Balancing the realities of ongoing remote lifestyles with the underlying human need for social connection and familial community has become an important priority for both employees and employers, as well as consumers and brands. To address this gap, a variety of innovative technologies are being developed and deployed, providing new ways to support interpersonal relations. These solutions are providing organizations and employees with brand new opportunities for remote communication, planning and organizing, and ways of accessing and sharing information; while bringing the comforting and familiar experience of ad-hoc, in-person communication and interpersonal connection to life within a virtual context.
Video and audio-based collaboration tools and platforms are enabling families and friends to enjoy the shared experience of everything from celebrating milestones to watching a TV show or a movie together, while also providing nuanced ways for colleagues to stay connected no matter their location. New mixed-reality technologies and interactive digital rooms are taking remote socialization a step further by recreating the office environment in a purely virtual setting, allowing both internal and external teams to interact with each other through digital avatars and collaborate in real-time as though they were in-person. And as more people cope with ‘screen fatigue’ and burnout from remote work, audio is also seeing a resurgence as a way to stay in touch; while new wellness tools are helping both people and organizations stay on track and remain connected.
In this report, the PSFK Research team explores the innovative social and professional solutions being adopted to bring people closer together, remotely. To help our members better understand this increasingly important and meaningful space, PSFK has identified 6 key trends supporting remote social connection as well as the robust technologies off of which they are being built.
Interpersonal relationships are complex and ever-evolving. As people’s families grow and social and professional circles expand, being a good parent, friend and colleague becomes even more of a challenge. AI-based tools are helping individuals be more empathetic and engaged as they communicate with the important people in their lives by sending reminders for upcoming events and surfacing potential issues like emotional stress in loved ones that might require a deeper conversation.Mirror Worlds
The mainstreaming of video games and mixed reality technologies is creating a new paradigm for how people socialize and interact in digital environments. By mirroring the rules and structures of the physical world, these ‘virtual spaces’ provide a level of comfort and familiarity that people can understand, which offers new opportunities for communication, planning and organizing and accessing information.Social Orchestration
When families, groups of friends or colleagues try to get together or make plans they currently have to navigate a disparate set of tools to coordinate their activities from calendars and spreadsheets to various communication platforms. In an effort to consolidate these actions into one place and make it easier to arrive at a consensus around questions like when and where, new platforms are taking a chat-first approach, while layering in the smart syncing of key tools into a single interface.