This Week In Collaboration

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

1. Telework rapidly gains momentum but are businesses managing the risks

The increase in telework has been rapidly changing the dynamics of the workplace and employees are reaping the rewards that telework provides. These benefits include  reduced office costs, reduced staff turnover, greater work/life balance, and increased productivity. However, because work health and safety legislation apply to home-based working as well as office based work, companies considering telework arrangements need to make sure they implement appropriate guidelines and policies to minimize risks and ensure a safe workforce.

2. The technology that helps band kids in rural Nebraska unlock their potential

For music students in rural areas, getting specialized training can be very difficult due to lack of teachers and resources. In response to this, Nebraska has started using video conferencing to link students with instructors at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Leveraging video conferencing has allowed music to stay alive in these rural Nebraska towns.

3. How OHSU used telemedicine to save a baby’s life

When a baby came down with a difficult to diagnose virus, a physician at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, called for a telemedicine consultation with Oregon Health & Science University pediatric intensivist. The doctor examined the child via a two way communication system with a robot like device at the patients end and a telemedicine computer workstation on the OHSU end. They were able to determine the baby had a life threatening bacterial infection that required immediate attention.

4. Cisco unveils mobile enhancements to collaboration suite 

As telework and mobile work forces continue to mature and increase across the country, technology companies are racing to supply these modern workers with the tools they need to get the job done. Cisco has announced several new solutions at it’s collaboration summit last month. Some of those include the new Cisco Gateway, the Jabber Guest feature, and several new communication endpoint technologies and products.

5. Videoconference meetings can boost business relationships and productivity 

94% of people believe that face-to-face communications improve business relationships, according to a survey released by Blue Jeans Network. The survey also found that talking to a person’s face is vital to avoiding preconceptions. These significant statistics continue to prove the effectiveness of video conferencing as a corporate communications tool.

10 Tips for Acing a Video Interview

Video interviewing has been consistently gaining traction with hiring managers and recruiters over the last few years due to the time savings and the ability to cut down on travel expenses. Video interviews also give companies insights they would not be able to get over the phone or when reviewing a paper resume including body language and personality.

That being said, video interviews can seem very daunting to anyone unfamiliar or uncomfortable using video conferencing technology. With the prevalence of video interviewing growing rapidly it is essential to understand both the technology and the etiquette in order to make the best impression.

Here are 10 tips for both preparing and conducting your video interview.

  1. Choose a Quiet and Clean Surrounding:  Make sure you set yourself up with a simple neutral background. Elaborate backdrops can be very distracting. Choose a place that has little to no noise and where you will not have people distracting you or the interviewer.
  2. Be Aware Background Noise: The microphone picks up all noises so avoid typing, shuffling papers, or tapping your pen while on the video call.
  3. Make Eye Contact: Look directly in to the camera. You want to make eye contact with the interviewer and that means looking in to the camera, not at the screen or the picture-in-picture screen of yourself.
  4. Use the Picture-in-Picture Feature: Although you should look directly in to the camera for making eye contact, having the PiP feature enabled will help to make sure you appear professionally to the interviewer. Just make sure you only glance at it once in a while.
  5. Dress Professionally: You need to look your best on camera. Dress as if you would for an in-person interview. Solid colors tend to come across best on video, and you should avoid patterns and white as they tend to be distracting or will wash you out.
  6. Practice Makes Perfect: If possible do a video run through with a friend before the interview. Practice answering questions over video and get feedback on your demeanor. Also, take note of your appearance over video and ask your friend to let you know of any thing you were doing that might be distracting.
  7. Good Posture: Sit up straight and try not to slouch, fidget, or look away from the camera. It is very important to show you are engaged, as it is much easier to appear uninterested when over video. Act as if you were in the interviewers office.
  8. Close Other Programs on Your Computer: Notifications from instant messaging programs or social media are both distracting and look unprofessional. Also, too many open programs on your computer can slow your computer speed which can reduce your video quality.
  9. Use Notes: One of the benefits of a video interview is that you can have notes. Notes are ok but make them short, easy to scan, and position them in front of you so that when you refer to them you aren’t looking down.
  10. Test your audio and video: Prior to your interview test your video and audio quality and resolve any technical issues that arise. This will help to alleviate any problems when the interview starts which can be both flustering to the interviewee and take away from the time of the interview if it is on a strict time schedule.

