video conferencing

Using video conferencing to collaborate at work

As technology increases, the traditional ways people communicate has changed. Workers can now communicate much easier than they were previously able to do. Now all it takes is just a few clicks and you're instantly connected to those you'd wish to talk with. Video conferencing has made collaboration between people and businesses much more easier. Instead of having to meet in person, or make long distance phone calls, those on the cutting edge, can just start a video conference and collaborate on any matter they need to. The best part is it's extremely easy to do without much cost.  All that's needed is an internet connection and a computer (of course your webcam helps too.) Now collaboration in the workplace has never been easier.  Say a business needs to call up another to analyze which strategic path the pair should make next, years ago, this would have either been a normal phone call or even a visit. However with video conferencing they'd be able to converse in hardly no time at all.

The people of yesteryear dreamed about this sort of technology as if it were science fiction, just as we do with flying cars. They never imagined that it would become a reality. Video conferencing also allows people to show charts and other documents, allowing for better collaboration between two companies. There are no limits on how much video conferencing can help improve business collaboration. Some programs even allow those who are conferencing to draw graphs and show the other person stuff right from their screens. Another plus to this is that it's much cheaper than flying in to collaborate or even paying for long distance phone calls (plus phone calls are less personable). Collaboration is a very important part of running a successful business, and for keeping business networks strong. By using video conferencing, it allows people to collaborate right from their own office, from their desk, or even mobile phone, which saves time and money. It's also much more personal than an email or a regular phone call, which can help strengthen the bond between two businesses. Seeing the person whom you are talking to is more important than most would think, just as body language is. Seeing who you are talking with, and being able to get your ideas out and show proof is very important. Video conferencing just makes all of this so much easier and quicker as well.

Many businesses would be lost without video conferencing, as it deeply enriches their collaboration between themselves and other businesses. This is why technology should always be utilized when it comes down to business. Collaboration is much easier when video conferencing is used, and it doesn't take away from the personal effect either. And since a video conference can be held at anytime, the ties between the collaborators will in turn be much stronger than previously. The future is here, and part of that future is it's technology. By using technology, including video conferencing, your business will be stronger and better than ever imagined.

Busting Myths About Video Conferencing

In a rapidly advancing technological age in which we have invented glowing plants, machines that print food, and computer interfaces from the future, one would think that businesses everywhere would be using video conferencing as often as they use a copy machine.

But they haven't.

Oddly enough, people are reluctant about the technology. In his many years of telecommuting, one worker observed how rare video conferencing had been used, and he lamented how much more efficient and human his work experience could have been if businesses were more open to video conferencing. He also noted that 2012 saw 27 million simultaneous video conferencing sessions on Skype between personal, non-business users. The business world, he felt, is far behind the rest of society.

A part of the problem is the proliferation of myths about video conferencing. The following tall tales about the technology need to be busted in the business community:

1. Videoconferencing is so complex that only a business with an IT staff can manage it.

That might have been true years ago, but not anymore. Recent products have consolidated tasks and features into all-in-one systems that are intuitive, user-friendly and do not require a genius to operate or set up. The technology continues to advance, and every year brings a new wave of products that become easier to manage. Some of the best all-in-one systems are the HDTV products that combine everything -- including the computer technology -- into one thin, portable HDTV.

2. Videoconferencing costs too much.

The price gets lower every year. Companies can find high-quality products that will outfit a room with video conferencing for less than a grand. In addition, third-party companies can host your telepresence for an affordable price, which eliminates the need to purchase expensive in-house assets such as servers.

3. The new equipment has to match the company's old video equipment.

Companies who build conference technology understand that clients don't want to spend loads of money replacing everything from the ground up if they don't have to. That's why most newer video conferencing systems are designed to fit right into older video components that might already exist in your board room.

With each new year of advancement in conferencing technology, there are fewer excuses to not move more communications into the video conferencing arena. The value of real-time face-to-face connections will quickly become apparent, especially after you see how affordable and manageable the technology has become.

