Polycom’s Ted Colton demonstrates the company’s telehealth solutions along with their integration to IBM’s Care Manager. This truly shows the power of visual collaboration when integrated into healthcare applications. One click within the Care Manager application can initiate a video conference with patients or other healthcare providers who can be on a PC, tablet or smartphone.

5-W's-of-a-Video-Conferencing-Strategy

Video conferencing initiatives continue to be an increasing priority to many organizations. With advancements in technology, the promise of connecting people anywhere, any time, on any device is now an attainable goal when video collaboration is implemented correctly. The first step in this process is to put together a solid video collaboration strategy.

As a starting point, here are 5 important for getting your video strategy off on the right foot.

Who will be using video?
More specifically, what business units will be using video? Will this be for executives only? Will different departments have access to the video conferencing equipment/services?

What will they be using it for?
What type of meetings will be taking place when using video conferencing? Will they be internal or also have external participants? Will they be point to point meetings or will you need multipoint capabilities for larger meetings? Determining your priorities for these meetings will help with demonstrating immediate value.

Where will these meetings take place?
Will you have dedicated conference rooms with video conferencing equipment? Will these be in all of your locations? Will you allow desktop video conferencing and mobile conferencing abilities? These questions will also help with determining what type of technologies and if you need to implement a BYOD policy.

When will this be purchased?
What is your purchasing procedure? Will this be something that you can move forward with once the correct technologies are determined? Does your organization view video conferencing as an op-ex or cap-ex purchase? These questions are important for determining the best way to purchase this equipment and if certain options like leasing might make sense.

Why do you want to implement video?
This may be the most important question when putting together your video strategy. You must determine what your organization is trying to accomplish and what the goals are with regards to video collaboration. Once this question is answered, you will be able to choose correct technologies and implement a strategy that will work towards those goals.

Once you are successfully able to answer these 5 questions your next step will be to determine the technology, and equally as important, begin creating a video adoption strategy. IVCi can help you build a high quality video conferencing strategy and implementation as well as assist with adoption and usage strategies.

Are you ready to move forward with your video conferencing strategy? Contact us for a free consultation.

AV-Trends

With 2013 solidly in our rear view, 2014 is presenting some exciting new developments in the world of audio visual integration and technology. Based on what happened in 2013 from a product perspective, as well as new habits of users, we see several key trends emerging this year.

1. Content is King
For many years, AV rooms have focused upon the users participating in the meeting and ensuring that they look and sound as good as possible. Especially in rooms that feature video conferencing, clarity has been a priority. The world is changing quite rapidly and with the maturity of big data, the content of a meeting is becoming just as, if not more important, then the participants.

Meeting participants will want to review items as simple as a spreadsheet or as complicated as a 3D rendering of a new product. Providing the highest fidelity visualization of this data is a trend that many manufacturers have focused on. Solutions from Cyviz, Oblong, and others have brought data front and center through the development of high resolution displays and content centric interfaces. Additionally, the added resolution of 4K displays will only help to enhance the viewing of content that requires the highest fidelity including medical imagery (MRIs, etc).  

2. Collaborate Anywhere
The elaborate conference room with the latest in AV technology is certainly not going away but many organizations are looking to expand beyond that. Collaboration rooms, huddle rooms, teaming spaces or whatever you want to call them are emerging as the next phase of AV for many organizations. These implementations are often quite simple; a display with some sort of content sharing device. Furniture is plays an important role in these spaces as well and companies such as Steelcase and Ashton Bentley are focusing on delivering the type of furniture setups that help enhance the collaborative experience.

3. BYOD in the Room
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has come of age and countless organizations are now supporting a myriad of employee owned devices including tablets and smartphones. Users are empowered to connect to their corporate email, load personal and company apps, and interact both inside and outside the company. Solutions continue to come to market that allow individuals to bring their device into an AV integrated room and interact with fellow participants and content. 2014 should see this trend continue.  Crestron’s AirMedia allows up to 32 meeting participants to share content simultaneously from iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. They can also receive content from the room and interact with it.

4. 4K
More affordable 4k displays (displays with resolutions of 4000 pixels) are making their way to the market and have already started to reach high end consumers. 2014 will see 4K integrated into more and more AV rooms. On the consumer side the challenge is the availability of 4k content. This is changing rapidly, though, with several streaming services announcing plans to offer this. Netflix has recently announced that its original series, House of Cards, will be shot and produced in 4k for its second season. This will then enable Netflix to stream it in 4k as well. With consumer adoption coming at a rapid pace, 4k will find its way into a myriad of applications in both the professional and consumer world.

