Video Conferencing 101: How Not To Be A Vidiot

The latest video conferencing technology is drop-dead simple to use. It’s as easy as pushing one button to join a video conference. Yes, you heard it right: one single button to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime with pristine quality.

So, the technology has arrived but how fluent are you in the language of video conferencing and mastery of online meeting etiquette? Much like perfecting your golf swing or getting a swim cap on your head properly, becoming well-mannered on video conferences requires awareness of a few important nuances. Some are so subtle that it doesn’t matter much, like knowing exactly when to look directly into the camera to mimic eye contact, or choosing to nod your head instead of saying, “uh-huh.” Others are more significant.

In the Entrepreneur article, “Is There Proper Etiquette for? Videoconferencing,” Ross McCammon, Articles Editor for Esquire magazine, states, “Video conferencing is one of those things that we all generally endorse but is still new enough that we haven’t fully adapted to it.” That observation was made in 2011. Now, in 2016, video meetings have moved beyond a hot new trend to an everyday part of work life, and video etiquette has become even more important with a greater number of remote workers.

“The workplace is no longer defined by one centralized location. More employees are working remotely and high-quality video conferencing solutions from companies such as Polycom have become an integral tool for those workers to remain connected with colleagues globally,” said Jacob Morgan, best-selling author, speaker and future of work consultant. “With platforms like Facebook buying in to the video market, video conferencing is becoming more ubiquitous.”

We’re past the Wild, Wild West of video conferencing stage, but we haven’t all arrived at the stage in which we all follow the same code of conduct. For video veterans, this is a time to reach out and help your neighbor in need of video decorum. For video novices, this is a time to learn how not to be a Vidiot (video idiot).

 Video etiquette goofs happen

First, allow me to acknowledge that mistakes happen. Just as the proverbial cobbler’s children have no shoes, video etiquette goofs happen to even the most technologically savvy—even those who work at Polycom, the maker of industry-leading video conferencing solutions with a remote work friendly culture.

As a five months employee of Polycom using video collaboration technology daily, I still occasionally forget to unmute the microphone, enthusiastically speaking for a while before realizing the other meeting attendees can’t hear me. But these things happen, just as most Americans regularly walk out the door without their car keys. Or when we have a brain hiccup and can’t remember the word for oven, so we call it a “baking station.” These things happen.

 Jokes. Wait for it…

For instance, jokes. McCammons says that jokes are about 30% less funny on video conferencing. I have more to add on that.

When video conferencing in real time, your voice takes about one second to reach halfway around the world—not bad! You learn not to be disappointed when no one laughs at your joke immediately. The first time I told a joke on a video conference call, I assumed the joke fell flat because no one laughed immediately. As I began to internally comfort myself from the embarrassment of delivering an unfunny joke, everyone laughed. It had just taken a second to land. Now I deliver the joke, wait a beat, and let the laughs roll in. If my joke is still not funny when it lands, I blame audio problems.

 Vidiocy on a global scale

The beauty of video conferencing is that it brings worldwide colleagues together into one virtual room, defying even the furthest of distances. As with any international collaboration, you learn to be attentive to regional norms. For instance, having your pet in the room is generally okay in the UK, France, and Germany. Your Labrador Retriever Mr. Bojangles may not be as welcome on camera when you’re working with colleagues in India and Poland. Polycom commissioned a global survey of 1,205 business decision-makers in 12 countries,  and found enlightening results you can read about out in Your guide to video conferencing trends and etiquette.

Great tips, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a sort of video conferencing sergeant standing over your shoulder to drill the video conferencing violations out of you?

Introducing Polly Calm

Meet Polly Calm, the video-centric Emily Post (no relation to Huffington Post). She’s frank, she’s funny, and she’s on a mission to save you from being a Vidiot. You may love her, you may hate her, or you may love to hate her, but one thing’s for sure: people need her. Through a six-episode video series, Polly Calm will share important tips and tricks designed to educate even the most seasoned video conferencing professionals on proper video etiquette. Polly Calm will prepare everyone, from interns conducting their first video job interview to C-level executives leading business meetings, to make a great impression.


Web and Video Conferencing Trends in the NHS 2017


The outcome of last year’s Wachter Review has been a renewed focus by Government on the creation of a digital NHS. Digital technology has the potential to revolutionize both the way the healthcare system runs, and how patients interact with it.

