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.

This Week In Collaboration

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

Video conferencing in the cloud takes business collaboration to new heights.
As confidence to deliver services and applications in the cloud gathers pace, Video Conferencing as a Service (VCaaS) is starting to evolve. According to recent research from Wainhouse Research, the number of solutions available in this space has grown drastically, with many based on technology platforms that were not available until 2013. With the rise of VCaaS and video delivered via the cloud, businesses can now take better advantage of video to transform their business without the high price tag.

Show and Tell: Why Mobile Video Conferencing Matters
Video is everywhere right now, and that trend isn’t going to change any time soon. The simultaneous explosion in both mass-consumer and enterprise video applications are driven by increased utility with the tools, leading to wider adoption and lower costs. This feeds back into further development of those tools, furthering the cycle. Ease of use and the ability for users to download a video conferencing app on virtually any device has also helped to increase adoption and popularity of video conferencing.

Videoconferencing Is a Green Business Response to Climate Change
Carbon emissions need to be cut by 90 percent by 2050, according to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Videoconferencing can offer a competitive advantage for companies and is a win-win option for organizations and their employees. Many small businesses are limited by the amount of money they can pour into business travel, according to TVTI. By being familiar and comfortable with a videoconferencing tool, employees can save money and time, while still achieving the goal of staying in contact with crucial people who are essential to success.

How video conferencing can expand student growth
Like many educators, Charles Hay World School in Englewood Colorado faced a challenge: how to create an exciting, real-world curriculum within the confining four walls of a classroom. And as many other educators have discovered, connecting to museums, mentors and students in far-away locations via video conferencing was a clear way improve the overall educational experience and expand students’ world of learning.

Videoconferencing Connects Hospice Patients, Families – InformationWeek
Connecting with loved ones during their last days is invaluable to survivors and patients, but can be impossible for family members and friends who live far away. When it built Ames House, Hospice of the Western Reserve wanted to incorporate videoconferencing to bring everyone together. The nonprofit’s main goals were to ensure the system easily melded into the facility’s home-like atmosphere, Bob Plona, director of residential services at Hospice of the Western Reserve, says in an interview. It also had to be user friendly so patients didn’t need any assistance from staff, he adds.

This Week In Collaboration

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

What’s Standards-Based Video Conferencing Anyway?
“Are you currently set up with some sort of standards-based system for video conferencing?” The question itself exemplifies the inability of current players to understand the shift that WebRTC is bringing with it–and here, WebRTC is just a catalyst for a larger industry trend in communications. I have WebRTC on my browser. I’ve got Skype installed and Hangouts as well. Between these three services, do I need any “standards-based system for video conferencing” to talk to anyone?

A UC in the Cloud Update
Adoption of cloud-based UC applications isn’t exactly new. In fact, one could argue that the two most widely used collaboration applications have always been cloud-based; WebEx and Skype. But for those using enterprise platforms for voice, video conferencing, messaging, and document sharing, it’s only more recently that cloud-based alternatives have become a viable alternative to on-premises systems. So is it time for companies of any and all sizes to toss out their on-premises platforms and move to the cloud? The answer, as any good consultant will tell you, is “it depends.”

Federation of State Medical Boards requires video consults
This past weekend, the State Medical Boards’ Appropriate Regulation of Telemedicine (SMART) Workgroup of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) issued a new guidance document designed to help individual state medical boards establish more cohesive and uniform policies for the administration and regulation of telemedicine. According to the document issued by the SMART Workgroup, these model guidelines provide a basis for state medical boards to evaluate, “the appropriateness of care as related to the use of telemedicine, or the practice of medicine using electronic communication, information technology or other means, between a physician in one location and a patient in another location with or without an intervening health care provider.”

Collaboration Technology and the Future Workplace
There’s no doubt that the physical environment in which we work is important. Spaces that are clean, well-lit, and attractive can go a long way towards fostering productivity, positive attitudes, and teamwork. But configuring your physical space is just one part of the overall solution. Embedding collaboration technology into your space design is critical to the success of any workplace transformation effort. Employees need seamless, uninterrupted access to the information they need to get their jobs done. And the tools they use must be as intuitive as their own personal devices.

