Here’s what to look for while upgrading to Cloud PBX!
Maturing technology and the desired convenience in business communication, is the right time for a change in business enterprise. A cloud-hosted, VoIP-powered PBX is an attractive and preferred option for a modern business telephone service. It is extremely cost effective, available for use anytime and almost anywhere, and requires none of the hardware investment that traditional on-premises systems needed in the past
Switching to a hosted private branch exchange (PBX) may sound complicated, however a well-thought-out transformation process can be smooth and hassle-free. Let’s discuss things to consider when moving from a traditional voice system to a cloud PBX.
PBX systems – traditional vs virtual
It important to understand the main differences between a traditional PBX and a cloud PBX. Traditional PBX is an enterprise phone system stored and hosted on the customer’s premises, and consists of specialized hardware, generally connected using circuit switched networks.
The equipment routes individual incoming calls to corresponding desk phones, and the hardware typically demands special storage conditions, professional system configuration and management, as well as regular maintenance and repair.
The virtual PBX is a phone system in the cloud, and is provided as a service with no need to maintain and operate a PBX hardware unit in the office. Configuration is achieved through a web application, easily accessible via a smart phone, laptop or desktop, or a VoIP-enabled desk phone. Without the requirement for proprietary and complicated hardware, this system offers freedom of mobility and professional call management with multiple features.
Usage of a cloud PBX – Who and When?
A smooth transition to a hosted PBX requires an accurate determination of WHO and WHEN. First, it is highly advisable to define who will be using the new system. Different individuals within a business will need to use the system in different ways.
Thus, identify the users who are primarily involved in making, receiving and directing phone calls. This will minimize any unwelcomed downtime and the negative impact on a business.
Likewise, it is advisable to know when the employees need to use your hosted PBX solution: during regular office hours, outside of business hours, or round-the-clock. A clear picture of how the company uses its telephone system and what PBX solution is the most effective will be decided after identifying when and where the staff is most likely to make and take calls. The outcome should be the best reflection of what your business needs, both now and in the future.
The choice of equipment – covering all bases
Switching between the systems may serve as a timely opportunity to evaluate the overall workstation needs of your employees. Despite potential challenges, the conversion also offers a different perspective on existing tasks that can stimulate creative solutions. Think through the specific requirements of each individual or team to determine the best suitable hardware.
Then, specify the means currently employed for the functions such as the desktop phone, mobile phone, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) application. Perhaps your company has several locations and the employees travel extensively. Does the business involve only remote work? The solutions based on demands of different roles can vary greatly. Anticipate a positive impact on your staff productivity when making a choice of the most favourable hardware in combination with the cutting-edge features and intuitive user interface of the new PBX.
The service provider – what’s the best fit?
Analyse, compare and be picky! There are numerous cloud-based PBX service providers, and you need to identify a proficient and reliable vendor. Before committing, you might want to consider the following:
- Are there any combined hardware or software solutions on offer?
• What about the ability to use your current phone numbers?
• What are the options for remote and mobile employees?
• How would you change the number of users or lines required?
• Are there any start-up or system support costs?
• Does the provider have a back-up plan in case of natural disaster, unexpected emergency or system outage?
- What about available cutting-edge solutions or projected technological advancements?
Make a list of the features you require and single out the “must haves” and the less important ones. It is advisable to select a provider that’s able to offer a complete package of communications solutions that will enhance your day-to-day operations. Furthermore, take the opportunity to test the proposed solution. Most cloud PBX providers set up a free trial to help you decide how well the new service meets your needs.
Solid connectivity is the key
All cloud solutions are dependent on Internet connectivity. A cloud PBX works by connecting to your Internet provider, therefore, there must be a VoIP compliant device or system available on your premises. The first thing to do when implementing a hosted PBX solution is to check for any problems in your Internet connection, such as:
- Is the flow of data susceptible to bottlenecks?
- Is the data flow ever paused or interrupted?
- Does the Internet connection have enough capacity for handling the increased volume of traffic?
- Is there a problem with one or several devices on-site?