New ways of working such as online conferencing are growing in popularity as it enables collaboration between clinicians and in particular, allows for greater efficiency in internal meetings. But how does it fit in with the Government’s new website due to launch next year? This new site is expected to allow patients to access a range of services online such as registering with a GP, accessing healthcare records, or getting medical advice.

Three GP practices across Essex and Greater Manchester already reportedly offer online video consultations with others expected to follow suit in the future so this is a huge potential area for healthcare organizations to explore.

With this in mind, the iGov Survey team worked with Brother UK, to consider how healthcare organizations are using video and/or web conferencing solutions to not only improve collaboration between staff and departments internally but also improve the service user and patient experience.

It also considered the types of environment in which conferencing solutions are used or could potentially be used by both staff and servicer users whilst it also sought to understand both the benefits and barriers of rolling the solution out organization-wide.

Following extensive review, we have now collated the resulting outcomes and the following report contains a summary of our key findings.

8 Ways students can benefit from Video Conferencing


Video conferencing has become a staple of many businesses in recent years, allowing companies to meet together and share ideas in a matter of minutes, saving them time and money in travel into the bargain. The technology has proved so versatile, that now the education sector has been trying it out in the classroom.

But what can you do with technology meant for the business room in the classroom? Does it really have a place in technology? You would be surprised at just how useful it is for teachers and students alike. Check out the various uses of video conferencing below, and see just how your students can use it to enhance their learning.

Go on a virtual field trip: While fun and hugely beneficial to students, sometimes it just isn’t feasible to take your class on a field trip. With time restraints, money concerns, and staffing issues, there just isn’t any way to take the students to your local museum or place of interest. However, not all is lost, as they trip can come to you. Video conferencing also means that distance isn’t an issue, so you can take the class on a trip somewhere thousands of miles away, just with the push of a button.

Talk to experts around the world: When you’re studying the people of Ancient Greece or the life cycle of a frog, it can feel as though there are limitations to your knowledge. You may not be able to bring an expert in the subject into your classroom physically, but you certainly can with video conferencing. For example, Mashable describes how one class, struggling with their writing skills, took part in a seminar about narrative writing online, and came away excited about what they could do next.

Collaborate with other schools: In past years, your class may have worked with a different class in your school on a project, or maybe another school in your local area. Video conferencing makes it possible to collaborate with schools all over the country, or even further afield. Lifesize shows how conferencing can help you reach other children all over the globe and allow your class to put a face to other cultures that otherwise that they wouldn’t have been able to, otherwise.

Expand access to education to rural areas: Most students can take their access to education for granted, but some struggle to learn due to their distance from a school, and other obligations that make learning take a backseat. Video conferencing means that they can attend school from home, fulfilling their right to an education, and allowing them to attend any field trips or other special events that the class may attend.
Record classes: You hope that none of your students will miss school, but sometimes it’s unavoidable due to illness or other complications. If a student is living with a long-term illness, they can miss out on a large amount of schooling, which can seriously affect their education. Video conferencing technology allows teachers to record their lessons and send the videos to their absent students. The student doesn’t miss out on anything, and you have a record of your classes that can be useful for evaluation purposes.
Create study groups: If students are given access to the technology, it can be used for all kinds of purposes. When putting together study groups, conferencing can be used to allow the group to meet up remotely. This is great if all of your students live distantly from each other, as it allows them to meet instantly from the comfort of their own homes.

Remote parent/teacher conferences: It can be difficult to get parents into the school for parent teacher conferences, with modern work schedules being so demanding and often unpredictable. Video conferencing allows you to meet up with your student’s parents wherever they are, keeping them in the loop without pulling them away from their job.

Integration with existing classroom technology: How Stuff Works explains how video conferencing can be used with technology already in your classroom. Interactive whiteboards mean that you can pull up the conferencing application to show the whole class, useful if you’re talking to an expert or want the whole class to see something on a virtual tour. If there’s laptops in your classroom, students can use them individually to talk to their peers. There’s a whole raft of ways that students can use their technology to get involved.

As you can see, there’s a huge range of ways that video conferencing solutions can enhance your students’ learning experience. With many companies, such as Blue Jeans, offering their services, you can choose the best service for your school and get started quickly. Why not try the technology for yourself and see what it can do for your classroom?


Why Bloomberg chose Vidyo to improve its video communications platform

Earlier this year, Vidyo announced that Bloomberg selected it to provide the enabling technology for Nexi, Bloomberg’s new global communications platform that enables the company’s employees to connect over video with each other and the rest of the world.

