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.

 

The-Lync-Integration-Challenge

Microsoft Lync continues to gain traction as a viable desktop communications solution that encompasses IM, presence, voice, video and more. Millions of users are now using it as a daily tool and millions more are coming on-line every year.

One of the challenges with Lync is how to integrate it into the rest of a collaboration environment. Microsoft has done a great job of creating a solution that can incorporate as many users as possible; however, there are limitations in how Lync can speak to solutions from other companies, such as Cisco and Lifesize. As the ubiquity of Lync has increased, so has the desire for customers to integrate it into their company work flow. A countless number of organizations have responded with solutions that provide integration of Lync to nearly any other type of solution.

Blue Jeans Network
Blue Jeans has developed integration for Lync 2010 & 2013 that enables users to connect to a virtual meeting room that can interoperate with nearly any other solution out there. If an organization uses Cisco or Lifesize for video, all users can simply connect to Blue Jeans and meet. In addition, the service supports the sharing and receiving of content within the Lync client.

Polycom
Polycom has closely aligned with Microsoft and manufactures dozens of video conferencing and audio conferencing products that natively integrate with Lync. This allows Lync users to call a Polycom system simply by finding it in their buddy list. In addition, as Lync continues to grow as a viable alternative to a standard PBX, Polycom is providing their award winning line of phones with native Lync integration. This includes presence and the ability to login with a Lync identity so the phone is aware of whom the user is.

Acano
Acano is a new start-up that has created a highly scalable conferencing solution that supports video, voice, and web. Their solution provides enterprise grade integration to Lync 2010 and 2013 that enables content sharing, video, and more. Acano also has a web-based client that makes it easy for anyone to join a meeting that includes participants using Lync as well as standards based video conferencing or even those on a voice call.

Microsoft
In the two years since Microsoft closed on its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype, they have been working hard to integrate the over 300 million users into all areas of their product offering. This includes Outlook.com, Sharepoint, and more. Most recently, Microsoft has enabled Skype to Lync audio calling and instant messaging. Eventually native video calling will be enabled. As a result, tens of millions of Lync users will be able to seamlessly communicate with Skype.

Lync is expanding rapidly and the market is responding with many solutions to extend the reach of Lync beyond an organization’s internal teams. As organizations evaluate Lync deployments, they now have many options to consider when it comes to integrating Lync into their already established systems and workflow. That flexibility will only accelerate Lync’s adoption at every level.

Distance learning programs have been around for years.  They’re a great way to extend a college or university’s reach to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend. For example, moving across the country or sometimes even the state isn’t feasible. However, with distance learning programs, these students can attend classes from their home and receive their degree remotely.

Over the years the method of delivering distance learning programs has evolved significantly.  The first virtual classroom wasn’t much of a classroom at all. Professors would upload PowerPoint presentations with voice clips attached to each slide and students would listen to each session on their own time. To facilitate discussion, professors could pose questions on message boards and require students to post responses or comment on each other’s posts.  Unfortunately, these classes lacked the interactivity and group discussion typically found in a traditional classroom. Students were unable to ask questions or discuss topics in real time causing an isolated learning experience.

Then web conferencing solutions came along. These solutions allowed a presenter to share content (a presentation) and talk through the slides while participants joined the conference and followed along virtually. This allowed students to ask questions and participate in real-time, making the learning experience much more interactive. However, these solutions lacked the face-to-face interaction common in traditional classrooms which allows students to bond and develop relationships with each other; both of which are necessary to stimulate open discussion.

Eventually, video conferencing began to integrate into web conferencing solutions. Cloud-based virtual meeting rooms were also developed which provided a way for professors and students to interact face-to-face while simultaneously viewing the presentation. This created a more interactive learning environment and allowed a virtual classroom to more closely emulate a traditional classroom.  However, the ability break out into small groups during class or work on group projects still presented a challenge. These services were not scalable and it was cost prohibitive to give small groups of students their own room let alone give each student his or her own virtual meeting.

Acano, a visual collaboration technology that was recently introduced, overcomes these scalability barriers and allows virtual classrooms to truly rival a traditional classroom. Every distance learning student can receive their own account and licenses can be redistributed as students graduate or leave the program. Virtual meeting rooms can be set up for each class and students can be subscribed to the classes they are registered for.  Additionally, professors can set up separate rooms for breakout sessions then subscribe small groups of students.  A list of rooms that users are subscribed to is always available, allowing students and professors to easily switch between different classes and breakout groups.  As a result, distance learning students are able to listen to a lecture while simultaneously viewing the presentation, easily engaging and interacting with professors and their peers, as well as participating in both class and group discussions.

Virtual Classroom CTA

Advancements in video conferencing technology have continued to propel its usage and adoption. Cost of ownership along with different interoperability barriers have decreased while ease of use and scalability have increased.  It’s no wonder that 76% of respondents in a recent survey conducted by Polycom and Redshift Research say they use video solutions at work today while 56% of those users participate in at least one call per week.

Video conferencing is quickly becoming the “go to” tool in business today. Check out the infographic below for other interesting facts from the survey including top dos and don’ts during video calls.

This-week-in-collaboration

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

1. Distance Education 2.0

The MOOC movement allows professors to reach anyone in the world with an internet connection through these online open courses. Specifically, China has put a focus on MOOC’s in order to try and improve their domestic education.

2. Taking Video Conferencing out of the boardroom

With mobile devices being used for video conferencing increasing over the last couple years, companies have been able to expand their video environment outside of the boardroom. This is due in part to the interoperability and decreased costs that mobile devices bring to the video conferencing industry.

3. Doctor Visit in the Palm of your hand

New technology allows mobile users to pay a fee to find a practitioner for an immediate live video visit. This can help increase access to doctors regardless of time or location.

4. The tricky balancing act of mobile security

As the demand for mobility and BYOD increases, the need for more advanced mobile security policies increases as well. The main challenge when creating these policies tends to be allowing employees the information that they need without compromising the data or infrastructure.

5. The many advantages of Video Interviews 

Both employers and job seekers can benefit from using video conferencing for interviews. This outlines the benefits for both parties as well as certain things to take in to consideration as the interviewee.