- If you encounter such technical hitches, consider the option to reconfigure, upgrade or replace the relevant devices or services.
Wi-Fi. It goes without saying that a wired Internet connection is preferable to wireless, due to constant flow of data and no disruptions by external factors. A Wi-Fi signal may be interrupted, blocked or weakened by any obstacles it passes through. Therefore, to guarantee the best service, make sure that your connection is not limited to a Wi-Fi setup only.
However, you can incorporate wireless into your network design as a backup and it will serve as an important aspect of survivability for a hosted solution.
Bandwidth. It is also important to have enough bandwidth available, as all the information (standard Internet usage data as well as call data) is being transferred over the Internet. Bandwidth is the maximum rate of data transfer across the network, and because VoIP technology transmits voice as data, this is one of the main factors determining the number of concurrent phones calls the Internet connection can manage. The required Internet bandwidth is subject to the business needs and call quality and may differ between organizations. The safe estimate to be used is 0.2Mbps per call. Without proper bandwidth, the quality of calls may be reduced by jitter, latency or interruptions.
Taking all the above into account, together with careful planning, will make the move to a hosted PBX smooth and painless. Few of the promising and affordable OEMs are AVAYA, Grandstream, NEC, Panasonic and CISCO. Focus your attention on getting as much applicable information as possible, educate yourself, and share that knowledge with relevant company personnel. In this way, the switch to the next technological level will be particularly rewarding.
Why huddle rooms should be part of your collaboration strategy?
Huddle room video conferencing is more than setting up a webcam and speakerphone in a small room. Why huddle rooms should be part of your collaboration strategy?
For decades, collaboration technology has been limited to larger, integrated, and expensive meeting rooms. But next generation workers, and the need for companies to complete on a global basis, will drive demand for collaboration solutions throughout the organization. Workforce is embracing a new way of working where connectivity, rich media and access to content across devices and locations are a given. Modular and flexible solutions allow teams to transform their works paces. Over the next few years, advanced audio-visual and collaboration products and services will make their way into the millions of existing smaller meeting rooms (huddle rooms).
Video has only recently become a mainstream option for businesses. If your organization does not have a forward-looking video strategy, then you’re probably entrenched in legacy-based and hardware-based systems for dedicated use in a boardroom. Additionally, you’re probably thinking of video as a stand-alone application, rather than integrating it into a broader collaboration vision.
When considering today’s collaboration needs, video is far more pervasive and practical than conference room scenarios. While conference rooms are still important, huddle rooms have emerged as equally important for collaboration. Huddle rooms are typically smaller meeting spaces that suit different use cases and need to be part of your strategy, whether for video or your overall collaboration planning.
As workforce become more distributed, the need for collaboration becomes more important. Informal and ad hoc meetings are becoming more common, especially among small teams. Huddle rooms are ideal for this mode of working. To support that workflow with business-grade tools, you need to consider purpose-built video services. Video vendors are tuned into this shift in the market and now offer right-sized services for huddle room video conferencing.
There’s a big gap between costly telepresence systems for large groups and consumer-grade applications that anyone can grab from the web. Huddle rooms need to support serious collaboration — and that means having reliable connectivity, high-quality audio and video, full integration with other applications, a consistent user experience and, of course, ease of use. You can’t get that with a patchwork approach using somebody’s webcam and a noisy speakerphone, especially if two or more people are on the call.
Huddle rooms are ideal for those in-between video collaboration needs. If you’re adding huddle rooms as purpose-built collaboration spaces, you need to think strategically about the tools. Organizations have a wide range of video services to choose from based on cost and quality. You need to plan your video choices in tandem with planning for your huddle rooms. This strategic approach provides employees with a holistic service for small-scale collaboration. Once deployed, the benefits should be evident immediately.
How much value Collaboration solutions add to your workplace?
Collaboration has undergone a major change since it moved out of the boardroom. It’s more democratic, available and affordable for every employee. It’s accessible from any location on any desktop or mobile device. And, it’s becoming an integral part of the workplace of the future.