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So, I decided to dig a bit deeper into Bloomberg’s decision to use Vidyo and talked with the man responsible for the integration: Jeff Fairbanks, Global Head of AV and Media Technology, Technical Operations at Bloomberg.

I asked Fairbanks if he could describe Bloomberg’s use of video and provide some historical context for why the technology is so important today.

Although Fairbanks joined Bloomberg in 2013, the company has had a video-first culture for decades. Michael Bloomberg became interested in video in 1987 when the technology was in its infancy. The company tried a number of different enabling technologies, including ISDN and microwave antennas on trucks, but found all of them unreliable. Despite the challenges, Bloomberg plowed forward with the vision of ubiquitous video.

After about a decade, the company had a handful of hardware-based systems, but the utilization was low because the end points were difficult to use. The company wanted to expand the use of video and shifted to a desktop solution.

Video was put on desktops in 2008, and utilization took off. It peaked in 2013 when the existing technology reached its limit and productivity became impacted. For example, every day when utilization was high, the system would become overwhelmed and fail. Also, the existing solution had a physical limitation on users, far below the 17,000 employees at Bloomberg.

Fairbanks was hired to find a new solution that could meet the needs of the organization now, as well as into the future. Given the strategic importance of this initiative, Fairbanks was open to looking at any solution that could meet the organization’s needs and not just what the incumbent vendor offered.


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Fairbanks looked at every possible solution from every video vendor. In addition to being able to scale to the over 17,000 users, the solution had to meet some other requirements. Bloomberg wanted a solution that was completely customized and offered a unique experience. Also, the solution should allow users to easily change screen layouts, as well as be able to pop content up on another worker’s screen for easier collaboration.

What to choose?

After looking at all of the solutions, Fairbanks had three options:

Continue to use the incumbent vendor and do nothing. This was obviously the least-expensive option because the only cost would be maintaining the system. This wasn’t practical, though, as the solution already had some scale issues and did not allow for any kind of personalization.

Upgrade to the incumbent vendor’s new architecture. This would have met the requirement for the number of users, but it did not provide the ability to pop up content or change layouts on the client.

Change to Vidyo. It was the only solution that met all of Bloomberg’s requirements. Moving to Vidyo and away from the incumbent required an up-front cost, but that did not matter. Bloomberg wanted something that met the company’s requirements, and the Vidyo solution was the only option that did.

Initially Fairbanks discounted Vidyo because the vendor seemed to be closed and proprietary. There was also a perception of risk because Vidyo is smaller than the other solution providers.

A trial run of Vidyo’s solution put Fairbanks’ concerns to rest, however, and he selected it. Some of the benefits it offers:

Integrated collaboration features into Nexi using the VidyoWorks platform. VidyoWorks enables the embedding of point-to-point and multipoint video, audio and content sharing and collaboration into Nexi.
A customized Bloomberg experience instead of being forced to use the vendor’s application.
The ability to scale to all 17,000 employees with no performance degradation. Now, every employee can enjoy the benefits of Nexi.

Also, the solution deployed quickly. The entire process took nine months from contract signing to full deployment across Bloomberg’s 192 offices in 73 countries.

The implementation of Vidyo in Nexi was smooth, and user satisfaction has been high. There haven’t been any performance issues despite the increased volume.


Performance gains

Specifically, Fairbanks provided these data points to illustrate the solution’s performance:

There is now three times the number of video users, but the whole solution uses less bandwidth than before.
Bloomberg now averages more Vidyo calls in a week than the company did in a month with the legacy solution. The company call volume is in the millions in the past six months. Fairbanks said Vidyo was willing to listen to his feedback and liked how the companies partnered on the final solution, which now includes strong security and other infrastructure enhancements.

Vidyo also minimizes the impact on the WAN and can be flexibly deployed in a variety of network topologies, which optimizes the video for quality. It can be deployed in a geographically distributed fashion that allows for localization of traffic to certain regions. By using intelligent cascading technology, inter-region traffic is minimized to a single video call’s worth of bandwidth between regions, reducing the total traffic load on the WAN. This is similar to a CDN but optimized for real-time, low-latency, two-way video communications.

Today, use of Nexi is pervasive across Bloomberg, users are happy and video utilization is at an all-time high. Fairbanks was successful because he did his homework and chose the best solution for his organization instead of making the easy decision of staying with the incumbent.

