Meet the New

For the last year we have been working around the clock with the amazing Ranx Media to re-create our website site from the ground up. It was a major undertaking but we couldn’t be any prouder of the end product. So without further ado….Welcome to the new IVCi!!

We have redesigned our layout with style, ease of use and content delivery in mind. However, the re-build went deeper than that. We have created a site that is focused on being a resource and a guide for people exploring or learning about collaboration technology.

Besides the pretty new layout, here are some of the changes that we are particularly proud of:

Often when people are exploring a technology, they are unfamiliar with specific terms and topics. Therefore, a very important aspect of IVCi’s new site is the glossary. We have compiled a list of frequently used terms and definitions to help new and existing technology users to understand the key terms they may hear when discussing these technologies.

More informational content:
IVCi’s new site features a bunch of new content, inspired by our experience and created with education in mind. This content includes, how-to guides, white papers, data sheets, brochures, webinar recordings and an integrated blog that is focused on news, commentary, and insight around collaboration.

Categorical Improvements:
We have created the “Solutions” section on the site that is built with an emphasis on ease of navigation to help people find the information that they care about based on vertical and role.

Mobile friendly/Responsive design:
With this re-launch, IVCi’s new site is fully responsive. We know that many people are using their mobile devices and tablets more than ever, so it was very important for us to build a mobile friendly site.

We are very proud of this new site and we hope you take some time to look around. We can’t wait to hear what you think about it so please feel free to comment with any feedback you may have!

This Week in Collaboration

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

Seven tips for improving your remote meetings
The way teams work and collaborate is changing. Consulting, remote workforces and outsourcing are all on the rise. Even if you operate a team that is technically based in the same physical office, it’s becoming more and more common that your clients prefer to communicate in a virtual manner instead of in person due to time constraints. This article includes seven strategies and techniques that will make your next virtual meeting just as effective as its in-person counterpart.

How Video Conferencing is More Effective Than Shooting Business E-Mails
Talking to a co-worker or employee face-to-face is easy when you are all in the same building. However, when team members work remotely, it can be really difficult to create face-to-face meetings, so they often rely upon emailing and telephone calls. With video conferencing programs, you can virtually engage face-to-face with your team members to boost the productivity and efficiently of the team. You can even do so using your mobile phone while on the go.

What’s the future of healthcare? It’s collaboration
In the United States, healthcare providers are teaming up to provide coordinated and seamless patient care which reduces medical errors, and improves healthcare quality while lowering costs by avoiding unnecessary duplication of services. How can accountable organizations succeed both in delivering high-quality care and spending healthcare dollars more wisely, so that they can share in the savings they achieve for the Medicare program?

There’s still a security disconnect on BYOD
Corporate employees — and to a lesser extent IT managers — are taking a surprisingly lax approach towards security issues raised by the business use of personally owned smartphones and other mobiles devices, according to two surveys. Enterprise users were found to be deeply suspicious of any IT effort to implement security controls on their devices. In fact, many said they would choose not to bring personal devices to the workplace if employers planned to install security software on them.

Eight Classic Big Data Mistakes
Demand for big data analytics will only continue to soar as the overall market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27% through 2017, amounting to a $32.4 billion market, according to industry research. Yet, with all of the investments into analytics tools and talent, CIOs and other IT leaders can lose sight of what they’re ultimately seeking to do. Collecting lots of big data, after all, doesn’t amount to much if teams don’t know how to effectively mine and translate it.

Office Design Tips: Supporting Different Work Modes

In today’s fast-paced world with many different types of employees, an evolving work environment, and consistently increased demands, it is important to design an office that can maximize productivity and effectiveness. Creatively designed office spaces are able to provide the right environment that today’s employee’s need. For that to be accomplished office design should be centered around 3 important modes of work; collaboration, focus, and comfort. With these in mind, designers should create a space that caters to those needs and also allows employees to easily alternate between these work modes throughout the day.

We have included some specific aspects of office design that will help create a space that fosters collaboration, allows “head down” focus time, and cultivates a positive work environment.

There are a few design aspects and technology tools that can assist with fostering collaboration in a workplace. To start, many offices will design their space with an open floor plan. This normally means fewer walls and barriers to help facilitate impromptu conversations and interactions. Along with an open floor plan, it is also important to include plenty of common areas around the office. The goal with these being to give people a chance to leave their desks and work from other locales and to encourage interaction between employees.