 

What Does an AV Room Consist Of?

What is an AV Room? A place to collaborate? A place to meet with remote team members? A place to present PowerPoint slides? While the correct answer may be all of the above; none of these functions would happen without the proper design and configuration of the space. Technology integration and the actual room environment  are essential considerations when designing an optimal meeting space. As stated by Tim Hennen, SVP of Engineering at IVCi, “An audio visual integrated room is a meld of art and science. The art is in the design of the room itself; the lighting, furniture, and the selection of the right technologies that will eventually come together. The science comes in with the building of those technology connections and making each device work together as if they were one.” That being said, there are 4 core design and technology components that are imperative when creating an effective collaboration environment. Understanding these will also help with determining what you would like to accomplish within the room.

Video “What do you want to see?” Video in an AV room is about the display of content, how you see meeting participants on the other side of the video call,  and how remote participants see you. The equipment associated with video includes cameras, displays, a matrix switcher, a digital video processor, and a codec.

Audio “How do you want to hear/be heard?” Audio in an AV room is about how audio is projected in the room, how sound is sent to remote participants, and how you are heard to remote participants. Equipment for audio includes speakers, microphones, acoustic panels, and an audio control system.

Control “How do you want to control the room?” Control in an AV room is about managing what you display, where you display it, and who is heard. The equipment involved includes a control processor and the control panel.

Lighting “How will the room be lit properly?” Lighting in an AV room is about where the lighting is placed, where current natural light sources are located, and where you want your furniture and equipment placed. Lights, shades, and lighting placement are the essentials associated with lighting in an AV room.

Understanding how these components affect the collaboration space is as important as selecting the the technology itself. Poor lighting or acoustics impact the collaboration experience just as much as not having the right video conferencing or presentation equipment. Download a copy of our AV Buyers guide for detailed explanations of each core component in addition to some handy tips and tricks. AV Buyers Guide CTA

This Week In Collaboration

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

1. Using collaboration as a sales tool

New technology is transforming meeting rooms. Important aspects needed to be taken in to consideration when selecting the right collaboration technology. These factors include ease of use, ability to collaborate with meeting participants, content sharing capability, and quicker start up.

2. Extending Video to the Web through Open Source H.264

Up until now video has not been natively possible through a web browser. WebRTC has been the answer to that, however, speed bumps have been hit around choosing a video codec for the browser. In response, Cisco has announced their plan to open-source their H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

3. Reducing Risk by Way of Cloud

Increasingly, UC premises-based solutions are not physical, but instead software based on standard or virtualized servers. The reason for this move to the cloud is actually so the buyer can shift the responsibility for actual results to the provider.

4. The Therapist Will Skype You Now

School of Social Work professor Namkee Choi brought psychotherapy to aging adults’ homes through Skype. This study used a method called Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) and compared the Skype videoconference to in person and telephone support calls. Results showed a significant reduction in depression symptoms and highe evaluation scores from the tele-PST group than the in-person PST group.

5. Clemson University library unveils classroom of the future

The new digital resources laboratory at Clemson University includes a supercomputer connection 10,000 times faster than the typical home Internet connection and synchronized ultra-high-definition video screens that span 60-square feet. This lab offer students and professors a place to share ideas and enables up to 4 remote audiences at a time via video conferencing.

 

This Week In Collaboration

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

1. Distance Education 2.0

The MOOC movement allows professors to reach anyone in the world with an internet connection through these online open courses. Specifically, China has put a focus on MOOC’s in order to try and improve their domestic education.

2. Taking Video Conferencing out of the boardroom

With mobile devices being used for video conferencing increasing over the last couple years, companies have been able to expand their video environment outside of the boardroom. This is due in part to the interoperability and decreased costs that mobile devices bring to the video conferencing industry.

