Leading Health Benefits Company Increases Video Conferencing Use With IntelliNet MCS®
By Nina Parker
A multi-billion dollar health benefits company installed video conferencing to facilitate communication among its dozens of locations throughout the United States. Executive, operations, actuarial, finance, marketing, and sales meetings, employee reviews, and nursing seminars were to be conducted over video on a regular basis. Video was also intended to be used as a key tool in expediting the company's numerous mergers and acquisitions. However, actual use of the technology was limited because staff members found it unreliable and difficult to use.
The company needed to improve the user's experience so that more employees would choose video as a means of collaboration. Once usage increased, the company planned to show a return on its investment with reduced travel time and expenses, enhanced meeting productivity, and improved collaboration. It also wanted to incorporate video into its green initiatives to reduce car and air travel, as part of an overall effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Industry expert IVCi was chosen to deliver a service that would increase the use of video conferencing by making it consistent, dependable, and easy to use. IVCi's IntelliNet Managed Conferencing Services (MCS) was implemented for complete management of all aspects of video conferencing, including a single scheduling process and a video architected IP network.
IntelliNet MCS made it possible for an employee to schedule a meeting, then just show up to the conference room and have it start. The user did not have to touch the technology because every aspect of the video call (including any troubleshooting) was managed by IVCi.
Since IVCi deployed its managed service, video conferencing use by the company grew in excess of 400%. "IVCi has shown us that video conferencing can be highly reliable," said the company's senior video conferencing advisor. "In fact, reliability increased from 67% all the way to 99.7 %. This has helped us grow video conferencing usage because people realize that their calls are going to be launched successfully and stay up the entire time; it's going to be a nice, clean call. The overall user experience has greatly improved."
As video conferencing adoption has increased across the organization, travel between company locations has been reduced. One outcome of this is enhanced communication and increased efficiency, since staff members no longer have to spend valuable time and money traveling to meet face-to-face with other team members. "The travel is reduced - I think that companies of all sizes are always looking for ways to improve communication and reduce travel expenses. We have had a lot of requests from upper management to reduce travel costs, and we are able to point to video conferencing as a way to do that," the senior video conferencing advisor said.
Recently the company has implemented several green initiatives in an effort to become more environmentally conscious. The increased use of video conferencing has played a role in eliminating some of the company's carbon dioxide emissions, since employees were able to cut down on car and plane travel. "The reduction in CO2 emissions is something that IVCi tracks and reports for us," commented the senior video conferencing advisor. In fact, the company's efforts have earned it a top 10 ranking in a leading publication's list of green companies. "We are focused on being a green company, and video conferencing along with other technologies we have implemented has helped us achieve this."
A Telepresence Primer
By Nina Parker
What is telepresence?
Whether you are new to video conferencing or are looking to upgrade your current solution, you have probably come across the term 'telepresence' in your research. Telepresence is a groundbreaking telecommunications offering which is setting new standards for visual collaboration.
A virtual meeting experience unlike any other, telepresence creates the illusion that remote participants are in the same room together. This effect is created by a close configuration of large screen video monitors, hidden cameras strategically placed to create the appearance of direct eye contact, consistent furniture arrangements across locations, and limited user interaction with the technology. All the participant has to do is walk into the room, and a life-like meeting between attendees across the U.S. or the globe can begin.
As you might imagine, this type of video conferencing system is at the high-end of the solutions available on the market today. This is due in part to the high quality images that are delivered with at least three high-definition codecs. Additionally, some solutions provide a completely immersive experience, since they come with a "room within a room" design. The result is a meeting so true to life, participants often feel as if it actually took place face-to-face.
The cost of a telepresence solution has recently come down slightly, and will vary depending on the manufacturer. And of course, to work effectively you will need to invest in more than one telepresence room. However, many telepresence solutions are now standards based, so they are compatible with other desktop or room based video conferencing solutions that may already exist within your organization.
Is telepresence right for my company?
Telepresence was originally introduced as a top-of-the-line video conferencing solution designed for high-level executive meetings. The idea was to create a conference room environment that delivered an experience so true to life an executive could use the solution instead of spending time and money traveling to meetings. A company would make the investment because the return would justify the expense.
A telepresence system can certainly benefit upper-management, but it is also useful for other levels of management. Like traditional video conferencing, telepresence can enhance collaboration, resulting in more efficient meetings. And once management realizes the benefits of telepresence, this positive attitude could permeate throughout the organization, resulting in an increased use of other video systems.
If you decide telepresence is right for your company, important factors to consider include your budget and the amount of bandwidth you have available to allocate to video. You will also need to decide whether to use a dedicated in-house IT team to manage the equipment, the network, and the users, or if it makes more sense to outsource this task to an experienced service provider like IVCi.
How do I get started?
If you decide that telepresence could be a good fit for your company, your next step should be to schedule a demo of the solution through IVCi, since this is the best way to understand the full potential of a telepresence system.
IVCi is a Platinum certified reseller of both Polycom telepresence and TANDBERG telepresence solutions, and we have expertise in integrating these systems with any existing video conferencing solution your company may have. We also provide managed conferencing services, including a 24/7 VNOC that fully supports telepresence systems.
We will work closely with you to make sure that your solution meets your organization's unique requirements. Call us at 1-800-224-7083 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started now.
Gartner Recommends HD Videoconferencing for Businesses
While the price of systems drop, other costs may include provisioning an appropriate room, ensuring adequate bandwidth, and anticipating an increase in use rates.
By Antone Gonsalves
March 27, 2008
Organizations upgrading their standard-definition videoconferencing systems should purchase high-definition systems from now on, a research firm said Thursday.
Some HD systems have dropped sufficiently in price to appeal to most organizations planning an update, Gartner said. Systems are selling for less than $10,000 per endpoint.
The videoconference market is in the early stages of maturity, with penetration less than 5% in organizations. "However, it has reached the point where it's a significant upgrade in terms of quality, and it's competitive enough in terms of cost, to appeal to organizations evaluating videoconferencing technology for room-based environments," Rich Costello, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.
Gartner expects the move to HD systems to be a driving factor behind a 20% to 30% annual growth rate of the worldwide market during the next couple of years.
Although an uncertain economic outlook for this year could prompt organizations to curtail IT spending, HD videoconferencing offers long-term cost savings, such as decreasing executive travel at a time of soaring gas and jet fuel prices, Gartner said. Other benefits include contributing to a company's "green IT" initiative, and increasing employee availability and productive work time.
In moving to HD video technology, however, Gartner advises organizations to consider costs other than the initial price of the system. Those costs include provisioning an appropriate room, ensuring adequate bandwidth, and anticipating an increase in use rates.
InformationWeek magazine has listed video over Internet protocol networks as one of five disruptive technologies to watch this year.
The combination of YouTube, improved Web-based and live videoconferencing, and the ease and lower cost of creating video content is expected to lead to more video running across corporate networks, the magazine said.
For additional information regarding telepresence, HD video conferencing, audio visual integration or any of IVCi's products and services, please call 1-800-224-7083 ext. 109, or click here to have an IVCi Representative contact you.
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