Cloud VIdeo Experience

Today IVCi is incredibly excited to reveal our newest service, Cloud Video Experience (CVE). This new offering is a subscription based, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering that makes large scale and rapid deployment of video conferencing not only possible but extremely easy. CVE was built to address the key challenges organizations face with video conferencing implementations including:

1. Infrastructure – CVE provides cloud based infrastructure that supports video conferencing endpoint registration, the ability to assign a standard name to your video device (name@domain.com) as well as a global directory and B2B calling.

2. Scalability – All CVE devices and software clients are auto-configured with the click of a link in an email. There is no need to provision additional infrastructure or licenses, it all happens seamlessly.

3. Mobility – Personal Video Accounts, a key feature of CVE, allow users to easily video enable laptops, tablets, and smartphones with full video conferencing capability. These users are able to connect with other users seamlessly.

4. Interoperability – Virtual Meeting Rooms enable multiple users to meet in one “meeting space” in the cloud. These rooms support standard video conferencing systems as well as Microsoft Lync and WebRTC. And for those users who don’t have access to a device with a camera, the Virtual Meeting Rooms support standard audio dial-in.

Video conferencing continues to grow in usage and popularity and CVE is designed to make it easy for organizations of any size to experience the power of visual collaboration.

Here is some additional detail about CVE:

This-week-in-collaboration

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

1. 5 Ways to Untether From the Desk With Video Conferencing 

Using video conferencing to be able to get away from your desk but still stay connected takes some of the stress out of this busy holiday season. Video conferencing can make sure you stay connected, maintain your presence, and meet on the go.

2. Time to Pledge Allegiance to Telework 

March 3-7, 2014 federal employees will be asked to stay at home by their agencies and not come in to the office. This is part of Telework Week, the Mobile Work Exchange’s annual global initiative that encourages governments to pledge to telework.

3. San Antonio License Plate Readers and Video Conferencing Resolve Overdue Traffic Tickets 

Video conferencing improves overdue ticket collection in San Antonio. When officers pull over drivers who have arrest warrants due to unpaid tickets, the offenders can speak with a judge immediately via video conferencing and settle the issue remotely.

4. How Web Conferencing Benefits Employee Training

The use of video conferencing for employee training is becoming more prevalent because it lowers costs to employers, provides a solid training foundation for employees, and makes training of current employees seamless.

5. Establishing Open Lines of Communication is Worth the Investment

Successful businesses rely on the technology solutions that foster collaboration on the go. Have the ability to stay connected from wherever employees are equates to a happier workforce, which often leads to happier customers.

Video interviewing has been consistently gaining traction with hiring managers and recruiters over the last few years due to the time savings and the ability to cut down on travel expenses. Video interviews also give companies insights they would not be able to get over the phone or when reviewing a paper resume including body language and personality.

That being said, video interviews can seem very daunting to anyone unfamiliar or uncomfortable using video conferencing technology. With the prevalence of video interviewing growing rapidly it is essential to understand both the technology and the etiquette in order to make the best impression.

Here are 10 tips for both preparing and conducting your video interview.

  1. Choose a Quiet and Clean Surrounding:  Make sure you set yourself up with a simple neutral background. Elaborate backdrops can be very distracting. Choose a place that has little to no noise and where you will not have people distracting you or the interviewer.
  2. Be Aware Background Noise: The microphone picks up all noises so avoid typing, shuffling papers, or tapping your pen while on the video call.
  3. Make Eye Contact: Look directly in to the camera. You want to make eye contact with the interviewer and that means looking in to the camera, not at the screen or the picture-in-picture screen of yourself.
  4. Use the Picture-in-Picture Feature: Although you should look directly in to the camera for making eye contact, having the PiP feature enabled will help to make sure you appear professionally to the interviewer. Just make sure you only glance at it once in a while.
  5. Dress Professionally: You need to look your best on camera. Dress as if you would for an in-person interview. Solid colors tend to come across best on video, and you should avoid patterns and white as they tend to be distracting or will wash you out.
  6. Practice Makes Perfect: If possible do a video run through with a friend before the interview. Practice answering questions over video and get feedback on your demeanor. Also, take note of your appearance over video and ask your friend to let you know of any thing you were doing that might be distracting.
  7. Good Posture: Sit up straight and try not to slouch, fidget, or look away from the camera. It is very important to show you are engaged, as it is much easier to appear uninterested when over video. Act as if you were in the interviewers office.
  8. Close Other Programs on Your Computer: Notifications from instant messaging programs or social media are both distracting and look unprofessional. Also, too many open programs on your computer can slow your computer speed which can reduce your video quality.
  9. Use Notes: One of the benefits of a video interview is that you can have notes. Notes are ok but make them short, easy to scan, and position them in front of you so that when you refer to them you aren’t looking down.
  10. Test your audio and video: Prior to your interview test your video and audio quality and resolve any technical issues that arise. This will help to alleviate any problems when the interview starts which can be both flustering to the interviewee and take away from the time of the interview if it is on a strict time schedule.

 

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.

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