3. Doctor Visit in the Palm of your hand

New technology allows mobile users to pay a fee to find a practitioner for an immediate live video visit. This can help increase access to doctors regardless of time or location.

4. The tricky balancing act of mobile security

As the demand for mobility and BYOD increases, the need for more advanced mobile security policies increases as well. The main challenge when creating these policies tends to be allowing employees the information that they need without compromising the data or infrastructure.

5. The many advantages of Video Interviews 

Both employers and job seekers can benefit from using video conferencing for interviews. This outlines the benefits for both parties as well as certain things to take in to consideration as the interviewee.

Developing a Mobile Video Strategy Part III

Part One and Part Two in this series focused on having a solid usage plan as well as properly preparing your network for mobile video. This last part focuses on adoption of mobile video and a positive end user experience. Usage, adoption, and positive experiences are paramount when rolling out a new technology. Having a clear program in place for those aspects helps to ensure adoption and a positive end user experience. This plan focuses on the following key areas:

  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Support
  • Tracking

All of these pieces go together to best create a usage and adoption plan. Starting with promoting the new technology is as important as tracking usage and user experience as an on-going process. Understanding all of the steps in this process will help to create an effective implementation as well as assist in ensuring a positive on-going experience.

Download our User Experience and Adoption Checklist to help you put a solid plan in place.

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Five Best Practices For Conducting A Video Call

Video conferencing has proven to be a great way to enhance collaboration and increase productivity. In the last few years, video has gained popularity due to technology advancements and ease of use improvements. That said, there are important user elements to keep in mind to ensure a successful video call.

Here are five best practices to keep in mind:

1. Lighting: Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a video call and bad lighting can take a good quality to poor quality very quickly. First, make sure there is enough light in the room. If dimly lit, turn more lights on or add a lamp to your workstation. Second, look at the direction of the light. If your lighting is coming from directly behind you, particularly from a window, then you are going to appear as a very dark shadow to the person you are speaking with. It would be best to move to where the window is not directly behind you, close the blinds, or try and counter the light with a lamp on you desk.. Lastly, overhead lighting can create a lot of shadows. Having a lamp pointing at you on your desk can help with creating the ideal lighting that is pointing towards you and illuminating the face.

2. Camera Angle: testing and adjusting your camera angle prior to the call is important in ensuring proper set-up. Using the self-view mode can help to give you a good idea of how you will appear to the participant on the other end of the call. If on a laptop, positioning your web cam at eye level is a good way to avoid awkward angles. If conducting a video call on a mobile device, keeping the device as steady as possible while also holding it out in front of you at eye level are very important. When using a room based system, zoom the camera to focus on the participants in the room while making sure that everyone on the call is in the frame.

3. Speaker/Volume: There are a few important aspects you want to pay attention to when it comes to speakers and volume while on a video call. First, test your speakers and audio prior to the call to ensure they are working properly. Second, using a headset can help with reducing outside noise, echo, and improving overall audio quality when using a laptop or mobile device for your video call. Lastly, if on a larger multiparty call, mute yourself when not speaking so as to avoid any added noise.

4. Eye contact/Multitasking: Often on video calls, people will look down to take notes or work on their computer. Try to look in to the camera while speaking and avoid looking down for long periods of time. Also, when sharing content, place the content on the same level as the camera so as to not appear you are looking away while presenting. Because eye contact is so important in a video call, try to avoid multi-tasking including checking email, looking at your phone, or even getting up. This can be very distracting for other parties on the call, and it can create the appearance that you are not actively participating in the call. Eliminating distractions in your environment can help with keeping you focused on the call at hand.

5. Bandwidth: Having adequate bandwidth is one of the most important elements when conducting a video call. Testing your video prior to a meeting helps to ensure you have adequate bandwidth for the call. Required network speeds for video conferencing vary depending on the solution. For example, consumer applications tend to require less bandwidth, whereas enterprise options can require more. Likewise, depending on the solution, multiparty calls can increase requirements as well.