Learn more about our pricing for hosted telepresence.  If your company is new to using this technology, start by enabling a select group of users at your organization.  If successful, they will become an invaluable resource to you when introducing the technology to the whole company. 

 

Companies Drop Email in Favor of Direct Communication Tools

According to CBC News, Italian sports car maker Ferrari delivered an eyebrow raising directive to their employees earlier this month: Sending the same email to more than three in-house recipients is no longer allowed. In the message sent to its employees, Ferrari cited time wastage and inefficiency as the impetus behind the new order. It stated:

The injudicious sending of emails with dozens of recipients often on subjects with no relevance to most of the latter is one of the main causes of time wastage and inefficiency in the average working day in business.

Simply stated, the email regulation encourages employees to talk more and write less

Ferrari is not the only company to recognize the importance of direct communication and restructure the workplace to facilitate it. Atos, a global technology firm, announced a zero email initiative in 2011 with plans to phase out email--and adopt replacement tools such as video conferencing--completely by 2014. Atos chief executive, Thierry Breton, had estimated that barely 10% of the 200 internal emails employees received per day were useful. In fact, Breton likened email to "pollution" in an otherwise productive day. 

Less typing means more talking!

Less typing means more talking!

In a March 2013 update on the changes, The Connected Business reported ongoing and significant success. Since 2011, Atos employees have trimmed email and adopted more cloud-based collaboration tools that facilitate real-time communication. The IT firm expects to see complete obsoletion of internal emails by the end of 2013, with the eventual goal of zero emails--internal and external--in 2014.

The move away from email and toward more collaborative communication technology started much earlier. Consider a study published by Wainhouse Research in 2005, The Business Case for Video Conferencing. In this study, authors Andrew W. Davis and Ira M. Weinstein stated that although email had at one time been an important technological development and served its users well, by 2005, it had become so day-to-day that it was bothersome. Everyone used email for everything, whether it was of value or not. The study suggests, even eight years ago, that a natural evolution was nudging us away from email toward more advanced real-time communication technology.

The authors of the Wainhouse study reported what we, Atos, and Ferrari know now: that real-time communication like video conferencing, cuts email clutter, increases productivity, improves problem solving, and adds purpose to our interactions. The trend will only continue. Are you on board with the right tools?

Video Conferencing: Guaranteed to Save You Time and Money!!!

“I want a driveway so long you couldn’t see the end of it even if you were 26.1 miles into running a marathon on it. But why would you run? That’s why my clone will have invented teleportation.
”  ― Jarod KintzThis Book Has No Title

Networking with a variety of companies is said to be diverse, but meetings, interviews, and conferences in various locations and at different times can become very overwhelming. For a moment you may just need to close your eyes and imagine how convenient the future would be for the business  professional; entrepreneur, or the small business owner, to show up in a timely manner to  all relevant business functions; a startup event, a workshop, or a private monthly meeting, through teleporting.

Presently, we are not in the future. But video conferencing can get you set up in a meeting with colleagues, and other business associates, in a professional fashion. As pretentious as teleportation may sound right now; telepresence  allows  communication by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. Depending on the provider of this telecommunication service, video conferencing is available at anytime in a high definition video resolution.  Moreover, you can know expect immersive communication similar to your experiences during an in-person meeting. Guaranteed is less travel, as well as creating and maintaining competitive advantages; once investing in video conferencing. The business must disperse at some point, as it expands, and also increase its productivity. There is really no need to depend on non verbal visual cues through phone, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), or other work applications; you and the participant(s) in the meeting are focused now more on the conversation because you can be seen and heard.

So while scientists continue to work on breaking down the technical side of teleportation, we have communication tools available today that can put us in more then one place at one time.  Phone and email may not be a substitute for business travel requirements, however, video conferencing now offers are true alternative to in person meetings.  A best practice that could allow you to run your business more lean and improve communication internally and with clients. 

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!


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