Frost & Sullivan Research Shows Accelerating User Demand for Video Conferencing

After three consecutive years of revenue decline, the global video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure market returned to positive growth for full year 2015 indicating a turnaround. Businesses are rapidly adopting video communications and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Here are the key takeaways from Frost & Sullivan’s recently published market update on video conferencing. (Note: This report covers the market for video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure systems and does not include video conferencing use over soft UC clients, web and video conferencing services, and team collaboration solutions. For a more comprehensive view of the market, stay tuned for our upcoming report “Enterprise Video Conferencing Adoption: A Holistic View of Growth Opportunities”, which takes an end to end view across varied platforms and services).

User demand for video communications has been accelerating which is enabling the market to reach a tipping point. The proliferation of mobile devices combined with an unending appetite to consume video content and associated services has been a big driver for boosting adoption of video communications including video conferencing.
With the onset of consumerization, user expectations have shifted greatly. While exploding consumer use of video is feeding into demand for video communications at work, it sets the bar high for technology providers to match consumer expectations of easy to use, light weight applications with frictionless user experiences over connected devices.

Newer and agile clients and platforms are giving providers the control and flexibility to drive the direction for next-generation video conferencing and accelerate innovation to offer new business models.
The total market for video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5 percent from 2015 to 2020 to reach $2.9 billion by 2020.
The endpoints market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8 percent from 2015 to 2020. Unit shipment CAGR on the other hand is forecasted at 25.8%; with rapid adoption coming from the next-generation low priced devices in huddle rooms and open meeting spaces.
Currently standing at less than 10% penetration rate, growth in the future will be driven by a stronger adoption of video in multiple meeting environments – conference rooms, huddle rooms, open spaces, desktops, and mobile devices. It is estimated that globally there are 30 million huddle rooms and less than 5% of those are video enabled.

Infrastructure revenue continues to decline as migration to cloud leads to declining CAPEX investments. In addition, there is a downward impact on the market from the shift to converged call control. Growing virtualization and software-based solutions have led to declining prices putting further strain on revenues.
Cisco’s acquisition of Acano and Mitel’s acquisition of Polycom signal continued consolidation in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.

The future clearly lies in software that enables mobile and connected work. At the same time meeting rooms are not going to go away. Infact, we expect to see more rooms and more meetings. Meetings are getting less structured and less formal.

The distinction between video and web conferencing is fast diminishing. Most web conferencing solutions now offer rich video conferencing while video-centric vendors are enhancing content sharing and collaboration. It is expected that in a few years, the two solutions will look almost identical in features and price, effectively competing for the same user-base.

The onset of solutions like Slack, HipChat, and Glip mark a significant shift in the market. These free or low-priced team collaboration products have attracted a significant customer base. Conferencing in the future will increasingly get built into team collaboration solutions. This triggers the need for open platforms that allow users to integrate their choice of collaboration applications.

As collaboration becomes increasingly integrated with business applications, vendors are focusing on building open and extensible platforms and a wide network of developer partners to enable video communications into custom work flows

Ten Rules of Etiquette for Videoconferencing

Re-post article by Sally French from

It’s the big day. You have a videoconference with the chief executive of your company to pitch your ideas. You’re on time, and you couldn’t be more prepared for your presentation.

But are you up-to-date with your online—and on-camera—etiquette?

Video services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Join are increasingly flooding the workplace. They offer a sense of immediacy that conference calls cannot, and they deliver big savings in contrast with traveling for actual face-to-face meetings.

But videoconferencing comes with its own code of behavior that takes the place of yesterday’s manners for meetings. Indeed, don’t let the small screens and at times deceptively informal atmosphere fool you. There are right and wrong ways to conduct yourself—and lapses will be noticed.

We talked to experts on etiquette and videoconferencing. What follows are some of the most important do’s and don’ts for work-related video calls.

DON’T TYPE. Typing during a video call not only creates distracting noise but also indicates you aren’t paying attention. Others on the call might assume you are working on something unrelated to the conversation. Even if you are taking notes, the sound of the keys can be distracting to others.

“It’s probably the biggest faux pas,” says Angie Hill, general manager of audience marketing at Skype.

TIP: If you do need to take notes, experts say, it is better to handwrite them. And if you absolutely must use your keyboard, hit the mute button.

