Weekly-Re-cap-Banner-NEW-BLUEWelcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

Virtual conferencing is ‘an effective weight loss tool
A weight management program delivered virtually through video conferencing is an effective weight loss tool, according to a new study. Forty-seven obese men, aged between 21 and 60 years old, participated in a 12-week group weight management intervention led by a healthcare provider. Participants in the intervention group lost around nine pounds more than the men not involved in the virtual conferences.

Handling conference calls can be trickier than people think
The awkward silences. The false-starts. The odd background noise. Crying babies, barking dogs, hammer drills. For anyone who’s ever been on a conference call, you know the symptoms of a terrible conference call. This outlines a few simple pointers can help in both audio and video conferencing.

Video links to ease psychiatric services workload
Mental health patients will be treated through video-conferencing for the first time in the south-west as services experience a flood of new cases. South West Healthcare (SWH) has gained $25,000 to install telepsychiatry equipment to treat patients in the far corners of the region. SWH director of mental health services Caroline Byrne told The Standard the service was seeing increased demand “outweighing” the ability to meet it. “This will be the first time that we’re actually using video conference screens for telepsychiatry,” Ms Byrne said.

Customers gain the upper hand in video conferencing market
The “software revolution” of 2013 was the major catalyst for change within the video conferencing industry, with all major video conferencing manufacturers shifting their priorities and moving their focus from specialized hardware to systems software solutions. Many new players have also recently entered the market, bringing new approaches to the implementations of video conferencing systems. This has created serious competition, and with it the promise of many desirable and useful features for users.

4 trends shaping video collaboration in 2014
In today’s business world, with rising economic pressure and immense global competition, improved efficiency has become a crucial factor. One of the biggest advances in enterprise communication available today is the use of video collaboration. This tool is increasingly transforming workplaces, as the benefits of real-time engagement with dispersed teams take collaboration beyond a conventional office environment.

Microsoft Lync is an amazing unified communications and visual collaboration tool that continues to see major adoption across all areas of business. However, there are integration challenges with traditional endpoints and other standard-based video systems. Ray Beaulieu, Senior Director of  Network Operations and Infrastructure at Charles River Labs, talks about some of these challenges as well as gives insight on how the Acano solution helped solve these challenges.

Keep Your Customers In Focus

Focus groups have been around for years; they provide companies with valuable insights on the viability of products, services, marketing campaigns and more. However, the time, effort and costs associated with holding focus groups have traditionally been high. In order to get the wide range of opinions required, organizations need to hold multiple focus groups across multiple geographic regions. Previously, there was no real way to quickly connect to various demographic & geographic consumers.

Enter video conferencing.

Organizations can now connect to consumers like never before. Informal chat sessions along with formal focus groups can easily be held with the click of a button. All consumers need is a personal computer and a webcam.

Here are just a few ways organizations can utilize video conferencing solutions to conduct market research:

Real-Time Feedback: Brands can connect to current product users to find out what they love about the product, what needs improvement or what features they can add. This can be done on a one-on-one basis or in larger groups.

Preview a Marketing Campaign: Brands typically test movie trailers and other advertisements before going to market. Video solutions allow these organizations to show advertisements to a group of individuals then view reactions and hear responses in real time.

Test Market Viability: Before spending a significant amount of money on R&D, organizations can test concepts by presenting ideas and mockups to potential buyers. This allows them to nix most likely unprofitable products before a significant amount of time and effort goes into product development.

Focus groups can provide numerous insights on products and market trends and utilizing video solutions can provide faster, more economical access to consumers. Video provides the face-to-face benefits of a traditional focus group without the time and cost associate with traveling to a specific location. Brands can access a multitude of consumers with a wide range of demographics and geographic areas right from their corporate office.

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What is Call Control?

Call control, by definition, is the process used in communication networks to connect, maintain, route, and terminate connections between endpoints. It is a tool by which organizations can achieve different features or results.

What Does Call Control Do?

Call control provides intelligent traffic and routing and is required for communication beyond point-to-point IP dialing; meaning you have to remember and then enter a 12 digit IP address to connect over video. Here are the tops ways call control can enhance an organizations collaboration environment:

  1. Enable External B2B & B2C Collaboration: Call control provides an easy and secure way to connect with business partners and customers located outside of the network. It allows internal users to stay behind a firewall while still connecting over video allowing users to connect with anyone.
  2. Mobile & BYOD Communication: Call control allows voice or video calls to be routed to multiple devices simultaneously. For example, a call can ring on my desk phone, desktop client and iPhone and I can answer on the device I have available. If I am at my desk I can answer via my desk phone, at home I can answer via my desktop client, and if I’m on the road I can answer via my mobile phone. This eliminates the need for multiple phone numbers.
  3. Unify Disparate Communication Platforms: Call control provides a link between voice, video, IM & Presence clients and allows users to collaborate seamlessly among these applications. For example, colleagues can initiate a conversation through IM then switch over to an audio or video call with the click of a button.
  4. User Friendly Dial Plan: Instead of dialing a phone number or video IP address, users can simply click on name and automatically connect to the call. This can be formatted in a name@company.com address for external video calls and can be added to a global phonebook for internal users.

How Do I Get Call Control?

Call control is not a box with a vendor’s name on it; it is a process that can be performed by several different types of architecture. Determining call control technology depends on the use case and application. Ask yourself the questions below:

  • Do you have existing video endpoints or are you looking to purchase them?
  • Do you wish to communicate with business partners and customers who are external to your network?
  • What are the call patters? Are they point-to-point or multipoint?
  • Do you use IP, H323ID/Alias or SIP URI Dialing?
  • Are voice and video platforms integrated? Is this an objective?

Based on the answers to those questions, a visual collaboration technology partner can recommend the appropriate device. These can include Cisco BE6K, Cisco Collaboration Edge, Polycom Cloud Axis and Polycom DMA.

If you’re interested in learning more about call control or how IVCi can enhance your visual collaboration or unified communications experience tweet us @IVCiLLC or click here to send us an email.

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The Expanding World of Telehealth
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Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM Eastern / 11:00 AM Pacific (US)

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