Author Archives: Lisa Avvocato

Corporate New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, for New Year’s Resolutions. While individuals resolve to eat healthier and stay in touch more with family and friends, organizations can also take this time to establish new company-wide initiatives that not only affect the bottom line but can also motivate and inspire their teams. Here are a few resolutions companies can drive for 2014:

Reinforce Green Behavior
This can be accomplished is numerous ways such as reducing travel, replacing paper with digital documents or encouraging carpooling among coworkers. It helps to set specific goals such as replacing 10% of business travel with video conferencing or visual collaboration sessions. Additionally, companies can introduce week or month long initiatives to promote recycling, carpooling or reducing the use of paper. For example, a company can declare March carpool month and encourage colleagues who live close to each other to carpool twice a week during the month.

Increase Collaboration Across Teams
Many organizations and teams suffer from information silos; people concentrate on their own tasks instead of the team’s overarching goals or the roles of their colleagues. Companies can help improve collaboration by implementing a company newsletter or deploying unified communications technologies. Newsletters help improve company-wide communication while UC technologies give colleagues the opportunity to connect in both formal (video and web conferences) and informal (IM and video chat) ways. Increased communication and collaboration can help drive productivity through faster decision making and more efficient processes.

Implement Corporate Wellness Programs
The benefits of exercise are enormous and include increased energy, improved moods, reduced stress levels and better sleep. This can translate into happier and more productive employees which can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. Companies can implement a corporate wellness program by providing employees an activity tracker like Fitbit then encourage colleagues to be more active with daily goals and weekly challenges. “Combining collaborative and competitive elements helped motivate employees to walk more and encourage each other. Our staff has been happier and more productive [in the office]” said Maggie Utgoff from Hack Reactor, an organization that recently implemented a similar program.

These are just a few initiatives companies can resolve implement in 2014 to help motivate and inspire their teams. As with any resolution though, have a firm plan in place so resolutions don’t fall by the wayside come February!

The below video resonates with many people as most of us have been on one of those poorly run audio calls. Never knowing who is or isn’t on the call, the constant interruptions, and not knowing who is typing in the background distracting the rest of the group.

The good news is replacing these audio calls with video can solve a lot of those challenges.  Here’s how:

  • The Role Call:  Since everyone is on video you can easily see who is currently on the call, who just joined and who is missing. No more distracting bloop bloops!
  • The Annoying Background Noise:  The active speaker is automatically displayed in the bigger window so you’ll be easily able to see (and call out) who is distracting the group with their incessant typing or barking dog.
  • The Lack of Direction: Video allows you share content, like a nifty little agenda, so can quickly and easily see what has already been discussed and what still needs to be discussed.
  • The Sleeper: Some people think conference calls are a great time to catch up on lost sleep; while you can get away with this on audio those sheeps jumping over your head are a bit more noticeable on video.
  • The Exploder:  Ever have that one person who all of a sudden freaks out and starts yelling about something that was said? Well with video you can see when one of your colleague’s is starting to get antsy then you can either work to placate him or prepare yourself for said explosion.

So start switching your audio calls to video and enjoy being able to see your colleagues instead of just hear them!

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013

December 30th, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Avvocato in Audio Visual Integration | Video Conferencing - (0 Comments)

As another year comes to an end it’s time to reflect on the previous year and create new goals for the coming year. Video conferencing has become ever present, cloud services are continuing to grow and collaboration technology is becoming even cooler.  Here is a look at some of our top blog posts from 2013. We hope you enjoyed reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them!

Have a wonderful and safe New Year and we’ll see you in 2014!

What is Audio Visual Integration?
The term “audio visual integration” is used quite a bit by organizations (including IVCi!) to describe the work that they do. The term is well known within the “industry” and customers may even use the term to describe a potential project, but what does it really mean?

Collaboration for Supply Chain Management
A look into the development of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and how different visual collaboration technologies could have helped with their supply chain management.

Overcoming Obstacles to Telepsychiatry
With the technology used in telepsychiatry becoming more reliable, inexpensive, and ubiquitous, there has been a corresponding increase in mental health professionals who are turning to remote treatments.  However, here are five potential obstacles to telepsychiatry adoption.

What is Collaboration Infographic
We created the below infographic to highlight the many forms that collaboration can take, what some of the benefits are, where collaboration happens and the tools available.

