This Week In Collaboration

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

7 steps to unified comm – and control over mobility services
In the three years since passage of the Telework Enhancement Act, government agencies have been spending a significant share of their time and budget to make sure they have what they need to support their exploding mobile workforce. Even so, all too often, agencies have launched mobile and collaboration technologies irregularly and without coordination, largely because new requirements popped up or budget became available.

Staying Ahead of the Collaboration Requirements Curve
Collaboration applications have a purpose: to bring people together whenever there are decisions to make and information to share. The experiences of our customers have shown that regular fine-tuning of a collaboration infrastructure is necessary in how IT organizations look at optimization. Using Optimization services can pave the way for a smooth transition – and prevent unpleasant surprises — when new applications are ready to move into production.

Bringing healthcare services to students at school
For communities that don’t have access to local healthcare providers, or for families that simply can’t afford to visit doctors and specialists, the local public school can be the primary healthcare provider for their children. Unfortunately, the healthcare services available in these schools are often limited. To help increase the access to quality healthcare services, many schools are looking to telemedicine solutions. Utilizing advanced video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions connected to scopes and other medical devices, these telemedicine solutions enable an on-site nurse or aid to consult with a nurse practitioner or doctor via video to deliver care to a student.

3 Tips for Overcoming Open-Space AV Challenges
One of the many challenges facing commercial audiovisual professionals today is the lack of space for installed equipment. The move to open space in the corporate world has burdened many design engineers with the challenge of where to put the gear. Today’s office spaces are taking on the characteristics of living rooms, home-style kitchens and dens. Gone are the cookie-cutter, four-walled conference rooms and cubicle spaces. This switch in office design is pushing us in the AV industry to change our traditional approach to system integration.

What Is the U.S. Digital Government Office?
According to a press release from Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), “Studies show that 94 percent of major government IT projects between 2003 and 2012 came in over budget, behind schedule, or failed completely.” Congresswoman Eshoo, a member of the communications and technology subcommittee, along with Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.), proposed that a U.S. Digital Government Office be created to fix what has become a major problem for the federal government. The bill, known as the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology Act (RFP-IT), would be a key step toward eliminating wasteful spending in the government.

What Does an AV Room Consist Of? Part 2

In part one of this series we reviewed the 4 core design and technology components that are important for creating an effective AV room including video, audio, control and lighting. Although those are very important aspects of an effective environment, the technology “behind the scenes” is equally as important for creating a quality collaboration experience.

Understanding these background components is essential to recognizing what makes an AV room effective as a whole.

Wireless Mic Receiver: Used to pick up the signal broadcast by the mic transmitter and change it back into an audio signal. The output of the receiver is electrically identical to a standard microphone.

Audio DSP Processor/Mixer: A Digital Signal Processor, or DSP, is a special-purpose digital circuit that acts on digitized signals, such as audio. DSP circuits can replace traditional analog functions, such as filtering and more complex functions that are difficult to accomplish in the analog domain.

Amplifier: An electronic device for increasing the amplitude of electrical signals, used mainly in sound reproduction.

Video Matrix Switcher: A device for switching between multiple video sources including cameras, cable television, Blu-Ray, DVRs and more.

Control System Processor: A device that processes every signal sent out on an audio visual network and makes the signal available to all elements of an AV solution.

Surge Suppressor: An electrical device inserted in a power line to protect equipment from sudden fluctuations, or surges, in current which can damage equipment.

Codec: A device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data.

Seamless Video Switcher: A device used to select between several different video sources and, in some cases, composite video sources together to create special effects.

UPS Battery Backup: An electrical device that provides emergency power when the main power source fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries or a flywheel.

This Week In Collaboration

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

School Days 2.0: Connected, Borderless, and Highly Inclusive
Just as the Internet of Everything is disrupting so many other areas of our lives (not to mention business models), its ever-expanding wave of network connectivity promises to upend education as well. Within the context of learning, the very definition of schools, students, teachers, and classrooms is being challenged. Now, your classroom is wherever you happen to be, and your lessons often take place when you want them

How Technology has Changed our Daily Commute Forever
Mobile technology and connectivity has, and still is, changing the daily commute for workers. It’s a combination of smarter, smaller more portable devices and faster, more widely available connectivity that is driving this change in behavior. Commuting on public transportation is a very different experience today. Almost every kind of public transport now either gives passengers access to Wi-Fi or they can use mobile data networks. Similarly, Social media is a booming interactive tool for travel companies to interact with their passengers, alerting them to disruption, delays and fixes.

