Customer Service made more flexible with Huddle Room Video Conferencing Equipment
With the webcam rolling and the special effects and augmented reality features lighting up the video conferencing screen, your group has unending space and possibilities. When the call ends, however, you’re all in an office meeting room barely large enough to seat four people.
It’s a huddle room, the current trend in enterprise communication that turns discrete, compact office spaces into boundless cyberspace. There are millions of them in operation around the world, and they’ll soon become the most common location for video conferencing.
At their best, huddle rooms are low maintenance, cheap, and take up a fraction of the space of a traditional video conferencing-enabled meeting room. They can be used by IT amateurs and shared by entire teams of staff. They’re nimble, versatile, the opposite of clunky.
And with the right huddle room video conferencing equipment, even small businesses can create public-facing video portals that allow intimate conversations with customers all over the world.
50 Million Huddle Rooms and Counting
It’s estimated there are more than 50 million huddle rooms currently in operation in offices around the world. That number will grow dramatically over the next five years, with business consultancy Frost & Sullivan predicting more than two-thirds of all video conferencing equipment will be used in huddle rooms by 2020.
The attraction is that these smaller rooms and the compact equipment that services them better fit the modern office and workforce. Around 70% of offices now employ an open plan layout, more than 40% of workers in the U.S. spend at least some time working remotely, offices have decreased in size over the last few years by about 50 square feet per person, and the average workstation is empty 60% of the time. Those facts give rise to more unplanned video conferences and more limited space in which to host them. Offices need to make the most of the space they have, and often, a large meeting room is not the best way to do that. A smaller space, outfitted with easy-to-use video conferencing tech, is better suited to the small on-the-fly collaborations that have become more common in recent years.
The huddle room has risen to better connect these flexible workforces and improve internal communications. The next step is to use the dynamic huddle room to speak to the wider world.
Huddle Room Video Conferencing Equipment Offers Flexibility
It’s not surprising that the evolution of the huddle room has been met with a supply of new huddle room webcams. These webcams share common huddle room features, such as mobility, wide-angle lenses to pick up everyone in a small room, built-in microphones and speakers, and plug ‘n’ play installation.
Those features allow small groups–usually four, five, or six people–to quickly gather for a video conference without having to waste space in a large boardroom or call on the IT department to set up an ad hoc meeting.
That same flexibility could be applied to taking video calls from clients and the public. This isn’t a video version of a customer call center–those operate more as one-to-one connections dealing with large volume calls around routine questions–but a remote version of a face-to-face, in-depth meeting. They’d be valuable to complicated discussions around, for example, the installation of a home’s heating and cooling system, a mortgage refinancing, or an ongoing business-to-business relationship.
Anytime a professional service needs a personal touch, a huddle room could provide privacy and an instant visual connection.
Huddle Rooms and Customer Service
Some huddle room webcam providers are already bragging about the customer relations angle of their products. Samsung’s recent partnership with Harman Professional Solutions included the promise of an enterprise huddle room product designed specifically for customer-facing use. The system combines a typical webcam and speaker package with wireless document and screen sharing and one-touch controls.
With those added business tools–commonplace as they are in traditional video conferencing setups–a huddle room conversation can become as functional as an in-store meeting.
The conversation might begin with an initial inquiry from a customer, be it by email, phone, or a direct video calling portal built-in to a company website using a browser-based platform. From there, the customer can be connected to an account manager or senior salesperson, who, behind the scenes, could duck into a shared huddle room with a colleague to stage a digital customer experience.
That account manager or salesperson could either take their VC device with them and plug into an existing setup or could just fire up a video conferencing suite built into the room. Using increasingly popular functions such as augmented reality effects, and integrated customer information, the huddle room could be transformed into a digital showroom. The setup would allow staff to demonstrate products, screen multimedia displays, and, importantly, speak face-to-face with a customer located anywhere in the world.
