The emerging need of Video Conferencing for employees Working from Home
The benefits of telecommuting are apparent—increased employee productivity, reduced costs, and more flexibility are only a few. In fact, people who work full time from home are more efficient than those who don’t.
The average commute to and from between home and office consumes 3-4 hours a day or 15-20 hours a week, resulting in wastage of productive man-hours and energy. This is accompanied by the stress we endure. Car usage in India has been growing by leaps and bounds, and public transportation is practically running at full capacity. If only more companies offer remote working opportunities, the productivity and creativity will shoot up phenomenally. But the question arises – how do we clock hours?
However, one of the major disadvantages of telecommuting is that remote workers miss out on daily interactions in the office, which often results in employees feeling isolated and disconnected from the team and the company as a whole. So how can companies help their remote workers feel empowered and fully part of the team and company even though they’re not physically present? Video conferencing is the answer, and here are some of the ways it can impact companies and their remote workers:
- Video conferencing capabilities can drive telecommuting initiatives by optimizing collaboration.This growing trend is unsurprising, considering that one of the key advantages to video conferencing is enhanced employee performance despite geographically dispersed teams. While most workers use phone, email, and messaging to interact, 80 percent of communication is based on visual cues. Video conferencing allows for the best-quality interactions available next to in-person meetings. Therefore, as employees become more geographically displaced, there is an increased possibility of misunderstanding or reduced flow in exchange of information. Employees capable of participating in meetings over video have a better read on coworker expressions and are far more engaged. This allows them to make more accurate decisions than with any other mode of remote communication.
- Video conferencing helps strengthen virtual teams by helping remote employees integrate more easily into the group. That makes more meetings more productive, shortening cycle times and decision-making for a host of business processes and interactions.
- Like most other lines of business, HR departments are on tight budgets, trying to do more with less. They have fewer people and resources, and yet the challenges they face are increasing, especially as they must support a growing number of remote and mobile workers. By using video conferencing to roll out information on new policies and procedures, train employees on new software or business processes, announce company-wide information, and strengthen corporate bonds, HR can reach all their employees anytime, anywhere. All this can be accomplished without giving up the value of visual communications and without the need for costly and time-consuming travel.
- HR can also use video conferencing to significantly improve their online training. As the marketplace becomes more global and competitive, employees and partners must be well-educated, both to do their jobs efficiently and to make the most of new technology. Organizations must continually train their employees, as quickly as possible and regardless of where they are located in relation to the company or its training staff.
- As companies ramp up hiring, video conferencing can make the recruiting and hiring process much more effective, without increasing costs. Remote applicants can interview with multiple managers and potential colleagues, giving everyone a better idea of one another and whether the candidate is a good fit for the organization. Once they’re hired, new employees can use video conferencing to get up to speed on company policies and procedures and train on applications and processes.
Remote workers and the companies they work for need the benefits of video conferencing to overcome geographical barriers for everything from collaboration to training. Value-added resellers (VARs) that have clients with remote workers can demonstrate the benefits of adding video conferencing equipment, which will provide the VAR with steady commercial, revenue from products and services, and contracts for professional services and maintenance agreements
source: https://yourstory.com; http://www.ingrammicroadvisor.com
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.
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.
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.