Video conferencing technology crosses geographical boundaries and connects participants all over the world with the click of a button. Many collaboration sessions with peers are informal gatherings where different ideas and concepts are discussed. However, what is perceived as a normal hand gesture in one country may be completely offensive in another. Colleagues should be mindful of their hand gestures during international meetings and specifically avoid the gestures below that have multiple meanings. A-Okay In the US and UK this gestures is often used to signify things are “a-okay” or absolutely fine but in Japan it means money or coins. This can become quite …

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The Mobility Challenge

June 11, 2012, by Lisa Avvocato in Telepresence, Video Conferencing

Video conferencing with anyone, from anywhere, on any device is becoming a major trend. Users love the flexibility of being able to join from their PC at home instead of trekking into the office conference room. Similarly, the ability to join a video call while taking the ferry back home or even an extremely important client meeting while on vacation not only makes employees more productive but helps contribute to a better work/life balance. But can you really join a video conference from anywhere? For personal use – absolutely; because no one really minds a choppy signal that fades in and out or the …

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You can pay people to do pretty much anything nowadays; from landscaping and housekeeping to filing your taxes and even interviewing. Wait, interviewing?  How is that even possible? Think about it, the first round of interviews are usually done over the telephone by the recruiting or HR team.  The whole purpose is to weed out candidates so it’s typically very difficult to differentiate yourself. But, candidates know they must find a way in order to land that elusive face-to-face interview where they can win the job with their stunning personality and great interpersonal skills. To gain an initial advantage, some candidates are paying …

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It seems like every day there are new headlines in the telecommunications industry about unified communications, the latest acquisition, release or new cloud service. The term “unified communications” has been around for a long time; but it means different things to different people – just take a look at some major software companies or hardware manufacturers. Microsoft has taken its Office Communications Server, transformed it into Lync, and gained significant mind and market share with the product. In addition, they have worked closely with Polycom to integrate video conferencing into the Lync ecosystem. Cisco, on the other hand, has significantly invested in Jabber …

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At any given time there are several different languages being spoken in an emergency room.  Spouses, children, friends or relatives are usually there to interpret; but what happens when an interpreter is not immediately available? Calling one over audio is an option; however, it can get extremely confusing handing phones back and forth while a remote third-party translates.  For the hearing impaired, Video Relay Services are an option; however, according to FCC regulations they are designated for telephone calls only and cannot be used when both hearing and hearing impaired parties are in the same room.  Enter Video Remote Interpreting (VRI); a …

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What happens when you put a Cisco CTS 1300 and a couple of super genius IVCi audio visual designers in the same room? A panoramic camera view that allows all three room segments to be captured, as well as, auto switches to the person speaking for a close up view. With the help of several magic boxes, a few third party tools, and a whole lot of IVCi ingenuity, this truly unique design enables collaboration by not only allowing participants to view the presenter, but to view the other participants reactions. Now you can easily bounce back and forth between meeting participants without losing sight …

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Health care organizations throughout the world continue to implement telemedicine solutions at a growing rate to help extend the reach of health care. The benefits are enormous, for both the patient and the health care provider: No matter where a patient is located, they can gain access to the specialists they need to diagnose and treat their ailments. A health care provider can check in with patients remotely, helping to reduce costly re-admissions. In an emergency setting, a patient’s specialized needs can be responded to in a quicker, more efficient manner. While the list of benefits is extensive; a major challenge of telemedicine is the economics …

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I spent my childhood in St. Louis, MO and by the time I graduated high school I was ready to leave. I decided to go to college 1200 miles away in Boston and eventually moved to New York where I’ve finally settled down. Now, my best friends and I are all scattered across the country – Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, Washington, DC. We went from seeing each other every day to only during the summers and holidays and now it’s been a few years since we’ve all gotten together as a group. Last year we were talking about getting a group trip together …

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Using Goals to Inspire Better Performance

May 31, 2012, by Lisa Avvocato in Collaboration

Video conferencing benefits managers of remote workers in several ways, including strengthening relationship through face-to-face communications. But what are some other ways managers can use video to increase motivation among geographical dispersed teams? Collaborative goal setting. Participation in the goal setting process increases both employee commitment and goal attainment as employees accept greater ownership and responsibility. During this process, managers should make sure goals and incentives are aligned with the firm’s overall mission and goals. For example, paying a bonus based on quantity of work produced is counterproductive if the firm’s goals are based on quality of work produced. After goals have been set, managers should …

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Build Your Own Team of Avengers

May 30, 2012, by Lisa Avvocato in Collaboration

We’ve all heard the famous story of Mike Smith and Dick Rowe who turned down the Beatles because “four-piece groups with guitars are finished.” This was probably one of the worst business decisions in history and today’s executives are doing everything in their power to avoid the same demise. There are several secrets to successful decisions but teamwork and collaboration seem to be the most talked about.   But does teamwork guarantee success? Of course not, it can simply improve the chances for success if done properly.  So what makes a good team?  Member Diversity: It wouldn’t have mattered if Smith and Rowe had three …

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