Along with the ability to have spontaneous conversations, it is also important to include spaces where employees can have more structured meetings. Conference rooms and smaller huddle room spaces help to accomplish this type of collaboration. In addition, creating conference rooms that are video conferencing enabled, allows for employees to collaborate comfortably and conveniently with other employees or outside individuals, regardless of their location. The use of smart boards or other interactive whiteboards can also help foster collaboration by allowing people to brainstorm ideas and projects and then save or share the information instantly with anyone.

Although collaboration is a very important aspect of any office environment, sometimes people need a space with fewer interruptions. Therefore, having “closed” spaces that employees can use to reduce distractions is very important. Offering these huddle rooms and other private spaces that allow people to get away and focus are very important in order to create a good balance in an open floor plan environment.

Companies can also use certain types of flooring and wall coverings to reduce ambient noise.  Similarly, some companies will offer noise-cancelling headphones that employees can use when they need to focus without the interruption of background noise.

Since most people spend the majority of their time at work, designing an open, friendly and comfortable office space not only helps improve collaboration but can also enhance creativity, improve employee morale and assist with recruiting great talent. In order to create this type of space, a company should consider aesthetics such as decoration and color palette, as well as availability of technology tools and layout of the space.

The aesthetics of the office space should reflect a company’s brand, culture, and personality. This could range from the overall color palette to the addition of games, trendy furniture and unique wall décor. When it comes to technology, equipping employees with the correct tools can drastically increase productivity. Likewise, providing up-to-date tools can help to attract the top talent. These tools can include software programs, a strong network, video conferencing equipment and the latest computers, tablets and mobile phones. An office layout needs to reflect the company’s work style and their employee’s unique needs. This should include aspects that cater to the multiple work modes that employees participate in every day.

When beginning an office design, it is very important for any organizations to analyze the different work modes and articulate what is important to the company in order to build the best space for their requirements. Implementing the right office environment can lead to effective collaboration, more creative ideas, and a more successful business.

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Reasons People Are Scared Of Video Conferencing

I can remember the first time that I used video conferencing and it was a nerve wracking experience. I was concerned about quite a few things including how to use the technology, what I looked like on camera, how I sounded, and if I was looking at the right place. However, after using video a few times I quickly became comfortable with communicating over video and realized how productive and effective video meetings were.

This resistance to new technology is very common among people, often due to fear of the unknown. However, when it comes to video conferencing this resistance appears to be deeper than just anxiety about new technology. These concerns range from typical technological concerns but also include psychological reasons. With video conferencing becoming increasingly more pervasive as a way to communicate and collaborate, it is important to understand what people fear about video and how to alleviate these worries.

Check out our infographic to learn more!


How To Use Visual Collaboration Throughout The Buying Cycle

Dynamic changes in technology and the immense amount of information online has shifted control of the buying cycle from the vendor to the customer. Due to this change, marketers and sales people must take responsibility for engaging customers throughout the entire buyers journey.

From initial outreach to close, it is important to gain awareness, prove value, and have relevant conversations with prospects. This can help to accelerate the buying process, create trust, and uncover new or other business opportunities. Using visual collaboration solutions to communicate with prospects and customers gives organizations the ability to create value and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Check out our infographic to see how visual collaboration tools can be used throughout the different stages of the buying cycle.



This Week in Collaboration

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

Navigating the New Terrain

The Unified Communications industry is changing rapidly. Jim Burton, Founder and CEO, CT LLC and Co-Founder UCStrategies offers up some advice to enterprise customers, vendors, channel partners and consultants. Areas of focus include big data and how vendors will work or compete with Microsoft.

Blue skies: The future of collaboration

Despite a flurry of new technology releases over the last twenty years, many organizations have seen their collaboration technology investment fail to live up to expectations. Most technologies are disparate and expensive to deploy & maintain. The introduction of software APIs to many of these solutions may finally provide the promise of collaboration. WebRTC, for example, allows organizations to extend their investment to any one with a simple web browser.

Make Meetings Meaningful

Effective meetings are critical to the success of any organization, especially SMBs. They allow for improved communication and can allow a group of people to solve business challenges together. However, making those meetings effective can be challenging. Three areas to focus on include ensuring face to face communication whenever possible (live or video conferencing), being mindful of the time of day a meeting is to start (do not hold important meetings early), and keep meetings short and succinct.