5. Wires are so 2013
2014 will continue the trend of wireless communications protocols taking over in AV integrated rooms. Recently, 1080p streaming has been announced from several manufacturers. In addition, wireless audio continues to improve. Even consumer technologies have added wireless content capabilities, including the AppleTV and Chromcast from Google.

Not only will technology trends influence AV in 2014 but so will users and their habits and preferences. By this time next year we could see incredibly high resolution content as the norm and many of the familiar AV signals (audio, video) moving in a room without wires. It’s an exciting time for the industry and the end user!

This-week-in-collaboration

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

What Next for BYOD?
Cisco introduced a BYOD solution to remove some of the burden from IT Departments and provide them with a central point for managing many aspects of the BYOD lifecycle including on-boarding, device profiling, authentication, authorization, offboarding, and self-service management. This all fits in to the recently created industry segment, Mobile Device Management.

4 Productivity Tips for Business Meetings
Many people dread meetings and conference calls and according to a Blue Jeans Network survey, 6% of employees have admitted to falling asleep during conference calls. 4 tips for making the most of your meetings include; face-to-face interaction, timing, less talk, more action, and giving everyone a voice are very important to successful meetings.

How does your mobile define how you work?
A new term, ‘generation mobile’, has been coined for individuals who are defined by their preference for mobility both in terms of the devices they use and their approach to work. The majority of generation mobile individuals are in the early stages of their career and own three or more connected devices. As opposed to using these devices to aide in their workday, they are shaping their working lives around their mobile devices.

The Future of Enterprise Communications: A Customer Perspective
Frost & Sullivan published the results of their annual end user survey on enterprise communications. Business-grade softphones, tablets, and UC clients are expected to experience the most significant increases in demand over the next three years, and cloud computing is expected to increase by 20% over the same time period. Similarly, the rise of the virtual organization and the need to support remote workers, mobility, and bring-your-own technology (BYOT), along with the growing demand for social networking, visual collaboration, and a more personalized experience, are top of mind for IT decision makers and having a considerable impact on IT investment decisions.

Web, video conference insomnia therapies show promise
Insomnia treatment that’s delivered through a web-based program or video conference may help people feel less tired during the day, according to a small study from Canada. For people in rural areas, who may not have access to more traditional treatments, they can use video conferencing to connect with doctors. The study suggests that both web and telehealth based treatments of insomnia show promise and are worthy of further development and study.

Private-vs.-Public-vs.-Hybrid-Cloud

2013 brought about even higher adoption of cloud based services across nearly every technology industry. From accounting software to streaming music to video conferencing and collaboration, the cloud has clearly come of age. What can be confusing about cloud-based services is the different ways they are deployed both internally and externally. The three types of cloud deployments are public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. To help you understand the differences, here are the definitions and examples of the three types:

Public Cloud
Public Clouds provide services over the public Internet. These types of clouds provide access to a significant amount of shared resources and can more easily provide scalable capacity. As an example, if a website is having a special event and expects a spike in traffic, public clouds can be configured to provide that needed capacity at the right time and then be scaled back. Additionally, public clouds make it easy to collaborate with other people and organizations, as the service is accessible to all.

Examples of public cloud services included Salesforce.com (one of the first commercial available public cloud services) as well as IVCi’s own Cloud Video Experience (CVE).

Private Clouds
Private clouds provide services over a private network. In these deployments, organizations must make the investment in the infrastructure and technology, negating a significant portion of the cost savings associated with public cloud based services. Private clouds are preferred when organizations want complete control over security and customization.

Examples of private clouds include financial organizations that provide secure systems to their employees in order to maintain compliance with federal privacy regulations.

Hybrid Clouds
Hybrid clouds deliver services via a combination of public and private clouds. There are a number of reasons an organization would want to create an environment like this. For example, a company might want to leverage a public cloud service (in this case let’s use Rackspace’s Public Cloud Storage service as an example) for older archived data while building and maintaining a private cloud for more timely and current business data. A secure VPN connection could then be established to allow data to move from the internal cloud to the archive in the public cloud at the appropriate time.

The cloud has come of age, as has its ability to be molded to fit the particular needs of many different types of organization. While it can be somewhat confusing to understand all of the deployment models, one thing is for certain: the cloud has truly redefined the way technology is deployed and consumed.