When the meeting was over, they could turn off their webcam, leave the huddle room so someone else could use it, and take all the information they needed to serve the client back to their desk on their own laptop. With a few shared video conferencing huddle rooms, everyone on the office floor might be able to create a unique, digital experience for their customers.
Video Conferencing in Education is the next thing in telecommuting world
Virtual Learning Environments seem like the perfect blend of efficiency and practicality for a generation accustomed to speaking over video call, learning via the internet, and expanding their lives beyond their locations–and who might well be headed for a partly or entirely telecommuting job. Attending a college lecture in the digital world involves the same process of information exchange as talking to a friend via Smartphone. Maybe it should become just as flexible.
In fact, if your college is willing to explore the flexibility video conferencing can provide, you can choose to attend class in person or from the refuge of your home as each day presents itself. Washed out from an all-night study session, sit in on that morning lecture from home. Wake up refreshed and replenished, take the walk down to class in person.
The modern office is rapidly changing into a flexible workplace where employees are free to put in their hours from whichever location best suits their professional and personal lives. So, it stands to reason that college campuses are starting to put more resources into education through video conferencing.
The wide availability of video calling devices and platforms means students, young and old, shouldn’t have to exclusively attend classes in person. In fact, it may soon become essential that educational centers provide video conferencing options, because the coming Generation Z is the most technologically savvy bunch of students any professor ever encountered.
Shifting Between Education Realities
Students attending Lake Michigan College’s Virtual Learning Environment already have this choice between attending class in person or via video conferencing. They can switch between the two as the weather, work schedules, personal commitments, or just a flat tire dictate. Well, it’s not quite as efficient as that, since students at the community college still have to sign up for digital delivery, set up the necessary connection, and maintain something of a regular routine. The program, which was first delivered as a pilot back in 2015, is certainly a step in the right direction, a good example of a coming wave of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE for short).
Like all good VLEs, the Lake Michigan system uses the two-way nature of video conferencing to allow students and professors to see each other in person, speak to each other, and share their faces and computer screens with the entire class. From a webcam on their computer–and HD cameras have become an affordable industry standard in recent years–they can be heard as clearly from home, at work, or during their professional lunch break as they can in the lecture hall. The business world got there first, but at least some colleges are catching up.
Video Conferencing for Flexible Offices
Around 3.9 million Americans currently work from home at least half the time, an increase of more than 110% over the past decade. That growth is made possible by advances in video conferencing that have made it easier and cheaper to use, but it also reflects a change in culture. By working from home half the time, those telecommuting employees are, logic suggests, also coming into the office 2-3 days a week. That means companies have to accommodate these workers with a whole new vocabulary of equipment. This translates to the hot desks we mentioned earlier, which are unassigned desks shared between employees, as well as huddle rooms, small versatile rooms set up for quick, on-the-fly video conferencing, usually with offsite colleagues. More frequent telecommuting has also meant reassessing the qualities of good management, but these sometimes-in, sometimes-out employees have proven to be happier, more productive, and less likely to quit.
Would these benefits transfer to students given the opportunity to learn via remote, two-way communication? If major American corporations, such as Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Cisco, are able to adapt to the demands of a technologically-empowered workforce, then surely major educational institutes can do likewise to support students–especially when those students represent the most digitally advanced generation yet.
Educating through Video Conferencing for Generation Z
Generation Zers were born between 1995 and 2010, meaning the oldest members make up the majority of current college students. The group makes up a quarter of the U.S. population, and has been using computers since elementary school, smartphones since high school, and social media since they developed social skills (or since their parents gave the OK).
The Facebook they grew up with, and are starting to tire of, is a good example of how digital these young lives have become. The social media giant’s recent move into office collaboration with Workplace by Facebook, and its pioneering work in e-commerce, means it now has an interest in how you work, play, shop, dine, communicate, get your news, and more.
That seems to be how Gen Z works, too. So aren’t these students going to be drawn to educational facilities that can fit into that digital way of being? Doesn’t it stand to reason that they’ll want to slip between the digital and “real” worlds for their education, the same way they do in their social life?