Collaboration is successful when employees throughout the organization are able to easily interact, participate in projects, share ideas, and provide feedback to colleagues. To support this, they need easy-to-use channels of communication and a quality experience when they collaborate. That helps build a collaborative environment by engaging people and showing how collaboration can transform working practices.
While solutions like VoIP and Unified Communications (UC) offer many important collaboration features and services, it’s important to focus on how those features help employees to do their work more efficiently.
Recent findings from Avaya, including the Team Engagement Solution Survey, offer some useful insights. The survey helps to identify how much value collaboration solutions add and where they need to change.
Email lives on
One question produced surprising results. When businesses were asked which collaboration solution was most important for enabling employees to get work done, email topped the list at 91 percent.
Office suites at 47 percent were ahead of web conferencing at 38 percent and instant messaging at 35 percent. Respondents also ranked email as the top solution for ease of use at 83 percent with instant messaging not too far behind at 67 percent.
Although email is frequently written off as a solution of the past, the survey indicates that it remains an important part of the collaboration process.
Integration is essential
There was a strong indication from businesses that integration of communication and collaboration tools is important. In fact, 90 percent agreed it was important.
When asked about the importance of integrating collaboration tools with business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, 78 percent of respondents were in favor.
However, opinion was divided over whether different types of collaboration tool work well together. For example, 51 percent of respondents felt that instant messaging and web conferencing were well integrated, while 49 percent felt they didn’t work together.
Collaboration solutions need more
The survey also asked businesses about their “wish lists” for collaboration. The most popular “must have” was a feature that supports screen sharing. That resonated with 95 percent of respondents.
Close behind with 92 percent was a solution that allows users to schedule meetings from their calendar apps. Integration with productivity tools like Microsoft Office or Google Docs was popular with 77 percent of respondents.
User experience improves ROI
The emphasis on driving team engagement through the right collaboration tools has a positive impact on ROI, according to Avaya. 52 percent of engaged employees say that work brings out their most creative ideas, helping to increase innovation and drive future growth.
The most-engaged workplaces experience 18 percent higher productivity and 12 percent higher profitability. Highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave, reducing recruitment costs and retaining skills and knowledge.
What will video and team collaboration look like in the next three years?
Could there be a solution like the IP-PBX systems versus UCaaS option, where companies can access a comfortable “hybrid” zone that will reduce the financial impact of transformation? Or, are we simply going to have to make do with what we’re given?
- BYOC – Bring your own codec is on the rise
- Huddle Room technology is on the rise
- Deployments are moving to the cloud
- Traditional hardware based room systems will decline
- 1/3 of knowledge workers are now millennials
- Teams are the knowledge workers of tomorrow
The Evolution of Video Conferencing Technology
The Video conferencing market over the next three years is going to see some big changes. Whilst video conferencing revenues are flat, if not in decline amongst the big vendors, video calls are still experiencing exponential growth.
Mobile video is also growing rapidly, mostly originating from the cloud. Apps like Microsoft Skype for Business leading the way in the corporate world. It seems that it’s less about the hardware you need in business but more about the software based apps, at least for peer to peer video calls (one to one). However, hardware by no means is dead, it’s just going to look a little different going forward.
The commoditisation of VCaaS appears to be an inevitable part of video’s future. That’s why the company put together their own SMB bundles for customers who wanted to purchase simple Gateway services, “off the peg”. Today, customers can buy solutions straight from eCommerce website in a self-service solution.
Introducing the Huddle Room Boom
One of the key questions that companies are asking today is: “What will enterprise visual collaboration tools and solutions look like in the future?” Video technology is getting better; DSPs are cheaper and far more flexible and capable, offering more features than ever before. Huddle rooms are the new conference room. Less about traditional conferencing, more about collaboration That’s why Microsoft are investing heavily Skype Room systems, Cisco with the Spark Board and Google with the Jam Board.
Today’s VARs have an unparalleled opportunity to monetize these solutions by selling hardware alongside VC platforms. In other words, VARs can give their customers a bundled package of everything that they need for excellent collaboration. As solutions continue to evolve in the communication and collaboration space, opportunities simply keep getting better.