Virtual house calls may help rural dementia patients and caregivers

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on nursing homes and other elder care facilities. These investments fail to take into account potential in-home solutions. “Tele-gerontology” has the potential to reduce the elder population’s reliance on these facilities while providing instant advice and council from the comfort of home.

5 Reasons To Implement A Telework Policy

With the advancement of technology and the many collaboration tools on the market today, people really can work from anywhere, anytime, and from any device. Due to these advancements and the potential benefits of telecommuting, many organizations are looking at implementing telework policies for their employees.

Here are some of the reasons that companies should look in to implementing telework programs:

  1. Recruit the best employees, regardless of their location:
    Every organization is looking for the best and brightest candidates to bring to their team. Allowing employees to work remotely helps widen the talent pool and find great employees regardless of where they are located. In a survey conducted by WorldatWork it was reported that 80% of employees say that they would like to work from home given the opportunity and 1/3 would take the ability to telecommute over a pay raise.
  1. Improve employee work-life balance, and increase employee retention:
    With company culture and the desire for a work-life balance being very important to employees these days, the option for telecommuting can offer those benefits. Allowing employees the flexibility of working remotely can help to build an employee-respected company culture that promotes a good work-life balance. Likewise, there are strong positive links between telecommuting and job satisfaction. Since many employees look at a telecommuting policy as a job perk, this flexibility will give your employees another reason to stick around and reduce expensive employee turnover.
  1. Reduce your organization’s carbon footprint:
    Telecommuting is a great way to reduce your organization’s carbon footprint and promote environmentally friendly activities. The fewer employees that come in to an office reduces the amount of commuters, therefore reducing the number of cars on the road. According to the SMART 2020 report, by combining a telework policy with the use of video conferencing to reduce the need for travel, companies have the ability to reduce emissions by up to 260m tonnes by 2020.
  1. Boost productivity:
    By giving employees tools that they can use to work while commuting, out of town, or working from home, increases efficiency and productivity. Working from home can also reduce time lost by office chatter, coffee breaks, long lunches, and other random meetings. A study done by IBM showed that employees who worked remotely could be up to 50% more productive. Absenteeism is also reduced due to remote employees being exposed to fewer sick co-workers and often continuing to work when sick if they are working from home.
  1. Lower facility costs:
    When implementing a telework policy and allowing employees to come in to an office on an on-needed basis, organizations can often downsize the office space that they need. This also allows for reduced expenses on utilities, janitorial service, security and maintenance. Based on information from Telework Research Network, around 40% of Americans have the ability to work remotely, and if each of these employees worked from home half the time, companies could potentially save $10,000 per employee per year.

My Aha! Telemedicine Moment

Have you ever had a moment that made you say “WOW”? Like many of you, I live and breathe technology. I read tech blogs, work in the tech industry, and am a self-proclaimed gadget junkie. Consequently, I am always looking for the latest and greatest app, program, or tool. So when I was battling a sinus infection about a month ago, I decided to try out a new telemedicine app that I had read about. The combination of my busy week, miserable sinus headache, primary physician who was booked out for a week, and a desire to avoid an urgent care facility during flu season, I decided to give the app a try.

The app, Doctor On Demand, allows you to connect over video or audio-only and speak directly to a physician. They are able to answer and assist with non-medical emergencies, short-term prescriptions, and referrals to specialists. There is no need for insurance and it is a flat fee for each consultation.

Slightly hesitant about how well this would work but feeling desperate to annihilate this sinus monster that had invaded my head, I downloaded the app. My first impression was how sleek and aesthetically pleasing the app looked (I can’t help myself, along with technology, I live and breathe marketing). Once downloaded, I was able to quickly fill out some general information about myself and  how I would like to pay for my consultation. From there, I was brought to a screen where I could enter my symptoms as well as any medications or medication allergies I had. Once I listed my symptoms I was asked if I wanted to connect to a doctor. Given their name and some information, I was quickly connected via video conferencing to our consultation. I explained my symptoms and that I had chronic sinus infections. He asked me a few questions and if there were any specific medications that I normally take for treating this. Once my preferred antibiotic was determined, the doctor asked me if there was a specific pharmacy that I would like to have my prescription called in to. The pharmacy location was then set and he informed me that it would be called in right away. The entire consultation took less than 10 minutes and I was able to pick my prescription up within 30 minutes of my call. After concluding the session, I received an email receipt for the call as well as an email confirming that my prescription request had been sent in to my preferred pharmacy.