Virtual Learning Environments seem like the perfect blend of efficiency and practicality for a generation accustomed to speaking over video call, learning via the internet, and expanding their lives beyond their locations–and who might well be headed for a partly or entirely telecommuting job. Attending a college lecture in the digital world involves the same process of information exchange as talking to a friend via smartphone. Maybe it should become just as flexible.
Huddle room hardware simplified for Video Conferencing
Video conferencing vendors have aimed to simplify deployments with cost-effective kits that include cameras and audio peripherals for small meeting rooms. More recently, though, analyst reports have cited a massive market for video conferencing in small meeting rooms, which dwarfs the big boardroom market. With these smaller meeting rooms, or huddle rooms, vendors face less profit per room, but millions of more rooms. As a result, video conference hardware vendors have been quick to market new products geared for huddle rooms.
To support huddle room video or any video for that matter you need the video conference hardware trinity: camera, audio and some sort of computer to run the software. This setup assumes your huddle space has an existing multipurpose monitor that can be used for video conferencing. Some vendors offer an all-in-one appliance, while several software video vendors have partnered with peripheral hardware vendors to create huddle room kits. These kits include the above-mentioned hardware trinity and a monthly subscription to video software, so you can design your kit to meet your needs.
Customize rooms with video conference hardware
Companies need flexibility in their conference and huddle room hardware.Customizing your rooms with different hardware allows you to meet diverse environments and needs across your organization.
Many video conference hardware appliances and kits are available for huddle rooms, including BlueJeans Rooms with Dolby Conference Phone, Cisco Spark Room Kit, Logitech MeetUp Kit with Intel NUC, StarLeaf’s GT Mini 3330 and Zoom Rooms. Whether you’re choosing a pre-bundled kit or assembling your own, you’ll need to consider each of the essential elements of camera, audio and computer.
Cameras become smarter, more affordable
USB camera technology has seen rapid development in recent years. Cameras are now easier to set up and use. They’re also higher-quality, more reliable, smarter and more affordable.
Over the last decade, video conference hardware costs have dropped from tens of thousands of dollars to a few hundred dollars. Today, you can buy a high-quality, Ultra HD plug-and-play conference camera for less than a thousand dollars, and it works with virtually any collaboration platform The first rule of huddle room video conference hardware: Just say no to webcams. Even webcam vendors say their products are designed for desktops to capture one or two people. If you need to cover more people in a larger space, you need a pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera to cover a room properly, even a huddle space. If meeting attendees are not framed properly, you’ll get a less immersive experience.
However, many users are uncomfortable with remote controls to manipulate PTZ cameras. If meeting attendees always sit in the same spots, theoretically, you can set up a PTZ camera and leave it alone. But if you have more dynamic meetings, you may have to consider some PTZ controls. One solution is PTZ presets. IT can program the camera so the first preset zooms in on the main speaker, and the second preset focuses on a whiteboard, for example. In this setup, users can simply press a button to switch camera views.
Overcoming user concerns
Many vendors have introduced cameras that recognize the active speaker via voice and facial recognition, and then frame the speaker with no human interaction. Some of these systems physically move the camera for PTZ, while others have a wide field of view to capture the entire room and frame the image without moving camera lenses.
This technology makes cameras less intimidating and friendlier in appearance and usage as users become more comfortable being on camera. Some users, however, may still feel uneasy with a camera pointing at them. Ideally, users should be comfortable and act naturally on camera.
Large camera lenses, in particular, can bother users. And if users are uncomfortable, they will find less efficient ways to collaborate, said Dan Freeman, founder and CEO of VDO360, a video conference hardware provider based in Edgewater, Md. While many cameras are available, fully research all your options. Some USB huddle room video cameras include ClearOne Unite, Huddly GO and Logitech MeetUp. Some auto-tracking and -framing video cameras include Cisco Spark Room Series, Lifesize Icon 450 and Polycom Eagle Eye Director II.
