEO. When US team members get online in the morning, they can ask Microsoft Copilot for the highlights, blockers and action items from the Teams chat that occurred in their overnight. They can get up to speed fast and focus exactly where their colleagues in Europe and Asia need them.5

Ending Meeting Fatigue

Meetings are a dreaded productivity drain. Sixty-seven percent of US employees say excessive meetings make it impossible to do their best work.6 Employees point to “inefficient meetings” and “too many meetings” as among top distractions that lower productivity. 7 Remote and hybrid workers are especially prone to meeting fatigue.

AI-powered AV technologies and collaboration tools make meetings less transactional. Crestron’s intelligent video is revolutionizing meeting experiences. Smart cameras know who is speaking and focus on them. Audio is clear and attributed. It’s so seamless that people engage naturally like the technology isn’t even there. Multiple cameras bring the room to life for remote participants, so they feel connected, included and respected. This is the essence of meeting equity.

Boosting Personal Productivity

Employees are feeling burned out. With stress levels reaching record highs, over half of employees are looking for a new job.8 Stress and disillusionment impact everything from people’s mental and physical health and life expectancy to their career trajectory. There’s also a massive economic impact. Low employee engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion.9

Microsoft Copilot is an intuitive AI companion that can help employees avoid burnout. It can take on transactional tasks—everything from scheduling meetings and drafting and distributing meeting summaries to managing email. It also assists with creative tasks like developing PowerPoint presentations or data visualization in Excel. Free from time-consuming routine tasks, employees can focus on more fulfilling parts of their job.

Seeing the Big Picture to Get the Big Impact

Implementing AI-powered AV technologies and collaboration tools is not the cure-all. There is much more to get right than the technology. The human element is paramount.  AI is a copilot, not an autopilot. As such, strategic adoption must be a priority, and organizations should thoughtfully train current employees and new hires. Training should cover why AI is beneficial and offer ways that employees can apply it to their jobs today to make AI immediately useful. Training should also address the “Is AI a friend or foe?” question that is top-of-mind for employees.  

Addressing AI security issues is also critical. Organizations need assurance that the AI solutions they adopt will be grounded in ethical, socially responsible AI design. And with the recent Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence—it's more critical than ever to select AI solutions that protect both systems and employee and customer welfare.  

We work with the best partners in the industry like Microsoft and Crestron to deliver our solutions, and these companies are committed to the responsible use of AI. While their solutions exclude some of the risks associated with public AI tools, organizations should still have executive-level accountability for AI policy and governance frameworks.  

Realizing maximum impact from AI in the workplace also requires seamless integration. When these technologies reliably communicate with each other, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The goal? A unified ecosystem that supports productivity, connection and creativity.  

Looking ahead at how AI-powered AV technologies and collaboration tool

Total Integration: Invisible Technologies

AI will be natively integrated in and disappear into the technologies and tools that people use in the workplace. Expect the technology to become invisible, literally and figuratively. Facial and voice recognition will make it possible for employees to start meetings, share screens, prompt AI assistants and more without ever physically interacting with or seeing the technology. AI will become so invisible that average employees will never even think about it. Like breathing, it will just happen.

Physical Space: Meeting Space 2.0

Physical environments are an important part of the collaboration ecosystem that are sometimes overlooked. Yet as AI technologies reinvent how employees collaborate and become all-encompassing, the nature of the conference room must change too. The traditional rectangular conference table will become a relic of the past. Organizations will find themselves rethinking the conference room’s purpose, configuration and even its furniture as part of a broader reimagination of collaboration spaces.

Digital Twins: Advanced Avatars

The possibilities of virtual collaboration will expand as digital twins become more life-like—whether people join meetings on a flat screen or through a virtual environment like the metaverse. The uncanny valley of some of today’s humanoid avatars will fade away. Employees will be able to clone their voices and have them translated into languages they don’t speak so that avatars can communicate with colleagues around the world in their native languages.


Blaine Brown

Director, Machine Intelligence Innovation

Michael Finnerty

Program Manager, Innovation

This piece is published on the December’s edition of’s digital magazine, out on 12/22


1 Resume Builder, “ 90% of Companies Will Return to Office By the End of 2024 , October 13, 2023.

2 Morgan Smith, “ 64% of Workers Would Consider Quitting if Asked to Return to the Office Full Time,” April 28, 2022.

3 Resume Builder, “ 90% of Companies Will Return to Office By the End of 2024 ,” October 13, 2023.

4 Microsoft, “ Four Ways Leaders Can Empower People for How Work Gets Done ,” 2023.

5 Pete Daderko, “ The Next Wave of Copilot in Microsoft Teams ,” July 18, 2023.

6 Korn Ferry, “ Working or Wasting Time ,” November 13, 2019.

7 Microsoft, “ Will AI Fix Work ,” May 9, 2023.

8 Gallup, “ State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report ,” 2023.

9 Gallup, “ State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report ,” 2023.

10 Gensler, “ 10 Considerations for Transitioning Back to Work in a Hybrid Model ,” November 16, 2023

About Diversified

Diversified is a global leader in audiovisual and media innovation, recognized for designing and building the world’s most experiential environments. Our Emmy Award-winning team specializes in delivering solutions for the most complex, large-scale and immersive installations. Serving a global clientele that includes major media organizations and retailers, sports and live performance venues, corporate enterprises, and government agencies, Diversified partners with clients to create spaces that bring people together, and keep them coming back.

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