The Rise of Bring your Own Codec (BYOC)
The migration to cloud based meetings isn’t going to be straight forward for a lot of enterprises. How do your users connect their shiny new Skype for Business app to your largest customer’s ISDN based Polycom conferencing system? How do you host a virtual meeting room (VMR) for 20 people and not have to worry what equipment or software they are using?
Introducing the solution to ‘BYOC’. If you want to be able to offer a flexible cloud based video conferencing system for your business then you’ll need a cloud based video gateway service. Many companies have developed a cloud hosted codec converter for connecting virtually any video codec together e.g. ISDN, SIP, WebRTC, etc. Not only does this allow virtually any company to connect in with their choice of meeting room system, it also allows users on mobiles or laptops to connect up with their choice of app.
Migrating into the Future
Taking the step into the collaboration and conferencing networks of the future might not be as simple as most companies would hope. Cloud solutions are incredibly attractive because they allow people to mix and match services as they need them. When it comes to interoperability, people need to be able to join or create mixed protocol video conferencing calls without the expense of managing an infrastructure.
The cloud, and related solutions, allows businesses to use systems like Microsoft Skype for Business to create video calls without the hassle. Using a cloud provider means minimising the amount of work a business has to do to stay ahead of the industry curve. In cloud environments, it’s the provider that needs to stay up-to-date, not the customer. This makes the disruption of forklift upgrades more unlikely.
Technology in Business: Why You Should Get Rid of Your Office Dinosaurs
Do you have any dinosaurs hanging out in your office? They might not be the giant kind with big claws and teeth, but odds are, your company uses many pieces of outdated technology. A technological T. Rex like this can keep your employees tied to a single location, most likely an office. An office dinosaur doesn’t just make your company look behind the times — it can cost productivity as well as customer and employee satisfaction. There is no room for dinosaur technology in business.
However, when you offer your employees technologies that promote flexibility, they are more engaged and likely to deliver better service to your customers. With modern solutions, they can work wherever they are. The following are some outdated pieces of technology in business that may be better off extinct, along with their modern versions you should consider to get out of prehistoric times:
From Sitting Desks to Treadmill Desks
Offices used to be full of desks, and employees always sat at them. Now, many companies are offering other places for employees to work, including cafe tables in break rooms and open work areas. If you do see a desk in an office, it could very well be a standing desk or a treadmill desk. Employees using these can walk or stand while working, which is a much healthier option than sitting all day.
From Dial-Up to Wireless Internet
Do you remember the sound of a modem dialing? It’s a thing of the past, and if you still hear that in your office, you’re harboring a very old dinosaur. Even if you have wired internet, you’re lingering in the ice age. By providing wireless internet at your office, you give your employees the flexibility to work wherever ideas hit them, whether in a meeting, sitting in the courtyard on a nice day, or at a colleague’s desk.
From Desk Phones to Business Phones with Mobility
Every desk used to have its own phone. It was usually black and plugged into the wall, tethering employees to their desks. Customers or co-workers could only reach them if they were physically sitting in their desk chairs. By giving employees mobile tools, you also give them flexibility in their work locations. Business communication systems are now accessible on whatever devices employees are using and can even mask their personal information from customers when they’re replying from their personal phones.
From Servers to Cloud Networks
Every office used to have a room they often affectionately called the “server room” or the “server farm,” with rows of physical servers that powered the office networks. Employees had to be physically at the office to access these files, and any software program a company needed had to be installed onto the hard drive of the server. These servers took up space and made it difficult for companies to expand due to increased maintenance costs and physical limitations. Thanks to cloud networks, servers are hosted offsite by dedicated cloud vendors who handle the day-to-day care of the servers while companies focus on serving clients and growing their businesses to scale.
On the Endangered List: Offices
You might be surprised to learn that physical business offices — where most employees spend eight hours each day — are actually on the endangered list. With cloud and mobile technology available at affordable prices, many businesses have virtual offices, or at least some remote workers. Odds are that one day, the concept of an office will end up in a museum, alongside the other dinosaur relics. By preparing your business to move in that direction, you won’t be left using outdated business concepts and watching the asteroid fall from the sky.