Audio needs to be reliable
Audio should not be an afterthought when choosing video conference hardware. The audio needs to be functional, reliable and high-quality. Audio should not be an afterthought when choosing video conference hardware. While video transforms an audio call into a fully interactive meeting, the audio is still crucial. If the video stops working during a meeting, we might complain and continue with the meeting. But if the audio stops working, the meeting is a failure. The audio needs to be functional, reliable and high-quality. A long meeting with low-quality audio will exhaust and frustrate attendees.
Typically, you could choose a camera with embedded microphones and speakers or buy USB speaker pods to put on the conference table. Speaker bars are also becoming popular options, as they emit the sound from the same location as the image of the remote speaker. Fortunately, for buyers of audio hardware, they have several options from well-established vendors and newcomers to the market, which means quality is improving, features are advancing and prices are dropping.
Simplify the computer component
Today’s generation of cloud-based video conferencing software is relatively light and does not require a powerful PC for optimal performance. You don’t need much horsepower to run meeting-room video.
If your huddle room has an existing general-purpose PC or laptop, you are already set. Just install your video software and plug in your USB camera and speakerphone. You can use the laptop to run the video software, but you don’t want to use the laptop’s camera, speaker or microphone for the meeting. A laptop camera fails for the same reason as a webcam, and laptop audio is generally insufficient, as well.
Many video conferencing kits include an Intel NUC — along with the camera and speakerphone — to run the software. The NUC is a full Windows PC, which means you can use it as a general-purpose PC in the room for all your collaboration software, in addition to handling video. IT might prefer this option, as it simply becomes another Windows machine to manage. Otherwise, IT would have to manage a single-purpose video codec running on a proprietary operating system. With huddle room video conference hardware, quality absolutely matters. If you settle for cameras that don’t properly capture speakers or you have weak audio peripherals, users will not have a great experience. As a result, meeting productivity will be affected, and it will be difficult to achieve full adoption of your technology spend.
Fortunately, high-quality video conference hardware is readily available and increasingly affordable. In other words, IT teams are now empowered to provide positive huddle room video conferencing experiences for their teams.
Telemedicine – A life Saver!
What is Telemedicine? Telemedicine uses video conferencing and other telecommunication tools to deliver healthcare at a distance. It promises patients greater convenience and time saved. For medical clinics and hospitals, it delivers time, money, and resource savings. In rural areas with fewer medical facilities, telemedicine promises better healthcare for residents.
Telemedicine provides access to healthcare information and records, enables access to specialists, improves communication between doctors and patients, and helps professionals gather and share important health data.
Technology supports telemedicine
A number of technologies make telemedicine a practical reality. Video conferencing plays a key role, together with secure, low-cost mobile communications that support real-time collaboration through tablets and smartphones.
Video conferencing is available on mobile devices with a high-speed Internet connection and softphone, a software application. Because video conferencing reach any location with Internet access, a mobile collaboration between doctors and colleagues or doctors and patients can occur inside hospitals, medical centers, and anywhere in the country, even remote rural areas.
Healthcare professionals transmit data such as electronic records and other documentation securely. In addition to real-time video collaboration, doctors use recorded video content to support patient education, aftercare, and wellness programs in the community
Improving collaboration within hospitals
In hospitals, doctors and nurses frequently move between wards, visiting patients. To seek advice or collaborate with specialists, they connect and share patient information via the hospital’s internal wireless networks using smartphones or tablets.
Increasing access to specialists
To see and assess a patient over live video within minutes of arrival at the hospital. The faster a patient receives stroke treatment, the better chances they will recover without permanent disability. Video collaboration is accelerating ‘door to needle’ treatment by minutes, sometimes even hours, time-saving that could change a person’s life forever.
Changing the pattern of patient visits
As an alternative to a home visit, doctors may video or Web conference with patients with less mobile or medically unable to visit a health center. Doctors discuss the patient’s condition and recommend medication or treatment.
