With 2014 in the books and 2015 already off to a quick start (with shows like CES completed and ISE around the corner) it’s important that companies begin planning for the future. Many companies are beginning to think about expenditures for the upcoming year. That means budgets for technology, among other things, are currently being finalized and approved, and tech decision makers are beginning to search for the right integrator and products to help add to their business practices.
A lot of you have recognized the rise in videoconferencing over the past decade. It stands to reason that the technology has taken off in the way that it has; Employees no longer need to travel to meet with clients, decision makers can take part in important meetings regardless of where they are, and top talent can move across the country and still remain employed by working remotely. The rise in videoconferencing has allowed businesses to work quicker and cheaper than ever before.
Manufacturers have noticed the same trend and are seeking to capitalize and expand upon the videoconferencing model. As we push into 2015 and beyond, it’s important for tech decision makers to keep up with trends so that their videoconferencing suite is not outdated before it’s even installed. Purchasing the right system with the right capabilities now will ensure that your system is futureproof and that the companies you do business with don’t pass you by. But what is the right system? What are the right capabilities?
Did You Come to Talk? Or Did You Come to Collaborate?
“I think the best message you should be thinking about is that ‘video conferencing’ is kind of on its way out, and this is going to sound like marketing mumbo jumbo, but ‘video collaboration’ is the future,” says John Antanaitis, Vice President of Product Marketing at Polycom.
Historically, a video conference is an event, often a planned meeting that takes place in a set amount of time (hopefully). In these video conferences, four out of seven may be in office, together, able to write on whiteboards, pass papers to one another, draw diagrams, etc. The remaining parties would watch, and add their two cents where possible. They couldn’t show the team a spreadsheet they recently printed out. They couldn’t add to the diagram on the whiteboard. They couldn’t point to specific data points and draw the attention of the room.
That’s not the case any longer. A number of companies offer solutions to tie media into traditional videoconferencing applications. With screen sharing, a remote or in-office employee can link their laptop, tablet, or smartphone to the system to show content from their screen. This information is streamed, live, to all parties, so that anyone participating can see and comment on what is being shown. Smart whiteboards and touchscreens can be linked to videoconferencing systems to allow remote workers to view notes and diagrams being drawn in the main conference room. Some applications even allow for remote employees to manipulate that content in real time, showing their work on the main screen and to all other remote attendees. Additionally, sessions can be recorded to be played back for any that missed the meeting, with content and any manipulations visible in the recording.