With physicians continuing to be over-scheduled, and a society of people who are extremely busy, this app makes a Dr. visit easy and accessible from wherever you are at any time. I was very impressed by the whole process. This was a great example of how effective telemedicine can be and I highly recommend giving it a try.


This Week In Collaboration

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

How video conferencing in the cloud can transform business collaboration
As confidence to deliver services and applications in the cloud gathers pace, video conferencing as a service (VCaaS) is starting to evolve. With the benefits of video conferencing clear to businesses – including a reduction in travel time, improved workforce productivity, better global links and accessibility – the infrastructure cost and maintenance aspect is still a sticking point for many, making it an unviable option. But with the rise of VCaaS and video delivered via the cloud, companies can now take better advantage of video to transform their business without the high price tag.

The Top 5 Things Audio Visual Integrators Should Look for at InfoComm 2014
InfoComm is quickly approaching and with that it is worth noting how this show has changed over the years as video has evolved from being a standalone application on a dedicated network. Now there’s a greater focus on networking, unified communications, voice and other things that have become core to the video business. Some ideas of what AVIs should be looking out for at this year’s conference are: The convergence of voice, video and content, different mediums to unify content, architectural aspects of building a room, how to move content to people, and vertical use cases.

Video Meeting Rooms for Everyone?
Software-based video bridges (multipoint control units, or MCUs) have been around for a long time, but virtualized video bridges are a relatively new phenomenon. With a virtual video bridge, organizations or service providers can instantly increase capacity simply by spinning up a few virtual instances on standard hardware they already own, or through an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider.

The next big healthcare game changer is happening now
Although pundits have been touting Telehealth as the “next big thing” in healthcare for decades, there are several factors contributing to the fulfillment of this prediction, ranging from healthcare reform to ubiquitous access to Internet bandwidth and advances in remote visual communication. At a very pragmatic level, there are a growing number of instances where telemedicine carts were used by remote medical specialists to provide life-saving instructions to healthcare staff members. Healthcare IT providers who can align Telehealth technology with their organization’s business needs will realize tangible competitive advantages as well as the rewards that come from seeing technology’s potential in serving a greater good.

With New Mobility Trends and Ventures, European Officials Struggle to Balance Innovation and Regulation
At the second World Collaborative Mobility Congress (Wocomoco), held May 7-8 in Bern, Switzerland, entrepreneurs and policymakers discussed over the two days their experiences and identified challenges ahead in reshaping mobility. Entrepreneurs are missing clear frameworks on the political side, while policymakers are calling on companies to better coordinate and collaborate with the public sector. With citizens becoming ever more mobile and a trend toward urbanization, especially in developing countries, policymakers face tough times in managing a rapidly declining resource: space.

Why Startups Should Be Using Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has definitely changed the way that companies do business. Today, startups and smaller companies with only a couple locations can operate like a much larger organization by using visual collaboration tools. Video conferencing has removed previous communication barriers and allows teams to stay connected regardless of where they are and in a more personal way than basic audio calls.

Here are a few more ways that startups can benefit from using video conferencing:

Decreased Travel Costs:
One of the most common advantages of video conferencing is reduced travel time and costs. As a start-up, there is often the challenge of lean funding accompanied by the need to travel in order to create a local presence in different markets. Video conferencing allows you to create that face-to-face experience without the constant travel expenses and loss of valuable time.

Wider Talent Pool:
When building a team, start-ups need to create a wide talent pool in order to recruit the best talent. Often the most talented job candidates live outside of the area of the company’s city or state. Using videoconferencing can bring individuals in from any location for a face-to-face conversation. Organizations will often use video conferencing for initial interviews in order to narrow down the recruiting pool without the travel expenses accrued by bringing all of them in to the office.

Better Team Productivity:
Start-ups are often extremely fast paced environments with many tasks going on at the same time. Visual collaboration tools can be used to connect with employees, vendors, buyers, and partners in the most efficient way. Decisions can be made faster and companies can improve operational efficiency by connecting with individuals and companies from anywhere in the world. This ability to collaborate quickly and effectively can also boost camaraderie and communication between employees.

Video conferencing is continuing to be a method that is changing the face of business and can undoubtedly help to level the playing field for start-ups by allowing global communication and presence in the same way larger organizations operate. It can also help to effectively manage remote teams while maintaining strong communication and productive collaboration.