Remote monitoring systems grant access to critical patient data, like those with heart conditions or diabetes. This reduces home visits for routine assessments and provides timely alerts of changes in patients’ conditions that may require urgent attention.
Reducing hospital readmissions
Many hospitals find that readmissions put further pressure on their already limited resources. Although patients receive aftercare instructions before being discharged, when problems occur, patients are readmitted for further treatment or support. There are five areas that frequently lead to hospital readmissions:
- Hospitals creation and implementation of effective discharge plans.
- Patient non-compliance with medication and care instructions.
- Compromised follow-up care due to poor collaboration.
- Family caregivers not connected or informed to assist with care.
- Patient condition deteriorates and necessary care not accessed.
Video collaboration and content management solutions help hospitals to deal with these challenges.
To improve patient discharge plans, hospitals can offer live, collaborative video at the time of discharge. A live conversation ensures patients, caregivers, and family members participate in the creation of a discharge plan and fully understand what action to take as the patient returns home.
Hospitals may also create a video recording explaining the discharge plan for the patient and family. The information explains what to expect in a normal recovery, compared to symptoms that represent a risk to the patient.
If patients forget the care instructions or have difficulty with their medication, the hospital sends reminders via real-time video collaboration or a pre-recorded video library. This makes reviewing patient care easy.
As part of the recovery process, patients and caregivers benefit from the support of their assigned healthcare providers. They can have virtual access to their primary care physician, case manager, or other professionals via live video. These video follow-ups help long-term patients benefit from feeling connected to their continued care.
Video collaboration assists the patients’ family who may live outside the area but want to participate in the care process. Family members can participate in video calls to create home care plans, learn to recognize risks, and assist with communication.
If a long-term patient’s condition changes or deteriorates, video collaboration enables access to their care team without resorting to readmission. Real-time video interaction helps case managers, nutritionists, physical therapists, primary care physicians, and others adapt treatment plans as changes occur in health and behavior.
Improving access to rural healthcare
In remote areas with limited medical resources, telemedicine provides local doctors a higher standard of care for their patients. Besides the opportunity for virtual home visits, telemedicine gives local professionals access to specialists anywhere in the country.
Local doctors gain insight into cases and procedures beyond their own experience or skills. It assists the diagnosis of complex cases, even allowing surgeons to conduct complex procedures with live video under the direction of a remote expert.
Supporting preventative care in the community
Telemedicine is playing an important role in preventative medicine. As part of the National Prevention Strategy, video conferencing enables hospitals, clinics, health departments, community health centers, community colleges, and facilities like rehab centers and skilled nursing facilities to collaborate and provide community-based services that contribute to the health and wellness of the public.
In smoking cessation programs or alcohol and drug abuse prevention, community teams utilize pre-recorded educational content or hold live interactive video sessions. They hear from experts in the field and discuss issues with doctors and nurses as well as peers in the community who struggle with similar problems.
Despite the promise and recent accomplishments of telemedicine, barriers to its wider adoption remain. A study by The Economist Intelligence Unit found 49 percent of respondents believe patients would be concerned about the risk of data breaches.
Although video collaboration is capable of providing benefits throughout the healthcare industry, professionals must be aware of privacy issues. Any organization providing doctors, nurses, and other workers with remote access to patient data must ensure the security of data transmitted by video or other communication channels.
Some insurers refuse to support telemedicine due to increased costs for fewer perceived health benefits. And, State medical boards impose differing telemedicine laws and restrictions on doctors. Procedures for telemedical treatment are not standardized across State lines.
Looking to the future, telemedicine has the potential to transform the way doctors deliver care, promising improved treatment, and saving more than time and money
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.
Role of Video Conference in multiple fields
Video conferencing is the new voice. Irrespective of where they are physically situated, business executives, individuals, and groups usually interact with one another in real time by making use of video conferencing.