Technology in business, especially cloud technology, has made work much less location-dependent and gives employees the flexibility they need. Companies that embrace the cloud and provide their employees with technology that fosters flexibility are the ones that will succeed. On the other hand, companies that stay in the past and cling to these artifacts will quickly find themselves on the endangered list — or worse, extinct.
Why does Unified Communication play an important role in Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is a hot topic and it’s no real surprise. It promises greater agility, increased efficiencies, lower costs and improved customer service. For IT teams, the challenge is to modernize legacy systems and identify services and applications for digitization. They also need to use the flexibility of the cloud to accelerate change and reduce workload.
Unified Communication ( UC) will play a key role in digital transformation. It supports effective communication with customers, suppliers, and partners. UC makes it easy for teams to collaborate inside and outside the organization. And, it has the ability to streamline business processes by integrating communications with business applications.
Cloud solution or premise solution?
However, to reach the full potential of your digital transformation, you may have to modernize your UC deployment. One key decision is whether to move a premise UC deployment to the cloud.
A cloud-based solution gives you the scale and flexibility you will need. This is essential because digital transformation will make your organization more agile and responsive to changes in the market or the business environment. Your communication system must match that agility.
Moving UC to the cloud will also help IT by removing the support and upgrade burden. This will free the team to concentrate on more strategic digital transformation tasks.
A key goal of digital transformation is increased collaboration across the organization to accelerate innovation and deliver the best solutions for customers. UC’s collaboration tools must allow teams to easily share knowledge, resources, and information so they can improve personal and group performance. Some organizations are using UC’s collaboration tools to set up centers of excellence where employees can source advice and expertise, or ask teams of experts to work on complex problems. Updating UC systems to incorporate the latest cloud collaboration technologies is essential to accelerate digital transformation.
New ways of working
In a digital enterprise, location is no longer an issue. Virtual teams working in remote locations, flexible working policies and mobile working are the factors that shape the digital workplace. UC must support mobile and remote teams, as well as the more informal internal structures. Cloud-based UC solutions provide the reach and flexibility to bring together a dispersed workforce and create a collaborative working environment.
Streamlining business processes
Integration of communications tools and business applications is an important aspect of digital transformation. Because UC runs on a data network, it’s easy to integrate business apps and give them communications capability. Microsoft’s UC solution, Skype for Business, for example, can integrate with Office 365. Users can launch calls or conferences from within apps like Word, PowerPoint or Excel. Users no longer have to leave their work or change applications to get feedback or approval on work in progress. That integration capability makes it easy for users and applications to share the same data and interact with each other. This improves collaboration even further, helping to accelerate development and transformation projects.
IT’s focus on business
IT is no longer modernizing infrastructure for its own sake. It must deliver business benefits and demonstrate value to the business. Modernizing Unified Communication is an essential part of that process.
How to engage employees through Digital Signage?
The success of an organization is dependent on its employees. Engaged employees are enthusiastic and committed to their jobs. They understand goals and objectives of the organization and are committed to its overall success. Engaged employees are less likely to leave the organization to pursue other opportunities. Employee engagement results in higher productivity, better employee retention, a positive, more creative environment, and generally a better place to work for everyone. So how do you improve employee engagement in your organization using Digital Signage?
First, take care of the basics
Employee engagement isn’t always easy to define. Studies by the Dale Carnegie Institute have found that there are three key influences on employee engagement in the workplace:
- Employee relationships with the immediate supervisor;
- Confidence in senior leadership; and
- Pride in working for the organization
Are these three influences positively affecting employees in your organization?
Put digital communications to use in the workplace
Employee bulletin boards, memos and announcements over the public-address system have been used for ages to communicate to and among employees, but there was no guarantee the information was reaching the right employees at the right time.
Digital communications on devices like digital signs, video walls, tablets and mobile phones, incorporate the best of these traditional communication channels with the best of technology.
