Communication Considerations for Video Conferencing Remotely

Video conferencing has opened up a world of possibilities for people working together across different time zones and geographic locations. Holding video conferences reduces the need for expensive business travel, which alone can justify the investment with setting up dedicated telepresence rooms at branch offices.  The technology of video conferencing is more user-friendly than ever before, allowing participants to connect from their desktop or mobile device. 

User adoption should be one of the key strategies when deploying video conferencing as a tool

Ok so the technology makes sense, however, it's another story successfully deploying this tool to a workforce.  Many participants report uncertainty in terms of the communication protocol.  Amazingly enough, some users have never used video conferencing to-date, so there is a level of comfort required before they fully embrace this new technology.

Having an effective, productive video conference involves several factors such as cultural differences, time zone considerations and the use of point-to-point versus multipoint conferencing. People from different countries and regions have varying verbal communication styles even when all are speaking the same language. Some may consider interrupting acceptable because it indicates involvement and enthusiasm. Others may find it noticeably rude. Although video conferencing is an excellent option when face-to-face meetings are not possible, these communication style differences still do not go away.

Tip: act the same way you would during a face-to-face meeting while participating in a video conference

Probably best not to try this.

From the clothes you wear, being attentive to participants, and normal pleasantries conveyed in a meeting are also considerations for meeting online during a video conference. 

 

 

Invest in your peripheral equipment for a better experience

Equipment is another factor to consider when setting up video conferencing sessions. Participants in different geographic locations may have different operating systems and installed software that affects the sound and images of a video conference. A manager organizing such a conference can work with these issues ahead of time by issuing an emailed memo to all participants detailing which hardware or software they will need.

Projecting clear audio is paramount for a successful video conference.  Participants can be connected from home offices, cafes, or from their office workstation in an open work area.  In these scenarios, back ground noise may be a distraction to your meeting.  Using a USB headset can eliminate these distractions, plus it keeps your attention focused on the meeting.  Other options such as, echo-cancelling desktop microphones work extremely well, without having to wear a headset and looking like the pilot in your meeting.

Tip: use the active speaker layout

Active speaker layout presents the person speaking in the larger center window frame

Voice activated display is a feature that can be used throughout a group meeting.  This layout option will display the active speaker in a larger center window frame.  Again, it will help to keep the attention on the speaker at hand.   

 

 

Most importantly, include all staff in the primary reasons to implement video conferencing as a tool in your company.  If the technology will be saving your business x amount of dollars, be sure to let them know this and keep them updated as more efficiencies are discovered.  Keeping all engaged will help encourage more usage, which means less travel expenditures, and less time typing emails!


Myths about the Use of Telepresence

Technology has changed rapidly in recent years. What was once only viable in the ideas of science fiction writers is becoming a reality today. Telepresence is one of those areas that was seen in futuristic novels and television shows not that long ago for some people. However, there are still some myths that surround this technology, making it critical to debunk those myths and move forward with its use.

It Uses Too Much Bandwidth

Bandwidth is often a major concern for businesses and educational facilities. Using too much bandwidth costs money and slows down the online experience for everyone. This is why many companies and schools have been hesitant to use video conferencing. However, with advances in technology and changes to coding, these conferences now use more than 50 percent less bandwidth, making it a viable option for many.

It Costs Too Much

Businesses are constantly seeking ways to save money to increase their profits. Telepresence seems like it would be a costly way to keep in touch and hold meetings. Those who think this technology costs too much, though, have not likely looked at all their options. There are many services available that offer these services at reasonable rates, especially if you will be using it often. In most cases, when compared to travel reimbursements and lost time at work, the cost of any telepresence service is well worth it.

It Has a Limited Reach

Some people mistakenly think video conferencing can only be used by executives or within a particular organization. This is also not true. Video conferencing does not limit what you can do. Instead, it increases your ability to do more and reach more people. You can now hold instant meetings with your clients, other locations for your business and even your vendors. With telepresence, your options are almost literally endless.

Don't allow the use of new technology or the myths that surround telepresence keep you from taking advantage. Instead, do your research and learn which information is true and which is a myth. Once you can get beyond the myths, you will see how useful this technology can be for your business.

CERN Switches to Vidyo

When it comes to videoconferencing, no one is pickier than CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.  Founded in 1954 and straddling the border between France and Switzerland, this massive facility is home to some of the most cutting-edge research in physics.

Home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful partical accelerator, CERN houses research by over half of the world's particle physicists - about 6500 people. They come from over 500 universities in 80 countries.

CERN's staff also includes highly specialized engineers, technicians, designers and craftspeople. All told, about 3000 people are employed to prepare, run, analyze and interpret the complex scientific experiments that make CERN a successful scientific organization. 

So when CERN made the decision to retire its proprietary video conferencing system and switch to Vidyo, it made headlines.

According to Dr. Tom Smith, the leader of Collaboration and Information Services Group at CERN’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, commercial products often lag behind those created by CERN when it comes to capabilities.   “Quite often what we do is invent our own because of a need we can’t meet,” he says.

To that effect, CERN has used a privately developed videoconferencing system since 1996, which has remained in use until this year.  This system outstripped anything commercially available for years.

But CERN is not in the business of lagging behind the time, and the researchers kept an eye out for new technologies to service their needs. 

In that vein, CERN piloted Vidyo’s conferencing gear roughly in 2009 or 2010, he says, to see whether it could scale to the needs of the organization, which supports 250 conferences per day, with 3,000 individuals participating in those conferences. The largest single conference had more than 250 participants, and overall provided connectivity for 3,000 connections of independent users in a day.

