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Digital collaboration and access control: a symbiosis that enables smart working

During 2019 the market dimension of the Unified Communication Collaboration (UCC) has exceeded 30 billion dollars and, according to the estimates made before the COVID-19 pandemic, the CAGR would have also had a significant growth, 8% between 2020 and 2026. The term UCC refers to a set of technologies, and a new approach that can make the difference in the intra and inter-business communication. The increase of this dimension and the compound annual growth rate has been accelerated by technological advancements, the increase of smart working, and the unexpected pandemic event. It is well known that the pandemic has accelerated growth, making digital collaboration tools essentials to run business activities. The growing spread of smartphones and the digital evolution of communication infrastructures and cloud (FTTH and 5G, virtualization, etc.) have made the digital experience a natural act, sparing complexity to the end-user and making the number of products and services wider available.


The UCC indicator provides a key insight of the status of the market. It is defined as the integration of many communication technologies with collaboration instruments, like the real-time videoconference, the e-mail, the instant messaging, the desktop sharing, the sharing of files and resources in cloud, and last but not least, the virtualization of traditional communication systems, like the classic PSTN telephone lines that are brought into the cloud thanks to Virtual-PBX and Voip. Thanks to a well-integrated UCC businesses can simplify the interaction methods between employees and clients, ensure a high level of interaction between the workforce globally, and, last but not least, enable remote working and smart working in a transparent way. All this is possible thanks to the digitalization of the collaboration instruments, through the so-called digital-twin (the digital copy of a real object, a virtual representation of quantities and states) that enables remote working and instant sharing of information between people.


In the last years, these technologies have become pervasive and have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with a survey made by McKinsey, 80% of workers love work from home, 41% say to be more productive than before, and 28% are just as productive. The benefits expressed by all the employees interviewed are summed up in more free time due to the less time spent commuting, and the greater flexibility in finding a balance between personal and professional life. Given the encouraging data, many organizations think of taking advantage of the situation by accessing new talents without particular geographical constraints and adopt a new culture related to smart working, to significantly cut real estate costs.

Now, a new question arises: do physical working spaces still have a role? If they do, what will be their function? What seems to be the most likely, as stated by Brodie Boland of McKinsey, is a future in which organizations will consider hybrid working, which could “create workspaces specifically designed to support types of interactions that cannot occur remotely”. Workspaces become spaces designed to facilitate human relationships, creativity, and physical collaboration, with a few shared desks and many rooms and environments designed to encourage the exchange of ideas. Technologies are therefore needed to manage in a smart and efficient way the allocation of spaces and resources, by making the physical space a continuum with digital collaboration tools. Physical and digital spaces must merge, the remote and in presence collaboration should be in symbiosis, seamless. This merging between physical and digital is called phygital and comes from the crasis of two English words: Physical and Digital.

Technologies that allow the access to physical spaces, like the access control ones, should be consistent with the Unified Communication Collaboration. In particular, “smart” access control is essential, as stated by Anna Testa, the Innovation and Digital Transformation Sales Specialist of Cisco, in the article “Cisco Spark and Sofia Locks: Unlocking the Value of Digital and Physical Collaboration“, as it allows the creation of a cyber-physic ecosystem of products and services integrated, that provides an access control service on-demand, secure and flexible, designed for customers with different use-cases.


All of these define therefore an important market trend, while physical security becomes a fundamental tool for the new management of space operations. To catch up with such a trend, technologies with a high level of compatibility and integrability with the digital world and the UCC solutions are needed. Real estate enters a new competitive phase in which the digital world is as important as the physical one. Not only the audience is increasing, but also business volumes, and business itself comes closer to customers and their needs.