Building a Successful Mobility Roadmap
Specifically, today’s mobile landscape is demanding constant evolution. From listening and responding to the mobility needs of employees to deploying home-grown apps, a flexible and holistic roadmap for mobility and mobile apps is essential. While mobility continues to be a growing trend that offers businesses new opportunities, many companies have yet to fully realize the true potential of mobility.

Teledermatology as reliable, efficient as in-person consults
Remote consultations from dermatologists using a smartphone app have proven reliable and efficient at prioritizing inpatient consultations for patients with skin conditions. Outlining their study results in JAMA Dermatology, researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that this method can help deliver dermatology care more efficiently in busy hospital settings.

How Video Makes a Difference in the Way I Work
87% of remote users feel more connected to their team and process when using videoconferencing, according to a Gigaom report on video conferencing and business collaboration published last month. Video gives people insight into people beyond the meeting agenda. These little pieces of information give perspective on someone’s day and they open opportunities to know more about people with whom you are spending virtual time. Similarly, with multitasking at epidemic proportions, collaborating via video helps you know that the people on the other end of a call are paying attention.

Telemedicine Reimbursement Revisited

As advances in technology have made remote healthcare and treatment more accessible, the question of insurance reimbursement for these services continues to be top of mind. In 2012, we featured a post regarding telemedicine reimbursement. In the 18 months since that post was published significant progress has been made in the area.

When looking at reimbursement it is important to understand what types of programs and institutions are eligible and what that truly means. At its very core, reimbursement in the telemedicine world requires insurance companies to pay the same fee for telemedicine services that would otherwise be covered with an in-person visit.

Programs that could benefit can vary from state to state but generally reimbursement is available through Medicare, Medicaid, Private Insurance, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

From a private insurance standpoint, a significant number of states have made reimbursement a mandate; however, there are still many states that haven’t made this mandate law.  Similarly, from a Medicaid perspective many states have mandated reimbursement and there are several currently proposing reimbursement.

It is clear that many have recognized the value of telehealth and that recognition continues to drive more and more legislation to provide equity between in-person and remote visits.

Check out the info graphic below for a quick summary of everything you need to know about reimbursement!

Telemedicine-Reimbursement-1000x2720

This Week In Collaboration

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

Deliver what every CEO wants through Cloud Collaboration
CEOs want IT leaders to figure out how technology can help their business transform and expand, as much as make it operate. Thanks to the consumerization of IT and the explosion of mobile and social technologies, there is a unique opportunity to embed IT into an organization’s overall business strategy. When IT leaders define what business problem they are trying to solve and test the right technology solution, they can become an integral part of running, changing and growing a business.

How states can encourage web-based health care in hospitals
A University of Michigan researcher has found that 42 percent of U.S. hospitals use some type of “telehealth” approach. Telehealth seems to be something hospitals use to differentiate themselves. People often think about rural areas when they think about telehealth, however adoption was just as likely in competitive markets. It’s about using technology to lower operating costs and deliver care more efficiently.

Should HR recruit through video conferencing?
While the use of video conferencing to help speed up the recruitment process is well known, a study from the Montage Talent Candidate Report found that 97% of job candidates felt organizations who utilized video interviewing were more innovative and forward thinking. Video conferencing can aid HR in the areas of recruitment, training, and meetings, a report from video conferencing firm Blue Jeans asserts.

Digital Technology and the Olympics: When Is it Cheating?
We take advantage of advanced digital technologies for efficiency, effectiveness, and loftier performance in business, so why wouldn’t an athlete use these technologies to their advantage while in training or on the field of athletic competition? Is this a fair practice? If everyone has equal access to the technology, then is it fair? At what point does technology tip beyond being a clever innovation along the continuum of progress to cross the line into cheating for unfair advantage?

User Behavior and Training Critical to Secure Mobility
Worker mobility has become an essential practice for government agencies. From teleworking on the road to accessing critical data on your smart phone, mobility increases productivity and employee satisfaction. With the increased proliferation of mobile devices comes the need to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place so agencies can take advantage of increased capabilities while still maintaining high levels of security.

The 5 W’s of a Video Conferencing Strategy

Video conferencing initiatives continue to be an increasing priority to many organizations. With advancements in technology, the promise of connecting people anywhere, any time, on any device is now an attainable goal when video collaboration is implemented correctly. The first step in this process is to put together a solid video collaboration strategy.