MAKE EYE CONTACT. Maintaining eye contact builds trust and communicates that the conversation is important to you. But if you look directly into your computer’s camera so viewers can see your eyes, it is difficult to keep track of what’s happening on screen.

At the key moments when everyone’s eyes are on you, such as if you are presenting or introducing yourself, look at the camera. Otherwise, it is OK to look at the images of the other people on the call.

TIP: Move the video-chat window near your computer’s camera so you can both look at people’s faces and into the camera at once.

DON’T EAT. Would you really bring your tuna sandwich into the boardroom? No? Then don’t bring it into your video call, either. Just because the other conference guests can’t smell it doesn’t mean they can’t hear or see you chewing. Plus, food is the ultimate distraction.

“I’m now watching you eat a sandwich instead of paying attention to how brilliant you say you are,” says Lindsey Pollak, a workplace-etiquette consultant based in New York City. “And let’s be honest, nobody looks good eating.”

TIP: Put the sandwich down. And cover it up if you have to.

DISCOURAGE INTERRUPTIONS. With videoconferences, it can be tough for colleagues in the room with you to tell if you are in a meeting or simply working at your computer. Interruptions can break your train of thought, and make you look unprepared and unprofessional.

TIP: If you’re in a conference room or private office, put a note on the door. If you’re in a cubicle or at a bank of desks, use a signal to let colleagues know you are unavailable.

“I write the words ‘video call!’ on a piece of paper,” says Lizzie Post, descendant of etiquette nobility Emily Post and a spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute. “I freely admit this is dorky,” she says, “but if someone comes over, I hold it up, and it works.”

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE. Need to use the restroom? While you may sometimes be able to get away with bringing a phone—on mute—into the bathroom, that obviously won’t work in this case.

About 24% of respondents voted this as the worst thing someone could do on-screen during a conference call, according to a survey by market-research firm Lab42 for Join.Me.

TIP: If it is a large meeting or you feel uncomfortable interrupting, just slip away and, if necessary, privately message a fellow participant saying you will be back shortly. If it is a small meeting, or you are the moderator, just ask to take a quick break.

PAY ATTENTION. Just because you can get away with online shopping during a conference call doesn’t mean you can in a video call. Everyone can see your eyes drifting away or your fingers typing, and they can tell you’re distracted.

TIP: Stay focused. Don’t look away from the screen. That is a clear indication that you aren’t engaged.

REMEMBER THE OUTLIERS. Sometimes a video call is between a room full of people and one person in a remote location. It’s important to ensure that people participating outside a group are included in the dialogue and given cues and openings for questions or comments. Otherwise, the people in the room can easily get caught up in their own conversation and forget to include the person on the call.

TIP: Raising a hand to speak is OK, especially when there is a lag time on the video feed. If you’re moderating the call, be proactive and ask if anyone has something they want to add.

CONTROL YOUR BACKGROUND. A messy background can cause people to focus on the clutter around you rather than on your words and ideas. Noise can be a problem, too, whether it is construction outside or a conversation at the next cubicle.

TIP: If your environment is too loud or messy, move to a conference room. A bare background isn’t a must, though. Interesting objects or designs could work in your favor by generating conversation.

HEAD OFF TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. One of the biggest gaffes is when technical issues prevent a person from joining a call. You don’t want to open the video-chat service only to find you need a software update. Fumbling the sign-in and joining late as a result, or missing a meeting completely, can make a person look unprepared or technologically inept.

TIP: Join a videoconference before the appointed time to troubleshoot any possible connection problems. And when the meeting is over, make sure you end the call.

“The worst mistake I have ever heard of is someone thinking the call was over,” Ms. Post says. “They didn’t hang up properly and ended up saying something disparaging about the call. It was awkward for people on both ends.”

ACT AT HOME AS YOU WOULD AT THE OFFICE. Many of us occasionally work from home, so it is worth remembering that the same rules apply. Still, breaches of video-call etiquette are common.

In the survey by Lab42, 7% of respondents said they had seen someone participate in a videoconference from bed, while 17% of Americans have seen an attendee’s pet make an appearance. More than 20% admit to wearing pajamas—though with a more professional-looking top.

TIP: Stay out of bed. Keep pets and children out of the picture. And get dressed.

Ms. French is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco. She can be reached at


7 ways video collaboration builds a competitive advantage

Re-post article from

How video conferencing boosts innovation, productivity, and time to market.

