Author Archives: Danielle Downs

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As I sit here on the eve of thanksgiving, thinking about the holiday and what I am thankful for, one of the first things that comes to mind  is how thankful I am for the ability to work remotely. With the use of video conferencing I have been able to travel and spend the holiday week with my family all while still staying connected with colleagues and able to conduct face to face meetings.

The ability to connect and collaborate with people from anywhere at anytime is just one of the many benefits of video conferencing. That being said, there are a few specific features on a video call that I am very thankful for every day.  So in honor of the thanksgiving spirit, I have chosen my top 3 to share with you.

1. Muting – Nothing is more distracting when trying to focus during a video call then hearing loud background noise, keyboard typing or phones ringing. Having the ability to mute participants while on a call is very beneficial when dealing with those obnoxious distractions. Many video conferencing offerings have the ability to either mute all (convenient when someone is giving a presentation) or to individually mute unruly participants.

2. One-click calling – The age old problem with video conferencing has been how difficult it is to use. With one-click calling video can be as easy as making a phone call. This means no more confusing meetings where no one can figure out how to get the video call started, remote participants can’t dial in, and inevitably everyone ends up dialing in over audio out of pure frustration.

3.  Self view functionality – When first starting to use video, having the self-view window was very important to me as I was always concerned about the facial expressions I was making during the call. The self-view window also helps for making sure the lighting and your positioning in front of the camera is correct because nothing is worse than talking with someone who is sitting with a sunny window behind them and the camera positioned so you are looking up their nostrils.

What video features are you thankful for? Share in the comments section below!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

 

 

This Week In Collaboration

November 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Danielle Downs in Collaboration | Education | Healthcare | Industry News - (0 Comments)

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Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

1. Telework rapidly gains momentum but are businesses managing the risks

The increase in telework has been rapidly changing the dynamics of the workplace and employees are reaping the rewards that telework provides. These benefits include  reduced office costs, reduced staff turnover, greater work/life balance, and increased productivity. However, because work health and safety legislation apply to home-based working as well as office based work, companies considering telework arrangements need to make sure they implement appropriate guidelines and policies to minimize risks and ensure a safe workforce.

2. The technology that helps band kids in rural Nebraska unlock their potential

For music students in rural areas, getting specialized training can be very difficult due to lack of teachers and resources. In response to this, Nebraska has started using video conferencing to link students with instructors at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Leveraging video conferencing has allowed music to stay alive in these rural Nebraska towns.

3. How OHSU used telemedicine to save a baby’s life

When a baby came down with a difficult to diagnose virus, a physician at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, called for a telemedicine consultation with Oregon Health & Science University pediatric intensivist. The doctor examined the child via a two way communication system with a robot like device at the patients end and a telemedicine computer workstation on the OHSU end. They were able to determine the baby had a life threatening bacterial infection that required immediate attention.

4. Cisco unveils mobile enhancements to collaboration suite 

As telework and mobile work forces continue to mature and increase across the country, technology companies are racing to supply these modern workers with the tools they need to get the job done. Cisco has announced several new solutions at it’s collaboration summit last month. Some of those include the new Cisco Gateway, the Jabber Guest feature, and several new communication endpoint technologies and products.

5. Videoconference meetings can boost business relationships and productivity 

94% of people believe that face-to-face communications improve business relationships, according to a survey released by Blue Jeans Network. The survey also found that talking to a person’s face is vital to avoiding preconceptions. These significant statistics continue to prove the effectiveness of video conferencing as a corporate communications tool.

10 Tips for Acing a Video Interview

November 18th, 2013 | Posted by Danielle Downs in Video Conferencing - (0 Comments)

Video interviewing has been consistently gaining traction with hiring managers and recruiters over the last few years due to the time savings and the ability to cut down on travel expenses. Video interviews also give companies insights they would not be able to get over the phone or when reviewing a paper resume including body language and personality.

That being said, video interviews can seem very daunting to anyone unfamiliar or uncomfortable using video conferencing technology. With the prevalence of video interviewing growing rapidly it is essential to understand both the technology and the etiquette in order to make the best impression.

Here are 10 tips for both preparing and conducting your video interview.