Telecommuting Tales from a First-Time Mom
Working in an environment that champions video, I’ve always had the flexibility to telecommute. But never have I appreciated it more than these past eight months. Here are a few reasons why; It’s a time saver. Every moment is precious and sometimes moms wish there were 28 hours in a day so they could get everything done. By using videoconferencing, there’s no commute, which means saving a lot of time. Some positions require a bit of travel and thanks to video there are ways for mothers to stay connected while away. Lastly, by using video to connect with coworkers, it gives mothers the ability to east in and out of maternity leave seamlessly by always staying connected face to face.

This Week In Collaboration

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

New hardware Solutions, New Investment, What Does it Mean to Industry
The video collaboration world has reached another interesting inflection point.  The market has shown that there is an experience threshold to deliver effective remote video collaboration – recall the rapid doubling of the video market between 2006 and 2008 when HD video became possible across a range of platforms. It is also clear that high quality experience delivers both dramatic productivity increases as well as significant business growth opportunities.

Top 5 Tips to Collect and Protect Tacit Knowledge with Video
An organization’s most valuable asset is knowledge.  Now more than ever before, organizations are aware of the importance of training to their success, and of the impact that training has on bottom-line performance.   Charles Jennings, former Chief Learning Officer of Reuters stated that only 10% of knowledge is derived from formal learning, while 70% comes from on-the-job experience.  That’s what we call ‘tacit knowledge.’ It’s the stuff you can’t find in manuals, the things you can only learn from decades on the job.

UC Sales On the Upswing
The results of the annual InformationWeek State of Unified Communications survey have just come in, and they show a significant uptick in UC sales. After lying relatively dormant from 2012 to 2013, respondents claiming to have deployed UC jumped from 38% to 44%. By the same token, 32% still claim to have no plans to deploy UC at all, roughly the same percentage as last year.

Why Telehealth Services Can Remedy Healthcare Deficiencies
Children’s Specialized Hospital is the first pediatric rehabilitation hospital in the country using VGo, a robot that allows physicians to interact with their patients at any hour of the day without physically being in the hospital. With VGo, a secure wireless connected device that enables a distant person to be “present” through two- way video, audio and motor driven action. VGo is 100% controlled by a person using a PC, Mac or iPad. With its integrated camera, microphones, and video display – all on a light-weight, robot style platform

Successful remote collaboration: tips from those in the know
The latest developments in communications technology have enabled more and more firms to operate from a variety of locations, including from overseas.When it’s time to brainstorm or plan business strategy, that same technology enables key individuals in those various locations to collaborate effectively without incurring huge costs of long distance travel to meetings and subsequent lost productivity.

Cool Use Case: Hosting Concerts With Video Conferencing

As video conferencing becomes increasingly popular and widely used,  the unique use cases continue to grow. Video has now expanded far past face-to-face conferencing for meetings.  One particularly interesting use case we have noticed recently is using video conferencing to host virtual concerts.

Picture this; you are an up and coming singer or musician trying to build a fan base or an established artist wanting to connect with your fans. Where are these fans? In the age of social media, the answer is often everywhere. Most artists would love the ability to perform for these fans all over the country or world, however, touring is expensive and often requires many resources. This is where video conferencing comes in.

In the world of music, online concerts can be a great opportunity for musicians and singers to perform for their fans all at once, connecting to them in a unique and creative way. This also opens up the performance to people who would not otherwise be able to attend the concert. Some artists are performing these concerts for large groups, while others are auctioning off private concerts and meet and greets. Similarly, some artists will perform these concerts in combination with an event they are doing at a local venue. This has been found to be a great way to expand audiences, promote their work, and connect with their fans on a truly personal level.