In today’s global economy, the ability to innovate and bring products to market quickly is imperative. Companies must collaborate and communicate seamlessly to avoid costly errors and bottlenecks that lead to market misfires. Businesses can lessen the likelihood of such missteps by implementing video collaboration tools.

The availability of low-cost technology — including high-quality video conferencing equipment, high-bandwidth networks, and user-friendly applications and tools — is bringing video collaboration within reach of today’s workforce.

Video enables managers, knowledge workers, salespeople, and customer-service employees to better convey and understand information that is being shared within projects or engagements. As a result, companies can act more quickly on new ideas and bring them to market faster with a higher degree of quality and customer input.


Here are seven ways video collaboration helps companies gain a competitive advantage in the global marketplace:

Smaller travel budgets

Reliable, user-friendly video conferencing enables face-to-face experiences with colleagues and clients around the world without incurring travel expenses. For instance, GHD, an engineering, architecture, and environmental consulting company, uses video communication for collaboration among 5,500 employees across five continents. Video conferencing allows the company to “decrease travel costs, as well as improve productivity overall, by giving employees more time to do meaningful work,” said Elizabeth Harper, Chief Information Officer at GHD.

Accelerated workflows

Video collaboration can reduce workflow bottlenecks. The ability to interact in real time enables on-the-spot problem solving instead of email chains and phone calls. It also reduces the chances of misinterpretation or miscommunication to improve decision making. The efficiencies created by more direct interaction between co-workers means employees can focus on their core tasks. Faster innovation benefits

Video collaboration accelerates innovation and speed-to-market.

The ability to streamline communication and increase turnaround of workflow documents can reduce product-development time by 25% — or cut it by more than one day a week.1 Innovation often is the product of brainstorming sessions. Innovation leaders rely on collaborative exchanges to identify, develop, and operationalize new solutions. Videos can replicate this togetherness across global channels, drawing in expertise from anywhere across the world.

Language barriers lessened

Many video communication tools include translation-on-demand capabilities, which is critical for companies expanding into global markets. A Cisco survey found that 94% of organizations value video as a way to break down language barriers in an increasingly global marketplace. This benefit extends to customers, as well. Providing real-time face-to-face services using video collaboration anywhere is revolutionizing many industries and provides businesses with a competitive advantage by making it feasible to offer more personalized services. For example, hospitals are able to better serve patients who have a limited proficiency in English.

“Those with good, quality interpretation are positioning themselves to be the provider of choice for larger and larger portions of the community,” said Melinda Paras, President of Paras and Associates, which implemented video conferencing capabilities across 45 healthcare facilities.

Higher employee retention, productivity

Another advantage of video collaboration is the ability to record and archive meetings or events for training purposes. Video-driven learning and development improves employee engagement, morale, and alignment, which can lead to increased productivity and higher retention. Video communication also offers a more immediate medium for knowledge sharing, which can be especially helpful in complex or fast-moving markets. A typical knowledge management system includes PowerPoint decks with bullet points, pictures, and diagrams, or reports.

“These videos are much more effective at conveying information and transferring expertise,” said Jeffrey Polzer, UPS Foundation Professor of Human Resource Management at Harvard Business School. “Instead of just having a text-based quote, a student can watch the protagonist through a video. They can see and hear how they speak and determine for themselves whether the speakers are trustworthy or inspiring.”

Supercharged customer service

Video enables face-to-face customer communication on a global scale. Customers often stay with or switch their service provider due to customer service, according to a recent Accenture survey.

“As a customer, to have a person there with a face that allows you to read non-verbals, to develop rapport and trust, and see whether they appear to be engaged with the problem, can make all the difference,” Polzer said.

Several prominent companies, such as American Express, now offer apps that engage customers in video collaboration with customer service representatives.

Better sales-conversion rates

Video-aided B2B salespeople moved an average of 20% of their video collaboration contacts to a sales funnel, according to an Aberdeen report. The average deal size was more than $500,000, Aberdeen’s survey of 380 enterprises found.

The path to video collaboration

Effective video collaboration depends on the level of the engagement across the organization, the video quality and the solution’s user-friendliness. Organizations must gauge the needs of each stakeholder to determine how to apply video collaboration tools appropriately across the enterprise.

Organizations should ask themselves the following questions:

Where are the pain points within operations or processes that video can address?

Are key departments, including IT, on board with supporting a video environment?

Will mobile fit into this new environment?

