5 Myths of Telepresence and what they mean to your business

What’s the difference between collaboration and telepresence and what do they mean to your business? We know creating authentic communication and collaboration isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” industry. Here are 3 Important Reasons for Debunking Myths of Video Conferencing – It gives users a way to gauge their investment, readers can take stock of any preconceptions they might have and it helps people to make good decisions when developing a technology roadmap for the next five years.

The Evolution of Collaboration Technology

In the December 2012 issue of “IT in Canada” magazine, ET Group’s Paul Gragtmans discusses media escalation and how this technology can be effectively integrated. “In The Middle” starting on page 16 shares the benefits of collaboration technology beyond cost savings and how recent advances in video conferencing is closing the gap between technological promise and today’s capabilities.

How to Get More Space From Less Space – Factors Offsetting Having Less Real Estate

As the old cubical farms of the Dilbert era are being replaced with open concept space, there are ways to increase meeting space capacity, even if you are reducing your real estate footprint. Here are 6 solutions on how to get more space from less space.

Rule #1 for Video and Firewalls: Say NO to Helper Services

Firewalls are probably one of the biggest peace-of-mind purchases that an enterprise will make to ensure it’s secure from the outside world. More comprehensive firewalls offer a vast suite of tools and features to make the life of the administrator easier by automating as much of the process of security management as possible. When it comes to video conferencing technology, the lion’s share of firewall solutions are not as video friendly as the feature set suggests.

Conference Room Audio Visual Solutions are an Integral Part of a Well Executed UC&C Platform

The same best practices to implement UC&C holds true with audio visual room systems. Meeting rooms and spaces require a clear definition of what collaborative technology is required in the room to support four different conferencing technologies. But they need to support those technologies in relation to the UC platform deployed.

Will Desktop and Mobile Video Kill the Market for Room Based Video Conferencing and Telepresence Deployments?

Recently, IDC reported that the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing and telepresence market had declined 10% year over year in 2Q, 2012.   The ripples from the news included speculation that there are many cheaper and improved forms of video available today that are taking over. (e.g. Skype, Google Talk, FaceTime, etc.)

Does this falling market spell the end for room based video conferencing systems?  Is the market moving to desktop and mobile video?

No.  And Yes.  These answers might seem contradictory, but I think they are complementary.

179047539There is no question that the desktop video market, spawned by Skype, is growing and video is becoming more common place in person to person communication.  In fact, once you get comfortable using video you wonder how you made do without it; and when you can’t use it, the conversation just isn’t as rich.

For me this is most apparent when using video on the personal side – communicating with my son away at university.  When I can see him, the conversation is so much richer.  I can tell if he is tired. I can see if he is stressed.  I can see if he is jazzed.  I can see if all is well – just by looking at him.

Visual clues enrich the conversation at work as well.  I don’t need to travel or wait for a face-to-face meeting because I can get the visual part of the conversation using video.  There is a huge benefit to using video to reduce travel and even more important, accelerate the business execution cycle. [Future blog topic]

I have no doubt that the use of video on desktop and mobile devices will grow tremendously over the next decade, to the point where video conversations are the norm.  And the majority of those video calls (85%+) will be person-to-person or point-to-point, in technical jargon.   This is the dynamics of telephone calls worldwide and video calls will echo that dynamic.

That means that desktop and mobile devices will be used for those point-to-point video calls, not a room based video system.

Lots of people can get by with personal video technology, BUT room systems are still extremely important.  Why?

1)      Without exception, every company or agency I speak with has a lack of meeting room space.

  1. They are overbooked and do not have enough meeting space
  2. They do not make effective use of the rooms they have

2)      As desktop and mobile video proliferate the need to connect to room systems that are video capable increases.  This will drive demand for video capability in ALL meeting rooms.  Those rooms will require a set up that provides a great video experience.  See these blogs

  1. Screen Real Estate – a Critical Factor in Making Video Calls As Good As “Being There”
  2. The 5 Biggest Mistakes Made in Determining Screen Real Estate in a Video Conferencing Room

3)      Video enriches the conversation and increases collaboration between the meeting room participants and the virtual participants

4)      As trends like workplace transformation, remote workers, and the velocity of collaboration continue to increase there will be more demand for room based video systems

5)      The benefits of a well executed Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) strategy are game changing. [Future blog article].  Room systems are an integral part of a well thought out and executed UC&C platform.

So what does this mean for your company or organization?  It means that you need a well thought out room strategy.