Most people associate digital communications with customer-facing communications, but employee-facing digital communications can be remarkably effective too. Not only can you notify people of emergencies quickly, you can communicate personalized real-time information in a manner that’s efficient and often entertaining as well.
Make digital content appropriate to the audience
One of the best things about digital communications is that you can do as successful television networks do and tailor content to the audience and their needs. Consider a digital screen in a warehouse – a message welcomes the morning shift to work and reminds them to finish their safety training by the deadline could precede a message from HR about the changes to the benefits plan. The company can also push personalized information about the orders for the day and key statistics from the previous shift to an employee’s phones or a display in the area
Digital signage in the locker room could thank the departing shift for their work, showcase key stats from their shift, and provide real-time updates on weather and traffic for their drive home.
Use digital communications for employee recognition
A terrific use for digital communications and devices like digital signage is employee recognition. Content could include coverage of formal awards people have earned, or even information from the company social network. Giving employees a way to submit positive information about their peers helps maintain a positive work environment, and when employee achievements are tied in with brand philosophy, both are amplified.
Consider creating a corporate social responsibility channel
Some organizations improve team cohesiveness even more by using digital communications to promote corporate social responsibility . Most consumers today expect businesses to focus on the world we live in as well as their own interests, and this, of course, carries over to employee attitudes. For example, using digital signage to communicate CSR initiatives and highlight relevant accomplishments on both the employee and corporate level can help employees take pride in their organization.
Digital communications is far more than a way for businesses to communicate with customers. It’s also terrific for communicating with employees and gives companies lots of opportunity for doing so in an entertaining and effective manner. Not only can devices like digital signs and mobile phones be used to inform employees quickly in the event of an emergency, they can be used for countless everyday applications as well, including deadline reminders, employee recognition, and information about how the company is striving to make the world better.
Using digital communications toward better employee engagement helps create a more cohesive workforce, with better morale, and hence a greater willingness among employees to give their best effort. It’s fast, flexible, more environmentally friendly than printed materials, and offers endless possibilities for programming content.
How IT leaders can help deploy Communications Technology?
The successful deployment of communications technology relies on one critical factor: high user adoption. As IT leaders and CIOs are keenly aware, significant time, money and resources are devoted to the rollout of new technologies. And yet, even the most promising deployments can fizzle in the hands of employees. Of course, there’s quite a bit at stake for CIOs who plan to introduce new unified communications and collaboration tools throughout the enterprise. If they fail to persuade users to embrace the new technologies, their investment is wasted. But more importantly, it could make their organization less competitive.
So what do IT leaders need to know to achieve high user adoption? While there are many strategies to increase adoption rates, the most effective approaches are those that engage the user early and often. Here’s how:
Let Employees Lead the Way
Traditionally, IT introduced new systems and tools to employees. But today’s elevated awareness about how technology can be used to deliver stronger results, it’s just as likely that line of business leaders and employees will suggest tools to IT.
For example, sales and marketing teams know that customer relationship management solutions can drive more revenue. Thus, they are easy converts to new communications technologies that integrate with their core applications. The lesson for CIOs? Understand the applications that are critical to various departments and ensure any new communications solutions can seamlessly integrate with them. Getting buy-in from future users up front and doing your research on what will offer them the easiest path forward will help increase adoption before anything has even been deployed.
Share Best Practices from Early Adopters
Despite the productivity benefits of new communications tools, an astonishing number of employees are still reluctant to use them. According to a recent survey by Technalysis Research, emails, text and phone calls make up 75% of communications in the workplace. In fact, more than a third of workers continue to collaborate with co-workers by emailing documents, but just 19% use real-time collaboration tools.
This means IT leaders have a daunting task to get the laggards on board. One way to resolve this problem is to engage early adopters. Eric Newsome, the CIO of gas supplier, Praxair, recently told CIO Magazine that immediately after a major deployment, his team observes early adopters as they work with the new tools.
“We are ethnographers; we go around and watch these users in action,” Newsome says. This approach allows his team to identify best practices, which are then compiled and shared with users around the organization. By sharing relevant examples from colleagues and teeing up early adopters as internal evangelists, IT leaders and CIOs can create positive peer pressure that entices reluctant employees to begin using the tools.