As a starting point, here are 5 important for getting your video strategy off on the right foot.

Who will be using video?
More specifically, what business units will be using video? Will this be for executives only? Will different departments have access to the video conferencing equipment/services?

What will they be using it for?
What type of meetings will be taking place when using video conferencing? Will they be internal or also have external participants? Will they be point to point meetings or will you need multipoint capabilities for larger meetings? Determining your priorities for these meetings will help with demonstrating immediate value.

Where will these meetings take place?
Will you have dedicated conference rooms with video conferencing equipment? Will these be in all of your locations? Will you allow desktop video conferencing and mobile conferencing abilities? These questions will also help with determining what type of technologies and if you need to implement a BYOD policy.

When will this be purchased?
What is your purchasing procedure? Will this be something that you can move forward with once the correct technologies are determined? Does your organization view video conferencing as an op-ex or cap-ex purchase? These questions are important for determining the best way to purchase this equipment and if certain options like leasing might make sense.

Why do you want to implement video?
This may be the most important question when putting together your video strategy. You must determine what your organization is trying to accomplish and what the goals are with regards to video collaboration. Once this question is answered, you will be able to choose correct technologies and implement a strategy that will work towards those goals.

Once you are successfully able to answer these 5 questions your next step will be to determine the technology, and equally as important, begin creating a video adoption strategy. IVCi can help you build a high quality video conferencing strategy and implementation as well as assist with adoption and usage strategies.

Are you ready to move forward with your video conferencing strategy? Contact us for a free consultation.

This Week In Collaboration

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

What Next for BYOD?
Cisco introduced a BYOD solution to remove some of the burden from IT Departments and provide them with a central point for managing many aspects of the BYOD lifecycle including on-boarding, device profiling, authentication, authorization, offboarding, and self-service management. This all fits in to the recently created industry segment, Mobile Device Management.

4 Productivity Tips for Business Meetings
Many people dread meetings and conference calls and according to a Blue Jeans Network survey, 6% of employees have admitted to falling asleep during conference calls. 4 tips for making the most of your meetings include; face-to-face interaction, timing, less talk, more action, and giving everyone a voice are very important to successful meetings.

How does your mobile define how you work?
A new term, ‘generation mobile’, has been coined for individuals who are defined by their preference for mobility both in terms of the devices they use and their approach to work. The majority of generation mobile individuals are in the early stages of their career and own three or more connected devices. As opposed to using these devices to aide in their workday, they are shaping their working lives around their mobile devices.

The Future of Enterprise Communications: A Customer Perspective
Frost & Sullivan published the results of their annual end user survey on enterprise communications. Business-grade softphones, tablets, and UC clients are expected to experience the most significant increases in demand over the next three years, and cloud computing is expected to increase by 20% over the same time period. Similarly, the rise of the virtual organization and the need to support remote workers, mobility, and bring-your-own technology (BYOT), along with the growing demand for social networking, visual collaboration, and a more personalized experience, are top of mind for IT decision makers and having a considerable impact on IT investment decisions.

Web, video conference insomnia therapies show promise
Insomnia treatment that’s delivered through a web-based program or video conference may help people feel less tired during the day, according to a small study from Canada. For people in rural areas, who may not have access to more traditional treatments, they can use video conferencing to connect with doctors. The study suggests that both web and telehealth based treatments of insomnia show promise and are worthy of further development and study.

4 Ways Video Conferencing Can Help Enhance Customer Relationships

Video conferencing has long been known for reducing travel costs, saving time, and strengthening collaboration within an organization. However, when organizations utilize video conferencing to support customer relationships they have the chance to increase the ROI on their technology investment and boost both new and existing client relationships.

There are multiple ways that video conferencing can add value to customer relationships.  Here are a few that stand out;

1. Training:
Organizations can use video conferencing to help train customers on the product or service they are purchasing. This can help make the training more efficient and allows the ability to provide face-to-face training without needing to be on-location.

2. New Product Updates:
A great way to stay in touch with customers is by giving new product and existing product updates. By using video conferencing to give these updates, companies can stay connected face to face more efficiently with multiple clients.

3. Market Research:
The best way to determine what your customers and future customers need is with market research. Using video conferencing to connect with customers and gather their input is invaluable for R&D. These meetings also give companies a chance to strengthen customer relationships.