In addition, low video quality may detract from the message’s participants are attempting to convey.

“The problem is that video quality varies dramatically,” explained Polzer. “If there’s a little bit of lag time, or there’s some interference, it can really disrupt the conversation, and it has some lingering effects that might be attributed to the other person, even unconsciously.”

Video collaboration tools also lose their effectiveness if they are difficult to use. The latest generation of tools, platforms and services enable rapid integration of video communications into key applications, training resources, project management, customer service and web applications.

Making video collaboration as easy as a click to connect with a subject matter expert or a team member can accelerate business results and enhance organization culture.

Conclusion: video boosts productivity, cuts costs

Video enhances communication and collaboration across the entire enterprise. It reduces or eliminates travel costs and opens new opportunities for business growth through faster product launches, increased productivity and accelerated innovation.

Video also encourages new ways of working that connect virtual teams and complex environments. Breakthrough results come when businesses engage their employees to brainstorm, innovate, establish strong relationships, share ideas and knowledge, negotiate and inspire.



Conferencing News

Apart from the United States, Microsoft now supports PSTN conferencing services in 14 new countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Besides, there is now a possibility to connect the Cloud PBX with your existing carrier circuits using Skype for Business server software. The Skype for Business server software acts as a gateway between your carrier contracts and circuits and Office 365. Microsoft also added to the PSTN Calling service some features like number portability, calling 911, Call Quality Dashboard, and Cloud PBX Voicemail.

Switch Communications announced to have launched its cloud-based phone system for Microsoft Office 365 users. Switch is now available to companies on any productivity suites, as well as offering deep integrations with Both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. Office 365 users will be able to log in with their Microsoft credentials, have their Outlook contacts synced instantly, have their integrated calendar and email so they can see the most recent emails and appointments when on a Switch call, and have instant access to the corporate directory. Switch is available at a price of $ 15 per user per month.

SMART Technologies prepared to a strategic review. The firm has cautioned the markets about the product on which it is placing great emphasis: the SMART kapp product. According to the company, “from SMART kapp sales are growing at a slower rate than originally envisaged, and as a result, the outlook for fiscal 2016 will be weaker than anticipated.” The company also states that this will result in a new operating model in place by calendar year. Besides, SMART Board also has engaged with Evercore Partners as a financial advisor to assist it in a strategic review that could include sale of some assets or recapitalization of the firm.

Dell, along with MSD Partners and Silver Lake, acquired data storage company EMC Corporation (EMC) for $67 billion or about $33.15 a share – in cash and stock. The transaction is the biggest merger ever in the tech industry.

Avaya announced that it has established a new legal entity to drive its operations in China. The move is intended to enhance localization and provide better support for Greater China customers and partners. Avaya (Shanghai) Enterprises Management Co. Ltd, which began operations on October 1, 2015, will function as the hub for Avaya’s Greater China operations. The entity has a number of functions including sales, marketing, services, order processing and manufacturing.

Middle Atlantic Products announced the launch of Hub – an all-in-one furniture solution for collaboration spaces that is designed to maximize equipment storage and cable management. Created for easy integration, Hub can be used for huddle spaces, active learning spaces, and video conferencing applications.

BCS Global subsidiary Video Guidance is expanding its video conferencing services into the Asia Pacific region. CLIQ, a new cloud collaboration company, will adapt Video Guidance’s VG Connect conferencing technology to target clients in the greater Asia Pacific marketplace. CLIQ is a newly launched global provider of cloud-based collaboration services headquartered in Hong Kong’s Cyberport, one of Asia Pacific’s leading ICT / IT hubs. CLIQ will also incorporate Video Guidance’s newly launched VG Connect Portal, which allows service providers to deploy a comprehensive tool to manage multitenant branding, provisioning, reporting, billing and monitoring.

Greener business with video conferencing

Every day new disasters, environmental problems, the greenhouse effect remind us that we should strive to preserve the future. Many businesses decided to be more planet-friendly, to address or benefit the eco-movement directly, and to help minimize the impact of global warming, greenhouse gases and populations more focused on luxury than planetary health.

Everyone — from a single person to international companies — can have an impact on the future of our planet. Fortunately, businesses don’t have to sacrifice efficiency in the name of a greener company. Moreover, they can contribute towards a greener, healthier planet, simultaneously saving time and money.