Get Buy-In from the IT Staff
The challenges of getting end-users to try new technologies may be legendary, but the reluctance of IT staff who support legacy applications isn’t discussed quite as often. However, it’s important that IT executives also consider the resistance they might get from their own staff.
There are two strategies that can be followed: retrain or replace. First, leaders should evaluate their teams and determine not only if an employee can be retrained on the new solution, but also if they are willing to embrace the change. Retraining is preferable, but sometimes it may be necessary to replace or reassign team members who are resistant to learning how to effectively support the new technology. After all, without 100% buy-in from the supporting IT staff, it will be much more difficult to reach user adoption goals.
At the end of the day, ensuring your software implementation is a success is just as much about building internal relationships as it is about technology itself. It’s not always easy, but IT leaders who actively cultivate opinions of cross-functional teams and engage end-users throughout the process are much more likely to see adoption rates – and resulting productivity – rise.
How is Video Wall transforming Hotel guest experience?
Hotel lobbies are high-traffic areas where people gather and wait. Video Walls can help resorts and hotels connect and communicate with their guests by highlighting in-facility amenities and services, along with the availability and schedules of local activities, events and eateries. However, individual displays, may no longer generate a great impact. Large Individual displays are an expected part of a hotel room, but they easily get lost in the greatness of a hotel lobby, and might fail to engage guests glued to their smartphones.
The answer for the hospitality industry is video walls — a visually compelling solution that captures attention in both large and small public spaces, and can be a key starting point for long-term digital engagement with customers.
A video wall can be a unique piece of art that would definitely grab the attention of the guests. Whether used to promote the hotel brand, set a tone for the space, promote local attractions or for revenue-generating advertisements, it is a valuable investment that will bring returns in terms of perceived brand value from day one.
Design and uniqueness are often key factors for hotels, with extra effort put in to ensure guests get a great first impression. Video walls can be as unique and distinctive as customers want them to be. There are video wall solutions that give customers the flexibility to deploy either traditional, grid or artistic, mosaic-style video walls, with angled displays for a creative, non-traditional layout — ideal for hotels that are out of the ordinary.
Another great use of a video wall in a hotel is to inform guests about events happening either on site or nearby, as well as to promote local tourism and advertise businesses. They can also help to engage with guests on social media, either by inviting them to share their experience or displaying feeds directly on the wall.
Factors to consider when installing a video wall
A video wall is meant to complement the space while visually engaging the audience. Careful planning is important.
First, consider the area that will be featured. The space and surroundings will determine the size of the video wall. If you are doing anything other than the basics, you’ll want to invest in a video wall controller. There are now cost effective options for video wall controllers that use PC and network architecture to lower the overall costs.
The second thing to consider is the type of video wall that will best suit the space. Options include something that stands out such as an artistic, mosaic-style video wall, or a more classic, traditional grid video wall (with typical aspect ratios), where streamlined, third-party content plays a key part.
Unless it’s part of a new build or major renovation, you’ll need to consider how to get power and data connectivity to the displays. Most of what’s needed to drive your video wall (e.g., the video wall controller) can be located in the server room. However you do need power and data connectivity for the displays. Besides the actual displays, video walls require mounts to secure them to the wall and cabling.
Video Conference is heading towards a Flexible Work Culture!
Collaboration technologies such as video conferencing are giving new dimensions to the business communication. Today, video conferencing has taken a central stage in the board room discussion and is helping enterprises to improve team collaboration and creating connections beyond the geographic boundaries.
A Research and Markets report forecasts that the global video conferencing market will touch $6.4 billion by 2020. According to the report, the video conferencing market in Asia Pacific is also expected to achieve significant growth by 2020, driven primarily by increasing demand from countries such as India and China. With organizations adopting flexible work culture, the video conferencing business is set to grow, giving huge prospects to telecommunication solutions vendors.