5 Best Practices for Conducting a Video Call
Video conferencing has proven to be a great way to enhance collaboration and increase productivity. However, there are important user elements to keep in mind to ensure a successful video call. Here are 5 best practices to keep in mind.

How to Create Effective Collaborations
Collaboration is now considered an integral part of corporate innovation and success. Here are some tips to create a healthy and productive collaboration structure.

Huddle Up and Collaborate
Huddle spaces or teaming rooms are being implemented in more and more organizations. The make-up of a huddle space varies significantly across organizations, but here are a few examples of solutions we have seen.

Top 10 Video Conferencing Terms
With the rise of video conferencing popularity understanding some of these terms is imperative in choosing the right solution.  Here are 10 of the most common terms and their definitions.

Battle of the Displays: Projector vs. Flat Panel
Selecting the correct display plays an integral role in the effectiveness of a collaboration environment as the wrong type of display can provide a poor user experience.  Here is a look at some of the most popular options.

The Yahoo! Fall-Out
Ever since Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! issued her memo calling back remote workers into the office countless stories and commentaries have been written. To understand this decision; let’s take a look at the different types of collaboration that occurs within an organization on a daily basis.

Why Is Interoperability So Important?

December 16th, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Avvocato in Video Conferencing - (0 Comments)

Interoperability almost always comes up anytime video conferencing is discussed. But what exactly is interoperability and why is it so important?

The definition of interoperability is the ability to make systems and organizations work together (inter-operate). In the video world, it is the ability for two video conferencing systems to connect with each other. For example, a Polycom system is interoperable with any other Polycom system. Or, a standards-based video system is interoperable with any other standards-based video system. However, standards-based video systems do not natively interoperate with consumer desktop clients like Skype or Google Video Chat.

So why is interoperability so important?

Let’s look at two different video conferencing scenarios.  Apple FaceTime and H.323 Standards-Based Systems (Polycom/Cisco Endpoints).

FaceTime is an extremely easy to use video client that is available on all Apple devices. Simply open the application, click on a name in your contacts list, and you’re automatically connected over video when that person picks up. However, FaceTime is only available on Apple devices. If I want to call my mother with it, she has to have an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. If she does not own one of these devices, I simply cannot call her on FaceTime.  While the application may be a terrific way to video conference, it’s only as great as the people who have these devices.

H.323 on the other hand, is a standard video protocol that manufacturers use to allow their systems to speak the same language. Essentially, any system that is based on H.323 standards can communicate with any other system that is based on H.323. As a result, people can video conference anyone on this platform instead of only being able to connect with people who have a device from the same manufacturer.

This is why interoperability is so important – because of the network effect. The value of video conferencing is dependent upon the number of others using it. Or, in other words, the number of different users and systems people can connect to.  If Cisco systems could only connect to Cisco systems the value of video would be extremely limited. What happens if a company with Cisco equipment wants to video conference with one of its suppliers but the supplier has a Polycom video system?  However, if a Cisco endpoint can connect to Polycom, LifeSize, desktop computers, smartphones and tablets – the value rises exponentially.

Another example is desktop unified communications clients such as Microsoft Lync. These clients handle voice, screen sharing, and video all in one application. In many cases, organizations will deploy Lync to thousands of desktop, enabling video conferencing for nearly all its users. With interoperability those users can participate in meetings that are held in conference rooms and with users on different systems. In the case of Lync, native interoperability is becoming more ubiquitous as Lync continues to grow in popularity.

It is important for organizations to ensure whatever solution they implement is truly interoperable and not built as a “walled garden” that can prevent true collaboration from occurring.

Video Conferencing Makes Christmas Wishes Come True

December 13th, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Avvocato in Video Conferencing - (0 Comments)

Canadian airline WestJet used video conferencing to plan a “Christmas Miracle” for 250 of its passengers this holiday season. They set up Santa chat boxes in terminals at Hamilton and Toronto airports and when passengers scanned their boarding pass they were connected via video conference to Santa Claus. From there, they rattled off their wish list ranging anywhere from socks and underwear to a big screen TV. When their flights took off, WestJet volunteers in Calgary worked with Best Buy and CrossIron Mills to gather the gifts.

Watch the heartwarming video below as these passengers get the shock of their lives when their Christmas wishes come true.