While CERN hasn't completely moved over to Vidyo, the product's support for iOS devices and scalable video coding (SVC) makes it very attractive.  

The equipment supports devices running Windows, iOS, Linux and Android. In a pinch participants could use smartphones and they have, but that’s a last resort as when a conference participant has to catch a plane and the only option is to conference in from the airport, Smith says. Support for iOS devices was something the proprietary system lacked, he says.

CERN is best known to non-scientists as the facility that discovered the so-called "God Particle," also known as the Higgs Boson, in 2012.  While the discovery made front page news, most lay people have no idea what the Higgs boson--or any boson, for that matter--even is.  According to Jonathan Atteberry at HowStuffWorks.com,

Some physicists have described bosons as weights anchored by mysterious rubber bands to the matter particles that generate them. Using this analogy, we can think of the particles constantly snapping back out of existence in an instant and yet equally capable of getting entangled with other rubber bands attached to other bosons (and imparting force in the process).

Finding the boson was no easy task.  It required time, money, communication, and tons and tons of data.  As Cornell associate professor Peter Wittich explains,

...the Large Hadron Collider works by smashing beams of protons together, with the collisions recorded by cameras taking 40 million pictures a second. “We think of ourselves as big data pioneers,” said Wittich, describing the analysis necessary to find significant events. “It’s the ultimate needle in a haystack. Out of 6 million billion collisions there are maybe 100,000 Higgs events, and we can find maybe 1 percent of them.”

While Higgs may be the most famous of the CERN experiments, it isn't the only one.  Here are a few other projects they are working on.

  • ALPHA: A project which makes, captures and studies atoms of antihydrogen to compare to regular hydrogen atoms.
  • CAST: A project searching for hypothetical particles called axions, which could explain differences between matter and antimatter.
  • OSQAR: An experiment seeking particle components of dark matter in order to explain why our universe is made of matter instead of antimatter.

And not content to seek answers in the tiny recesses of atomic space, CERN researchers are also on a quest to discover a rare archeological find - the very first Web page!

The key to the success of these and other large scale experiments lies in the ability of scientist, researchers and support personel to quickly and efficiently share data and ideas.  That's where video conferencing comes in, and that's where Vidyo shines!

How Telepresence Services Can Help You

With all the changes in technology today, it is now easier to reach out to people around the world without the cost and time constraints of travel. Instead, you can easily see and hear someone who is on the other side of the world in an instant with the help of a telepresence service. Learning when telepresence can save you time and money will allow you to choose if it is the right step to meet your needs.

Business Meetings

Whether you are meeting with an important client or it is a company meeting with employees in different locations, it isn't always easy to coordinate the meeting. If some of the meeting members are dispersed throughout the city or even around the globe, someone will have to spend the time and money traveling to another location. Holding the meeting with a telepresence service for those who are farther away can provide you with the chance to reach out without requiring the travel.

Online Education

More colleges are offering online options for people who want to attend school, from elementary school all the way up to college programs, even graduate schools. A telepresence service can help you set up online classes where the students attend virtually instead of coming into class. This can be a great way to provide students with the flexibility they desire without sacrificing the critical interactions between students and professors.

Business Conferences and Presentations

Similar to business meetings, conferences and presentations often used to mean travel for at least some of the attendees. This travel was often paid for or reimbursed by the business, leading to increased costs. In addition, those who had to travel missed time from work, which can lead to lower levels of productivity. When these employees are allowed to use a telepresence service to attend these conferences and presentations, it saves the business money, allows the employee to continue working before and after the event, and increases productivity.

A telepresence service can be a great way for you to reach out effortlessly to those you couldn't previously reach. Whether you wish to use this technology for business meetings, business conferences or online classes, it creates the ability for everyone to be right in the room, regardless of their actual location.

 

VidyoMobile: The Must-Have App for Your Mobile Workforce

"Connectivity is like oxygen for today's mobile workers. The improved ability to work anywhere as long as they are connected appears to be driving higher productivity. This reinforces the need for IT departments to provide services that ensure high quality, safe and affordable global connectivity for their employees," -- MarketWired.

The new mobility required of today's workforce demands new strategies for properly equipping those workers.

Picture the following scenario. Your primary client just offered you the largest contract your business has ever seen -- providing you can deliver his or her request quickly. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, and passing it up is unthinkable.

You've got the staff and the expertise to fulfill this request, but unfortunately, they're currently scattered across the globe. Perhaps your best IT folks are in the office, but half of your marketing department is at a leading industry conference in Mumbai, your Research and Development head is working from home, and your go-to employee from Accounting is on vacation.

Your key players all have different mobile devices, and you need them on a video conference call in an hour, or the deal disintegrates. What do you do?

Do you have a solution?

With the free VidyoMobile app installed on your workers' devices, you're all set. Whether Andriod or iOS based, VidyoMobile allows your scattered employees to digitally meet face to face at a moment's notice.

Because VidyoMobile can connect via Wifi, 3G, or 4G, your team can assemble despite the fact that they each may have to access wireless connectivity using different protocols. Your now quickly assembled team will enjoy the seamless integration with your Vidyo subscription services delivered by Batipi.

Don't let that once-in-a-lifetime contract elude you due to inability to quickly and efficiently assemble your team, regardless of their physical location or mobile device.

To get started using the VidyoMobile feature with your account, have users download the respective application for iOS and Android, from their mobile or tablet device.  Each user will require their account login details, such as, the portal url, along with the username and password.  Contact us for more detailed instructions.

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