  1. Choose a Quiet and Clean Surrounding:  Make sure you set yourself up with a simple neutral background. Elaborate backdrops can be very distracting. Choose a place that has little to no noise and where you will not have people distracting you or the interviewer.
  2. Be Aware Background Noise: The microphone picks up all noises so avoid typing, shuffling papers, or tapping your pen while on the video call.
  3. Make Eye Contact: Look directly in to the camera. You want to make eye contact with the interviewer and that means looking in to the camera, not at the screen or the picture-in-picture screen of yourself.
  4. Use the Picture-in-Picture Feature: Although you should look directly in to the camera for making eye contact, having the PiP feature enabled will help to make sure you appear professionally to the interviewer. Just make sure you only glance at it once in a while.
  5. Dress Professionally: You need to look your best on camera. Dress as if you would for an in-person interview. Solid colors tend to come across best on video, and you should avoid patterns and white as they tend to be distracting or will wash you out.
  6. Practice Makes Perfect: If possible do a video run through with a friend before the interview. Practice answering questions over video and get feedback on your demeanor. Also, take note of your appearance over video and ask your friend to let you know of any thing you were doing that might be distracting.
  7. Good Posture: Sit up straight and try not to slouch, fidget, or look away from the camera. It is very important to show you are engaged, as it is much easier to appear uninterested when over video. Act as if you were in the interviewers office.
  8. Close Other Programs on Your Computer: Notifications from instant messaging programs or social media are both distracting and look unprofessional. Also, too many open programs on your computer can slow your computer speed which can reduce your video quality.
  9. Use Notes: One of the benefits of a video interview is that you can have notes. Notes are ok but make them short, easy to scan, and position them in front of you so that when you refer to them you aren’t looking down.
  10. Test your audio and video: Prior to your interview test your video and audio quality and resolve any technical issues that arise. This will help to alleviate any problems when the interview starts which can be both flustering to the interviewee and take away from the time of the interview if it is on a strict time schedule.

 

What Does an AV Room Consist Of?

November 13th, 2013 | Posted by Danielle Downs in Audio Visual Integration | Collaboration - (0 Comments)

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What is an AV Room? A place to collaborate? A place to meet with remote team members? A place to present PowerPoint slides?

While the correct answer may be all of the above; none of these functions would happen without the proper design and configuration of the space. Technology integration and the actual room environment  are essential considerations when designing an optimal meeting space. As stated by Tim Hennen, SVP of Engineering at IVCi, “An audio visual integrated room is a meld of art and science. The art is in the design of the room itself; the lighting, furniture, and the selection of the right technologies that will eventually come together. The science comes in with the building of those technology connections and making each device work together as if they were one.”

That being said, there are 4 core design and technology components that are imperative when creating an effective collaboration environment. Understanding these will also help with determining what you would like to accomplish within the room.

Video
“What do you want to see?” Video in an AV room is about the display of content, how you see meeting participants on the other side of the video call,  and how remote participants see you. The equipment associated with video includes cameras, displays, a matrix switcher, a digital video processor, and a codec.

Audio
“How do you want to hear/be heard?” Audio in an AV room is about how audio is projected in the room, how sound is sent to remote participants, and how you are heard to remote participants. Equipment for audio includes speakers, microphones, acoustic panels, and an audio control system.

Control
“How do you want to control the room?” Control in an AV room is about managing what you display, where you display it, and who is heard. The equipment involved includes a control processor and the control panel.

Lighting
“How will the room be lit properly?” Lighting in an AV room is about where the lighting is placed, where current natural light sources are located, and where you want your furniture and equipment placed. Lights, shades, and lighting placement are the essentials associated with lighting in an AV room.

Understanding how these components affect the collaboration space is as important as selecting the the technology itself. Poor lighting or acoustics impact the collaboration experience just as much as not having the right video conferencing or presentation equipment. Download a copy of our AV Buyers guide for detailed explanations of each core component in addition to some handy tips and tricks.

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This Week In Collaboration

November 8th, 2013 | Posted by Danielle Downs in Collaboration | Education | Healthcare | Industry News | Video Conferencing - (0 Comments)

This-week-in-collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

1. Using collaboration as a sales tool

New technology is transforming meeting rooms. Important aspects needed to be taken in to consideration when selecting the right collaboration technology. These factors include ease of use, ability to collaborate with meeting participants, content sharing capability, and quicker start up.

2. Extending Video to the Web through Open Source H.264

Up until now video has not been natively possible through a web browser. WebRTC has been the answer to that, however, speed bumps have been hit around choosing a video codec for the browser. In response, Cisco has announced their plan to open-source their H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

3. Reducing Risk by Way of Cloud

Increasingly, UC premises-based solutions are not physical, but instead software based on standard or virtualized servers. The reason for this move to the cloud is actually so the buyer can shift the responsibility for actual results to the provider.

4. The Therapist Will Skype You Now

School of Social Work professor Namkee Choi brought psychotherapy to aging adults’ homes through Skype. This study used a method called Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) and compared the Skype videoconference to in person and telephone support calls. Results showed a significant reduction in depression symptoms and highe evaluation scores from the tele-PST group than the in-person PST group.

5. Clemson University library unveils classroom of the future

The new digital resources laboratory at Clemson University includes a supercomputer connection 10,000 times faster than the typical home Internet connection and synchronized ultra-high-definition video screens that span 60-square feet. This lab offer students and professors a place to share ideas and enables up to 4 remote audiences at a time via video conferencing.