Changing face of Communication
Gone are the days, when the business communication was largely driven by emails and telecommunication. Today, video conferencing has become an important part of office meeting routines. Enterprises are deploying video conferencing solutions to enhance both internal and external communication in order to get instant feedback. Video conferencing enables businesses not only increase their productivity but enhance employee and customer relationships through face-to-face interactions using digital tools.
With network bandwidth increasingly dropping in price with improvements in technology, video solutions are also becoming smoother, smarter and more affordable, helping to boost widespread usage.
Business organizations are now looking at flexible solutions, and are shifting towards unified communications (UC) deployments. Peoples’ needs have evolved with time. They are now looking for collaboration tools to be added to applications which will make their communication and work much easier. With network bandwidth increasingly dropping in price with improvement in technology, video solutions are also becoming smoother, smarter and more affordable, helping to boost widespread usage.
Another important factor which is accelerating the growth of the video conferencing market is the growing use of video conferencing applications in industries like healthcare and education. Video conferencing services and cloud-based video conferencing solutions are enabling healthcare organizations to widen the reach of their services to remote areas. In the education sector, video conferencing is enabling educational institutes to offer tutorial and training services to students using video conferencing solutions.
Emergence of Video-as-a-Service (VaaS)
Video conferencing has long moved from equipment to software, web based solutions. While the room-based video conferencing model has a significant share in the market, the cloud based collaboration tools are also gaining traction in the industry. Enterprises are looking at cloud for a reliable, secure and features rich and affordable video-conferencing solutions. Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) has a lot of potential and it has increasingly becoming popular and is coming across as an extremely valuable service. The VaaS market is growing rapidly because of the transition from traditional web conferencing to advance cloud-based conferencing services. The market is expected to witness exponential growth in the next 5 years.
As businesses keep growing and continue to adopt advanced IT infrastructure, the conference rooms in the organizations will become more complicated with too many solutions and services. VaaS will help in clearing the clutter and will be a helpful solution to adopt. So, the future is clearly in cloud and services. However, the room-based video conferencing model will maintain its position in the market.
As businesses keep growing and continue to adopt advanced IT infrastructure, the conference rooms in the organizations will become more complicated with too many solutions and services. Industry experts say that the VaaS model will help in clearing the clutter in the business communication process.
Similarly, Video PaaS products are gaining traction in terms of application in the tele-health, media and entertainment, education, and banking and finance sectors. However, rising concerns regarding data security, increasing quality issues, and lack of a proper business case for real-time communications are the major hindrance in a large scale adoption of Video PaaS business models.
M&A and Expansion Plans
In the era of always connected workplaces, organizations are shifting toward conference meetings in order to enable faster decisions and reduce traveling hassles. Additionally, in order to extend their reach globally, organizations around the world are increasingly focused on investing in cost effective communication tools. This has created immense opportunities for the video conferencing players. Leading video conferencing solution vendors are very aggressive on their expansion plans.
Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are one of the ways for vendors to penetrate into emerging markets. The latest report by Transparency Market Research says the majority of companies operating in the global video conferencing market are focused on expanding their footprint through M&A. Similarly, in order to gain traction across emerging markets, the established companies are collaborating with prominent regional players. Vendors such as Microsoft Corporation, Avaya, Polycom, Huawei Technologies, Vidyo, Cisco Systems, ZTE Corporation, and Lifesize, have been strengthening their position in the global video conferencing market through this strategy.
Growth prospects in India
With various digital projects such as Digital India and Smart City in place, India is the most desirable growth destination for all the major collaboration communication technology vendors. Video is an essential and strategic component of the ambitious smart city and safe city project. Hence, all the prominent vendors are betting big on such projects in the country. Cisco Systems is in talks with several state governments to provide video collaboration solutions in smart city projects. Similarly, Polycom sees a huge opportunity in the initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and plan to raise 100 smart cities. Avaya is also in the race of smart city project and is looking to invest in foray into the initiative with its new Fabric Network Connect technology.
As businesses are going digital, the modes of communications have also gone through significant changes. Today, businesses are open to invest in high quality video collaboration technologies in order to enhance their productivity. Hence, product innovation and go to market strategy will largely determine the success of vendors in this space.