As many companies are now taking a remote-first approach to work, demand for innovative new technologies that will facilitate and enable remote collaboration and dynamic teamwork is on the rise. The innovation sector is sure to respond, and we fully expect to see a range of new remote tools emerging over the coming years.

But beyond upgrades to existing collaborative tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, what are some of the bigger technological innovations that we might see changing the way remote teams work over the coming years?

Let’s look at five big technological innovations that are already in the pipeline that could have a major impact on remote working in the next 12-24 months. Some are mundane, and some are difficult to imagine, even though they are now a possibility.



This might seem like a pretty mundane technological innovation, but the rollout of the 5G is one of those invisible technologies that is making remote work easier. It is up to 100 times faster than 4G and allows you to work productively without being tied to the wired network. This is more important than ever as companies rely on CPU-intensive video conferencing and collaborative tools.


Holographic Remote Meetings

How many times have you watched a movie in which the international leaders of a big government or criminal organization appear as though they are all sitting around the same table, but they are all holograms projected into the meeting room? This technological innovation may not be far off.

Today, video conferencing meetings via platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet are standard in most workplaces. But the company IMVERSE has now developed a way to display holographic versions of meeting participants that can be viewed via 3D goggles.

We could be seeing this technology sooner than we think since it uses technology already widely available. Your camera scans you without the need for a green screen, and you can view the holograms with a 3D headset. IMVERSE is partnering with Microsoft, HTV, Logitech, and Oracle.

Other companies developing similar technology include Looking Glass Factory and Cisco. Arthur is similar but focuses on allowing participants to conduct their meetings in a virtual world. No need to head to an innovation lab when you can take your team to a virtual lab.


Driverless Deliveries

While most of us now work in a paper-free environment, exchanging physical products is still one of the biggest challenges for many remote teams. While you might be able to work collaboratively on 3D models and virtual representations, at some point, teams are going to want the real-world physical prototype in their hands.

Driverless deliveries may be a way to minimize the cost and time of working on physical products as a remote team, at least when teams are based within the same region. While several companies are experimenting with autonomous cars, Nuro is working with self-driving cars specifically for deliveries.

Drone technology may also emerge as a more commonly used tool for delivery, once issues around flight paths and safety can be resolved.


Work Pods

Many businesses are now cutting down on office space since so many of their employees work remotely much of the time. When they do come into the office, hotdesking and similar solutions mean that less space is needed. But not everyone has a decent space to work within their home.

Some remote workers look to coworking spaces as an appropriate place to work, and they are also a favorite with entrepreneurs and digital nomads. These spaces are rising to the challenge and investing in innovation. We have previously written about how we can expect AI to transform coworking spaces.

But what about remote workers who can’t come into the office and aren’t close to coworking spaces? A company called Jupe is creating futuristic glamping-style pods for many different situations, including work. For employers that need to ensure their talent has a productive space while working remotely, this could be an affordable and realistic solution.

Nissan has unveiled a new concept vehicle that includes a mobile office that allows the driver to pull over and start working wherever they are. The vehicle also has leisure options for unwinding, such as a sun lounger on the roof.

Working in a similar space, E-Pallet is developing mobile offices. Think of a big, open-spaced container with windows down one side converted into a bus. This could be a productive way for teams to travel long distances, though I’m waiting for a good user-case example.


What About AI?

But what about artificial intelligence? How can a list of disruptive technologies not include AI? There is no question that AI is and will continue to change the nature of remote work, but its impact is much more pervasive and is influencing every aspect of modern life. It is challenging to separate its impact on remote collaboration from the more general impact that AI is having on the way we live.

AI will take on the role of virtual assistants that will help streamline collaboration between asynchronous teams distributed across different time zones. Advanced data analytics will help teams better understand what is working and what isn’t and where there are opportunities for change and improvement. AI will boost cybersecurity for distributed teams as it is better able to detect and block abnormal activity. Virtually instantaneous language translation will facilitate international teams.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, which is why we have recently written several posts on AI and remote work including this one, and this one.


Useful Technologies for Remote Teams

While these are the technological innovations for remote teams on the horizon, do they really solve the most pressing problems faced by remote teams?

Studies suggest that some of the biggest problems for remote workers and distributed teams are:

  • Building connections with team members you may never have met personally.
  • Time management, overworking, and knowing when and how to switch off.
  • Loneliness and isolation.
  • Micromanagement from managers who do not trust employees to be independently productive.
  • Proper onboarding and career development.

While certain technologies may help with these issues, each is primarily a human issue that largely emerge from applying traditional attitudes to work to the new remote work environment. They will require human rather than technological solutions.