Many people take for granted the ease of which they collaborate in a conference room.  With the touch of a button participants can switch between content from a PC, projector or interactive whiteboard; mute and unmute microphones; and pan, tilt, or zoom the camera on a video conferencing system.  The technology simply fades into the background while meeting participants focus on the business matters at hand.  Thinking about all of the different components required for effective collaboration can be exhausting; so, how is it that collaboration can be so easy and so effortless?

Simple:  the room’s control system programming.  The backbone of any audio visual integrated room, the control system provides an easy to use interface to manage the room’s functionality.   Instead of having one remote to operate the telepresence system, one to operate the plasma display and yet another remote to operate the projector or interactive whiteboard; organizations can simply invest in a Crestron or AMX Control System.

Gone are the days where participants have to spend fifteen minutes prior to a meeting figuring out how everything works.  With the help of expert programmers, organizations can create a standardized user interface to operate all of their conference rooms in all of their locations.  From a small room with a projector to an immersive telepresence room with three cameras and five displays; the control system ensures participants can collaborate effortlessly.

Advanced programming also allows organizations to push technology boundaries by customizing the video experience to fit their unique requirements.   A custom control program can be designed to display content from multiple different sources, arrange participants in a particular order on screen or manage the speaking privileges of numerous participants.   Essentially, an organization can use a control system to create a visual collaboration solution that is perfectly aligned with its needs.

So, the next time you have an effective collaboration session; give your control system a slight nod, a high five or even a fist bump – just show the little guy some love, he deserves it.

The finance industry, now recovering from the worst crisis it has faced in decades, still faces challenges that must be addressed in order to ensure stability into the future. Banks and other financial institutions are restoring consumer confidence by cutting business costs, implementing processes to become more efficient, restructuring and consolidating distributed work forces, and undergoing reorganization efforts.

IT divisions of banks are embracing leading edge technology, including unified communication (UC) solutions, as part of the effort to address many of these challenges. UC systems utilize integrated visual collaboration, audio conferencing and data sharing capabilities to improve communication among remote parties. UC solutions are prevalent within the finance industry and are used to improve:

  • Customer service and support:  Bank customers who visit branch locations are provided access to services and subject matter experts that may only be available at headquarter locations. Support is provided in real-time, with face-to-face transactions that create a collaborative environment.  As a result, the branch is turned into a robust sales channel that is more responsive and able to offer additional products and services.
  • Internal communication and productivity: Video and UC solutions improve and streamline internal communication by establishing a more personal connection among employees in disparate branch and office locations; when information is shared readily and easily, the level of productivity is increased and bank profitability is improved.
  • Corporate training: Video conferencing and streaming facilitates new hire training and education on new financial vehicles by providing consistent information to all participants, at one time, regardless of location. Video reduces the costs associated with transporting training personnel to locations on site; users can receive training sessions delivered via desk top and mobile applications. Sessions can be recorded and archived for later viewing.
  • Recruiting and retaining talent: Video assists the screening process by reducing the need to meet with remote candidates in-person for initial interviews; video provides enough clarity to aid the decision making process and determine who moves on to the next round. Additionally, by creating an efficient and productive environment, video and UC solutions help financial institutions build their reputations within the industry, which works to retain top talent.

Visual collaboration technology, when combined with cloud-based managed services, creates a meeting experience so realistic, bank customers and employees will instantly feel as though they are participating in an-person meeting or training session.

 

A common question among organizations is why they should make the decision to outsource their video conferencing environment to a video services provider.  Steve Jobs provides the best explanation with a whiteboard and a two-by-two grid. To get Apple refocused in 1997, he told his team members that they needed to focus on four great products instead of the random array of devices they were currently producing. He said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”

Simply put, using video-as-a-service allows organizations to focus on their core competencies; whether it’s designing and manufacturing high quality products or providing expert services.

In order to successfully operate a video environment, an organization needs video infrastructure equipment, defined processes and procedures, and a team of video professionals with experience and expertise. This requires a substantial upfront capital investment along with additional expenses for ongoing maintenance, training and equipment replacement. Not only does this become quite costly, it diverts resources from departments critical to accomplishing the organization’s mission and goals.

Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) removes the obstacles that organizations face during an enterprise implementation of visual collaboration and unified communications solutions by providing them with the tools needed to make collaboration work.

  • The People: VaaS provides access to a team of video experts with the experience and expertise to manage, operate and scale a video environment. This allows participants to simply enter a conference room or launch a video application and they are automatically connected to the video call.
  • The Process: VaaS allows organizations to take advantage defined processes and best practices for optimal meeting experiences; including centralized scheduling process, pre-meeting connectivity testing and proactive meeting monitoring. Participants can focus on the meeting at hand rather than worry about the technology.
  • The Technology: VaaS provides advanced video technology in the cloud which allows for video bridging, audio conferencing, direct voice dialing, streaming and archiving. Additional services can connect consumer video applications (Skype) or mobile devices (iPhone/iPad) allowing participants to connect from anywhere.

With VaaS, organizations can extend the reach of collaboration throughout their organization by allowing participants to collaborate anytime, anywhere, with anyone, on any device. Instead of worrying about locating the right technical staff or determining the best way to utilize video; organizations can focus on their core business practices while realizing the ROI and other business benefits of video almost immediately.

There can be no dispute about the benefits of training to both employees and the companies they work for. Training helps employees keep up with the latest advances in their trade, makes them feel supported and appreciated, and results in improved job satisfaction. Companies reap the benefits of highly skilled workers and gain a competitive advantage; an effective training program can help differentiate a company from its competitors, giving it an edge.


So why aren’t more training programs regularly administered?

There are several road blocks that can prevent management from implementing regular training sessions; time and scheduling constraints, cost of securing training personnel, budgeting and administrative challenges, and more. But the companies that administer training programs successfully have a secret to getting the best results: unified communications (UC) technology, including video conferencing and video streaming systems. These solutions allow personal, one-on-one type training, and participants can remain at their PCs, mobile devices, or local conference rooms.

There are many advantages to using visual collaboration solutions for training employees, including:

  • The ability to effectively train a large group at one time.
  • Everyone included in the training session receives the same information from the same instructor(s).
  • Subject matter experts may be brought in from anywhere without having to travel to company locations.
  • Costs associated with hiring corporate trainers and experts to travel on site are reduced
  • Training sessions conducted over video can be archived and viewed again; a visual library of all captured sessions can be created.

Visual collaboration systems provide the catalyst to efficiently disseminate information throughout the company. The technology delivers an interactive, compelling learning environment that rivals the impact of in-person sessions, but at a greatly reduced cost. Companies that have successfully integrated this technology provide a higher quality user experience that in turn benefits the company as well as employees.

Frost & Sullivan’s whitepaper, Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration: Critical Steps for Supporting Social Business, analyzes advanced communication and collaboration applications that are changing the way workplaces function in day-to-day operations. 

The research finds that through utilizing next generation tools, such as video conferencing, enterprises can expect to bolster the bottom line, cut down on decision periods, reduce costs and boost productivity. 

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/03/01/3910963/frost-sullivan-video-conferencing.html#storylink=cpy