Top 10 Video Conferencing Terms

Video has traditionally been viewed as complicated with a wide range of phrases that many don’t understand. It seems as though every day there are new terms and buzzwords being used in the video industry that make keeping up and mastering the technology very difficult at times.

With the rise of video conferencing popularity understanding some of these terms is imperative in choosing the right solution.

Here are 10 of the most common terms and their definitions:

1. Endpoint: The physical equipment or software used to make a video connection. They can be in the form of a room based system, desktop client, or a mobile device.

2. Content Sharing: Showing your desktop or specific content such as power point presentation, word or excel documents, pictures etc.

3. Point to point call: Communication between two endpoints. This is in contrast to a multipoint call where there are three or more connections on the call.

4. Multipoint Call: Communication between 3 or more connections. Multipoint calls connect using either a hardware or a cloud based bridge.

5. Firewall Traversal: Technology that creates a secure path through the firewall. This enables traffic from an organizations internal network to internet at large.

6. Interoperability: The ability for systems to work together. With video this means different endpoints being able to connect together for a video call.

7. Room based systems: Portable or non-portable dedicated systems with all the required components for a video call. This usually includes a camera, codec, control computer and all electrical interfaces. Typically, microphones and a display will connect to the system as well.

8. Streaming: A Method of relaying data (video) over a computer network as a steady continuous stream, and allowing playback to proceed while subsequent data is being received.

9. H.323: A standard video protocol that manufacturers use that allow their systems to speak the same language. It controls audio and video signals, bandwidth, and call control.

10. SIP: A video protocol designed to enable the communication and connection of devices across networks. This is an older protocol that was designed more for closed systems that would ultimately connect via gateways to other closed systems.

This Week in Collaboration

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

1. Working Smarter: The Paradigm Shift in Business Collaboration

Great insight on how individuals embracing new collaboration tools will benefit from a more innovative, efficient, and happier workforce. In contrast to past work environments, these new disruptive forces in collaboration technologies have created new strategies for companies to implement.

2. Fufulling the promise of advanced collaboration 

Although the advanced collaboration technologies emerging in our market today are increasing productivity, there have been many IT challenges along the way. One of the most difficult hurdles for implementing these tools is the lack of an open standards-based development framework.

3. Collaboration and the future of Customer Support 

Understanding the changing nature of customer support is imperative for organizations looking to increase productivity and customer approval rates. This new wave of collaborative support is strongly tied to the mobile revolution, with the addition of social options alongside traditional phone support.

4. Five tips to ace your next video conference from anywhere 

With the rise in popularity of video conferencing, particularly mobile video, these are some important tips to remember when conducting your next video call. These include practice, position, appearance, attention and mute/disconnect.

5. Web Conferencing: Need for Today’s Business World 

With the increasing mobile workforce, the need for high quality collaborative technologies is very important for productivity. Web conferencing in particular allows individuals to connect and join a meeting any time and any place.

Developing a Mobile Video Strategy Part II

As stated in Part 1 of this series, when choosing to deploy a mobile video strategy, having a plan of attack is of utmost importance. The first step was defining the video environment to determine what is necessary for a successful implementation. The second step in developing a mobile video strategy is to assess different aspects of the organization’s network environment. This focuses on the following key areas:

  • Office Network
  • Remote Network
  • Infrastructure
  • Platform Consideration
  • Active Directory Integration

Specifically, this means that attention needs to be paid to an office’s wireless network configuration, remote network essentials, defined software platforms, necessary infrastructure, and determination of active directory integration.

For example, it is imperative to understand potential bandwidth consumption so as to prepare the network with adequate bandwidth capacity. Implementing a mobile video strategy can cause an explosion of bandwidth usage, which can be crippling to a network if not adjusted properly. Understanding these necessary steps when preparing a network for mobile video will help to ensure an effective and successful implementation.

Download our network considerations guide to get started with planning your mobile video strategy.

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