  1. Your rooms need to be technically capable of easily connecting in video users calling in from their desktops and mobile devices
  2. Your rooms need to be an integral part of your UC & C framework
  3. Your rooms need standards that are implemented globally [Future blog article]
  4. Your rooms need to be capable of fostering  and accelerating collaboration in your organization
  5. Your rooms need to be easy to use

The collaboration technology in your company’s room systems are going to be even more important tomorrow than they are today!

To make that happen requires some different thinking than approaches from the past.  Your organization will need to consider some if not all of the following:

  1. AV & IT technology taking a single approach
  2. Real Estate & IT working together
  3. Desktop and Room systems working together
  4. High level sponsorship
  5. A partner who can … consult, implement, monitor, maintain

If you need assistance with any of the above, please contact us at the ET Group.  Our capabilities span from consulting and assessing through to implementation.  We will work with you in whichever area is the most important to you and your organization.

The Link between Corporate Sustainability and Collaboration Technologies (CT’s)

In this post, I will discuss sustainability as a key business imperative and explain how companies can use CT’s to transform their business and reduce their overall environmental footprint.

Sustainability is a necessity that is good for business

When you look at key environmental and social data, it becomes apparent that business as usual in no longer a viable option going forward. Over the past 40 years, the human population has more than doubled from 3 billion in 1960 to more than 7 billion in early 2012. This explosive growth, combined with a net gain for overall human wealth and well-being has put an unsustainable amount of pressure on our planet. Currently, we need more than 1.5 planets to sustain our current population and consumption patterns. This unprecedented growth and the incredible rate of change we are experiencing are quickly driving leading companies around the world to recognize sustainability as a key business imperative. Sustainability is not just a necessity; it is also proven to drive positive business results. Recent academic studies, as well as stock market data indicate sustainability leaders across different sectors are consistently outperforming their competition. However, integrating sustainability into a company’s overall strategy and operations is not an easy task. In most cases, “going green” requires a true business transformation, which affects every area of the business and requires an immense amount of collaboration and innovation between internal and external teams. Here is where the right mix of CT’s can drive tangible reductions in CO2 emissions while enabling unparalleled collaboration and innovation.

CT’s fuel innovation and reduce your environmental footprint

Collaboration technologies, such as Audio, Video, Web and Interactive Whiteboard Conferencing, can all contribute to CO2 emissions reductions and attractive operational efficiencies even if they are deployed in isolation. However, significantly higher returns can be achieved when these technologies are effectively integrated throughout the entire organization and used by different user groups. In sustainability terms, the key benefits of collaboration technologies can be allocated to each of the widely accepted sustainability criteria:

Corporate SustainabilityFrom a People perspective, collaboration technologies allow employees to integrate work into their lifestyles, thus, allowing them to work effectively from anywhere they choose. This flexibility and perceived freedom have proven to increase retention rates, employee morale, loyalty and overall productivity by more than 20%. Also, collaboration technologies allow companies to create stronger relationships with their customers, to differentiate themselves from the competition and to enable them to focus on becoming their customer’s trusted advisor.

On the Profit side, collaboration technologies allow companies to make almost every process more effective and efficient, resulting in dramatic productivity savings and capacity increases. Clear examples of attractive operational savings include reductions in travel, transportation and real estate costs. Furthermore, the effective deployment of collaboration technologies allows employees, suppliers and clients to collaborate and innovate faster than even before, therefore, creating new business opportunities. Companies that experience the highest returns do so by encouraging and integrating the use of collaboration technologies in their policies and processes.

Lastly, and increasingly more importantly, collaboration technologies can help reduce the environmental impact of most companies by reducing direct and indirect CO2 emissions, thus, lessening the strain on our Planet. Examples of large CO2 savings opportunities include emission reductions through less travel and commuting, reduced real estate requirements, and the capability of influencing employees’ mindset to further reduce emission by effectively measuring and communicating key environmental data through digital signage technologies.

As you can see, collaboration technologies contain all of the values of corporate sustainability, therefore, careful planning, attention and ongoing management of these vital tools will yield results that will positively impact People, Profit and our Planet.

About ET Group

Collaboration and sustainability are key business imperatives required to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world. ET Group designs and builds interactive collaboration ecosystems that help companies connect, innovate and execute faster while reducing their overall environmental footprint.

i– United Nations. (2011, May). World Population to reach 10 billion by 2100 if Fertility in all Countries Converges to Replacement Level– [Press Release].
ii Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2005). Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis.

What the Movies Can Teach Us About Real Time Collaboration…

What can we learn from the movie going experience that we can apply to connecting people in different locations? What can we do to make the experience richer or bigger than life? You can create a conferencing and collaboration experience that is bigger than life and is better than being there! The formula for increased collaboration in simple, get our Free guide now.