Along with the benefits of using video to host a concert, there are also challenges. Internet connection and bandwidth issues tend to be the largest hurdle. Not only does the artist need to have enough bandwidth to support the video, but the participants need to have a strong enough connection to enjoy the show. Also, if using a free service like Google Hangouts or Skype to host the show, attendees will need a log-in for the respective service. If they do not already have an account this can create extra steps which could result in fewer attendees.

As with most new trends there is going to be a learning and adoption curve. However, if people continue to use video conferencing more in their day to day life, we have no doubt that events like this will continue to rise in popularity along with other unique use cases.

This Week In Collaboration

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

Benefits of video conferencing include less travel, but it’s not No. 1
For decades, enterprises have turned to video conferencing in large part as a means of reducing business travel expenses. However, a recent survey by Wainhouse Research of 4,700 end users of video conferencing found that the incentives for using video are shifting: 94% noted that the biggest benefit was increased efficiency and productivity; 88% cited increased impact of discussions; and 87% said video expedited decision-making — the same percentage who said it reduced travel.

Telework Week Saved Feds 14 Million Miles, $13 Million
This year’s Telework Week, which ran March 3-7, drew 163,973 pledges, more than four times the 2011 number. The average Telework Week participant teleworked two days during the week, avoided a 45-mile round-trip commute into the office and saved 4.5 hours and $90 in commuting costs for the week. Nearly all (94 percent) pledges came from the federal government, enabling federal employees to save a collective $13 million in commuting costs, avoid 14 million miles of travel and gain back more than 716,000 hours.

Concierge healthcare services via video – a concept on the rise
Although not a new concept, concierge healthcare services used to be a luxury that only a certain percentage of Americans could possibly afford. Changes in the healthcare system and economic drivers may be changing that. Under this model, doctors essentially work under retainer, being paid monthly fees to offer healthcare services to a patient or family. Healthcare practices operating in a concierge healthcare model could utilize telemedicine solutions to conduct many of their house calls and appointments. This diminishes the travel element and enables medical professionals to see just as many, if not more, patients each day. Telemedicine can also allow doctors to cast a much wider net for their patients.

Mobility Tops the List of Digital Priorities
If you thought either big data analytics or cloud computing initiatives rank at the top of today’s digital agenda, guess again. Mobility strategies hold a clear edge, according to a recent survey from Accenture. The resulting report, “Mobility: Fueling the Digital Surge,” demonstrates how much further ahead “mobility leader” organizations are on their progress toward these goals, compared to the rest of the field. And while the required commitment here is clearly evident at the very highest levels of organizational leadership, there are still many obstacles that CIOs must overcome.

Get ready for new ATM’s
Recently, more and more banks are starting to equip their ATM’s with technological upgrades, one of those being video conferencing. Banks are working on technology tools to give customers new, faster ways to interact with their branches. ATMs with touch screens will soon work with our smartphones. New apps will help zip cash to you as quickly as you can snap a picture. Videoconferencing with representatives in call centers lets banks extend hours for basic services and screen tellers can handle about 95 percent of typical bank transactions. This allows both customers and banks to increase productivity and efficiency when handling transactions and consultations.

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Video Conferencing – Infographic

From healthcare and education to small business and the enterprise, organizations across the globe are beginning to embrace new technologies that are designed to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Not only are these socially responsible decisions good for our environment, they are also good for your financial bottom line.

Video conferencing is often an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes looking to enhance collaboration within their organization. How can your business reduce their carbon footprint and benefit from implementing video conferencing? The infographic below explores some of those ways and how video conferencing can assist with “going green”.

Reducing-Carbon-Footprint-Infographic-320x1000

Top 4 Retail Collaboration Trends – Infographic

Being successful in the market today is very closely related to how well retailers are responding to evolving technology and customer needs. Likewise, how retailers implement these technologies today will play an important role in how they accommodate future technology demands.

The retail industry is full of amazing use cases for collaboration technology. The Infographic below explores some of the latest trends in technology used in retail and the types of solutions being utilized.

Retail-Technology-Infographic-320x990

If you’re interested in learning more about collaboration trends in retail and how IVCi can help you implement those technologies, tweet us @IVCiLLC or click here to send us an email.

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.