Greener commute

We are living in the age of the consumer, and companies need to take action to maximize brand loyalty and ensure positive consumer opinion by making their management, production and shipping not only more economical, but also more ecological. Still, in order to benefit from customer opinion, companies need to make sure that greener operations aren’t hurting their bottom line. Video conferencing offers a greener and more eco-friendly solution to the problem of travel and communication. It brings many benefits to companies that are large and spread out or small ones wanting to cut operating costs as much as possible.

Less taxes

Video conferencing can also help businesses to reduce so-called “green taxes” imposed on environmental pollutants that are introduced into the atmosphere through the production or use of a company’s products. In this way governments try to make companies change their products or services to be eco-friendlier. If your company does a lot of traveling for meetings with partners, clients or consumers, video conferencing can help reduce the cost of “green taxes” as well as your travel expenses. The price of fuel and food make physical travel a more expensive solution in comparison to video conferencing; while telephones and emails don’t offer as robust a communication solution as video can. Including into your business strategy a telecommute, even if it’s appropriate only once in a while, you’ll see a drastic reduction in travel expenses and “green taxes”.

A good investment

The environmental impact of physical means of communication, such as cars, jets and trains, is well studied already. All of these industries have emissions parameters that they must keep within, and it’s a well-known fact that their impact on the environment is less than excellent. Choosing video conferencing and integrating telecommuting into your business life is a sound investment specifically because it has a positive impact on the efficiency of your business. Environmental matters aside, cutting down on the time it takes to travel and the expenses, as well as the taxes associated with your relevant industries and all other factors combined, video conferencing brings your company many tangible benefits.

In conclusion

So, whether your company is looking to increase efficiency, lower their carbon footprint or free up some of their travel budget for other projects on the horizon, video conferencing offers a solution.

Medicine: video conferencing multiplies resources and improves service

Telemedicine has already established itself in the US, and it may take off in Italy in 2016.

104 billion dollars are saved annually only in the United States thanks to using video conferencing for medical appointments. In fact, about half of the total routine check-ups or small health problems do not require a physical presence of a doctor. This is the conclusion of a study sponsored by Goldman Sachs, a firm that dedicated itself to reintroduction of the so-called e-health or telemedicine.

More resources to invest

This technology saves enormous amounts of money, which can be reinvested in other branches of the health care industry. Besides, video conferencing allows doctors and patients to avoid transfers, therefore optimizes theirs time. Last but not least, thanks to video conferencing doctors can help people who live far away from the nearest medical centre. In other words, it can improve service and at the same time increase resources available to the health system.

USA: rapid growth of virtual appointments

Let’s go back to the United States. If in 2010 the Americans went to a doctor on average 3.3 times per year, now the frequency of visits increased by 400%, with a total of 1.3 billion per year. Half of them, however, have no need of a face-to-face appointment with their doctors. For this reason, the country has already introduced such services as “Doctor on Demand” and “American Well”, which help patients meet their doctors in videoconference via PC, tablet or smartphone.

Health insurance even for Telemedicine

So, the US has already started saving. Since medical care in America is a paid service, video conferencing means significant savings for patients. A doctor in video conferencing costs 40 Euros compared to 200 Euros for a traditional visit. Even health insurers have noticed the trend, so that the United Healthcare, the largest insuring company in the US, has signed an agreement with three video conferencing providers to cover the costs of medical visits carried out at a distance.

Italy is on the way, forecasts are positive

In Italy the new trend is struggling to make its way. Existing initiatives are too few, although there are experiences both of medical care and of high-level trainings for doctors and health workers. After some past optimistic forecasts, contradicted then by the facts, it looks like the scenario will change in 2016. According to the Netics Observatory, the next year will be the year of takeoff for telemedicine services in Italy, from assistance at home to teleconsultation.

New policy of the National Health System

The decisive push in Italy should come from the new policy of the NHS, which is more and more intent on penalizing inappropriate hospital admissions and delayed hospital discharges. The savings are considerable: a patient admitted to a virtual department – that means assisted by telemedicine – costs the National Health Service from 140 to 260 Euros per day, much less than hospitalization. Moreover, the virtual hospitalization allows to maintain the same quality of the service. So, the development of e-health is different in each country, but the situation in Italy may soon change. Of course, traditional medical visits will never be replaced by virtual ones in cases of diseases when the presence of a doctor is indispensable. But in those cases – and they are many – when doctors can work remotely, the rapid adoption of assistance in videoconference can bring huge private and public savings.