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The case for Video Conferencing

The widespread adoption of video collaboration

Video conferencing has changed dramatically over the past few years, moving from being heavily invested in hardware to cloud-based solutions that take moments to set up. This shift to cloud has well and truly made an impact on Australian companies who have made it a priority to look for new ways to save time and money. It has also led to a growing number of companies adopting the ‘Bring Your Own Meeting’ style of conferencing. Video conferencing is now a critical tool used by modern companies who are looking for ways to connect their employees. This quick guide to video conferencing shows the benefits to help you learn about the current state of video collaboration.

Collaboration benefits

When market analysts Frost & Sullivan conducted a survey of how end users around the globe view workplace communications and collaboration, their findings reconfirmed the benefits of online video collaboration tools.

Collaboration benefits include cut costs and travel time and increased effectiveness

  • Cut costs + travel time – 88% agreed that video collaboration helped cut costs and reduce travel time
  • Meeting effectiveness – 84% agreed that video collaboration made meetings more effective
  • Remote workforce – 86% asserted that online conferences make things easier when employees are spread across different locations
  • Huddle room effectiveness – 80% asserted that meetings are shorter, more effective and save money

The IT managers who took part in the survey expressed similar views about the benefits of team collaboration tools and UC clients.

Engaging Communication

It’s already taken for granted by today’s workers, not least the millennial generation, that you can add a video function to your conversations. That’s how the cloud services we use in our private lives work. And now the same is true in the world of work, with video collaboration tools such as  Skype for Business, Webex, Zoom and relative newcomer Blizz (developed by Teamviewer) having gained a strong foothold in companies and organisations.

Another survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan, focusing specifically on those video conferences in huddle rooms, indicate that users are demanding a more engaging way of communicating. This is where video collaboration really adds value – the ability to see each other, make eye contact and interact through body language in video facilitates collaboration.

The Frost & Sullivan survey of video conferencing users indicates that 65 per cent of them use Microsoft Skype for Business for video conferencing. Another 23 per cent planned to begin using it within the next year or so years. We are also seeing rapid growth in the use of cloud-based social collaboration tools.

Bring your meeting

It’s now not only common practice to bring your own device (BYOD), but it’s also normal to bring your own meeting (BYOM). Apps and collaborative and conferencing tools you have on your laptop enable you to connect with colleagues for a quick video conference session. Many users, however, do not have the correct equipment in their conferencing rooms to complement these tools.

The office landscape is changing and activity-based learning is becoming more popular. A key concept when offices are being built or reorganised is activity-based working which provides employees a range of different environments at the office, tailored to different needs. The starting point is an open plan solution where you don’t have your own room or own workstation, instead of sharing desk space and keeping your things in a locker.

Accompanying this, there is a need for meeting rooms and open meeting spaces of different kinds and sizes. It is here that the small meeting rooms known as huddle rooms have proven to play an incredibly important role in enabling both temporary teams and more long-standing project groups to be able to collaborate effectively.

Prioritising huddle spaces

According to Frost & Sullivan, there were 32.4 million huddle spaces across the world in 2017, but only 2 per cent were equipped for video conferencing. This picture is changing rapidly with analysts estimating that a majority of all video conferencing in meeting rooms will be held specifically in huddle spaces within a few years.

Although there are cloud-based video collaboration tools that run on equipment installed in the meeting room, here we are focusing on the dominant preference to Bring Your Own Meeting, as discussed earlier. When the user brings the meeting with them on their laptop, a number of key components need to be in place in the room: a screen, a USB video conferencing camera and a unit for quality audio. Frost & Sullivan found that many organisations make do with a DIY model and separate components for video in huddle rooms. However, if you care about providing a great user experience, this particular set up will not be beneficial.

Focus on simplicity, ease-of-use and affordability

When the analysts list key factors for video collaboration in huddle rooms, audio quality tops the list, followed by engaging video conferencing (good image quality) and equipment that supports BYOD, Bring Your Own Device. According to the report, the selection criteria should focus on “simplicity, ease of use and affordability”.

True for all room sizes

The absolute strength of combining BYOM with tried and tested package solutions for the hardware is that the system is scalable all the way from small huddle rooms to medium-sized meeting rooms and large conference rooms. The concept is the same – the only difference is that the properties of the cameras and audio units are matched to the different physical conditions. After all, huddle rooms aren’t the only ones that need to be set up for video conferencing. According to Frost & Sullivan’s study, less than 5 percent of the world’s meeting rooms are equipped for video conferencing. Today’s practices and user expectations are set to drive advances in distance collaboration across a broad front.

If you’re interested in finding out more how your collaboration space can benefit from having a video conferencing solution, please contact us. Either a single unit, combined with an Interactive Flat Panel, or a custom-designed solution that takes into consideration audio conferencing needs too.

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