Being cost-effective and convenient, video conferencing has now been widely applied in many areas. If you aren’t already sold on the idea of using videoconferencing to supplement (not replace) face-to-face meetings, here is a neat list of the uses of video conference in different fields
- Meetings or Collaborations
Video calls assist a great deal to set up conferences, whether for business, enjoyment or training. Essential information can be talked over by managers or company heads even though they are far away from one another. Groups who would like to pre-plan a project can discuss details conveniently by applying features like screen sharing, white boarding, etc. An additional common practice to this particular procedure happens to be the student collaborations. One can effortlessly accomplish group study or student projects without voyaging or going for a drive.
- Online Teaching
Technology has aided the world of long distance learning to become an actuality. Consequently, a teacher no longer requires being in the same room as his students. For example, long distance education programs have been included by both small as well as premiere Ivy League schools such as Harvard University in the USA in their syllabus. Even though the majority of these happen to be in video course form, live web-conference courses also constitute a significant portion.
It is simple to interact with a huge number of people simultaneously by making use of video conferencing. Questions can be answered by a professional to any student from any location. Meanwhile, this approach can also be employed for teaching students in rural areas. A proper setup is only needed and a competent teacher will be capable of teaching his students by making use of the process.
- Business Administration
During the past, it was actually out of the question to manage a business on the web. However, remote workplaces and virtual staff have become a standard setup with the intro of the web. Interacting through email, chat services, which include video conferences have grown to be an important part in motivating these types of companies. It is now feasible for the employers to make contact with their freelance designers, copy writers, administrative staff along with other staff remotely. Besides bridging the gap, it likewise creates a more effective and worldwide workplace with little effort.
- Video Interviews
In the yesteryears, video interviews were not common. Nowadays, video calls or conferences are being utilized by numerous industries in an effort to reach a number of experts at once, recognize the potential workers for the organization, get in touch with correspondents and much more. Leading news networks usually link different individuals for interview by making use of meetings. At times while a correspondent is not reachable, a useful internet transmission and an internet service program which provides video conferencing might help. Each party will be benefited by the volume of cost savings which includes traveling time.Different parties can easily interact with one another simultaneously even though they may be from diverse areas. Although it was once a complicated technology, nowadays it’s feasible to effortlessly do meetings with more sophisticated phone systems and quicker net services.
- Working from Home
A lot more staff, at present, is prepared to select an innovative method of working from home. Workers will be able to make use of video conferencing to keep linked to customers or co-workers in a realistic way. It will save you considerable time invested on the way and stop you from getting worn out due to a traffic jam or a crowd in the subway. As a matter of fact, home based work will be an ideal choice in case you were an expecting mother and actually more and more people are taking advantage of tools like Skype or many other Skype alternatives for their remote work. They can easily perform a real-time Internet meeting by just quickly downloading and running it on desktop or mobile.
- Distance Diagnostics
The ability to identify a symptom or problem from afar is referred to as remote diagnostics. In health care, it is feasible for the affected person to be in the home or even overseas and the medical professional or expert could be in a different area. This tactic is also employed by the cosmonauts in the International Space Station while using cameras or remote calling for the assistance of the ground staff. Furthermore, remote diagnostics is likewise employed by business phones too, particularly those linked with PABX systems; earlier, operators used to switch calls manually, but right now it is accomplished automatically by special techniques.
- Legal Environment
Video conferencing is utilized by a lot of courtrooms as well as prestigious authorized offices for connecting with unwilling prisoners or witnesses that are struggling to appear personally to be questioned. The individual will feel like he is actually there because of the amazingly impressive actions taken by high quality video conferencing. It is sometimes far easier to have a witness or a prisoner broadcast themselves digitally as compared to having them appear face-to-face. Despite the fact that the courtrooms are the places to make use of video conferencing for this task, it can be useful to any business that requires making use of the testimony of somebody who does not wish to appear face-to-face.
Top quality video conferencing solutions are creating incredibly helpful business equipment which can be used in lots of innovative as well as interesting ways. Just like the leading businesses, this technology may be used by any organizations in the multiple field to fully make use of the enhancement in productiveness, cohesion, as well as development.
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.