4. Adding additional resources during in-person meetings:
When on-location with customer, often times it is essential to have additional resources (i.e. engineers, technicians) there to assist with the meeting. Having those individuals connect to the meeting over video allows them provide overall support more efficiently by reducing the time lost if traveling to each meeting.

Understanding the many different ways that video conferencing can benefit an organization is imperative in truly understanding the value of visual collaboration.

To learn more about how video conferencing can assist your organization, contact us for a personalized consultation.

 

Should I Lease Or Buy Video Conferencing Equipment?

As video conferencing becomes more and more crucial, the decision goes from whether or not to invest to how should we invest? When it comes to buying video conferencing equipment, leasing or buying are the two main options. Which one is the best option? This all depends on each individual companies requirements, bottom line, and preference. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of each to help you decide what’s best for your organization.

Buying Equipment

Pros:
1. Provides more options and increased flexibility since organizations have total control over what they purchase.
2. Endpoints and infrastructure can be customized to meet the organizations exact specifications and requirements.

Cons:
1. Larger upfront costs associated with purchasing equipment.
2. Equipment can become updated prior to it wearing out.
3. The equipment can be complex and difficult to install and maintain if company does not have the right technical resources.

Leasing Equipment

Pros:
1. No upfront costs & predictable monthly payments.
2. Equipment is easier to update and replace, giving companies access to the latest and greatest technology.

Cons:
1. In the long run, leasing is normally much more expensive than purchasing and companies will always have an equipment payment.
2. Leasing is more complex as it requires more paperwork, credit checks, and financial information to procure.

The decision to lease or purchase often comes down to how much flexibility a company needs and how much cash they have at hand for an upfront purchase. Depending on budgets, this comes down to if a company would prefer to purchase the equipment as a cap-ex or op-ex expense. Once you determine how your organization would like to purchase the equipment, the next step will be determining your use cases and how you will be using video conferencing in order to determine what solutions make the most sense for you.

Want to learn more about your leasing options? Contact us to schedule a consultation where we will walk you through your purchasing options as well as help you determine what video conferencing equipment makes the most sense for your organization.

This Week In Collaboration

 

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

First Look: Why Banks Should Copy Amazon s Mayday Video Support

Financial institutions should take notice of Amazon’s video on-demand customer service feature and think about utilizing a similar service on their mobile and tablet applications. Giving customers the ability to speak to a customer service representative face-to-face from their mobile device or tablet could exponentially improve their users digital experience.  This could not only help customer service but also be further extended as a sales tool when branch personnel help with remote assistance to their customers.

Getting Great Audio in a Video Call

Video conferencing has helped to make communication an increasingly enriching experience. However, quality audio in a video call is an essential aspect that cannot be overlooked. Some of the important ways to get great audio include; good echo cancellation, a wide range of frequencies carried by a system, directional microphones, specialized signal processing, high quality speakers and an audio visual optimized room. Any effort to achieve better sound will quickly pay off with more productive and energetic meetings.

Virtualizing Video

Cisco announced it is virtualizing Videoscape, their leading immersive video solution, by putting it in to the cloud. It now is offering cloud software capabilities that can run on public and private clouds, enabling service providers to deploy new video applications on demand. They are also offering Videoscape Cloud Services functionality “as a service” using a unique consumption based model. Cisco Cloud Fusion for Videoscape ties all of the implementation options together. It allows SP’s to seamlessly integrate various models of deploying Videoscape to best support their business needs, maximizing return-on-investment.

A Third of Meetings Use Mobile

According to Blue Jeans Network’s bi-annual “State of the Modern Meeting” report, a 1/3 of all meetings now include a participant on a mobile device. Some other findings include that 71% of people believe they lost a deal due to the lack of face-to-face interaction and 6% admitted to falling asleep during an audio-only meeting. Using video conferencing has proven that visual collaboration is possible regardless of budget-cuts, holidays, bad weather, or geographic dispersion.

Collaboration Wanted; Employee Buy-In Required

Collaboration technology promises many benefits. These advanced solutions remove traditional communication barriers and make it easier to conduct business and speed up decision-making. These solutions can also provide travel savings and reduced office space necessary when implementing telework policies. However, to truly benefit from collaboration tools, end-user buy-in is critical. Because collaboration technology is designed to improve the way people interact, it is very personal. Due to this, users need to have a firm understanding of how the solution is going to meet their own unique needs.