A guest post from Tony Simonsen, Managing Director, Polycom Australia & New Zealand
Like any leader overseeing a large geography, I have often found myself meeting with partners in Sydney, attending a customer event in Auckland and joining an analyst briefing in Singapore – all in the same week. The difference today, is that I can often complete these meetings without having to board a plane. In 2017, this changing dynamic of workplace culture and collaboration will continue to impact business at all levels, from C-Suite to intern.
Workplaces are transforming and technology is the driving force. The workplace of the future is also generally more flexible than the traditional workspace – flexible both in terms of how a business’s physical space may be used, as well as flexible in the expectations for where employees may be located on any given day. All of this reflects an increasing dependence on global teams in business – 69% in Australia and 71% in New Zealand – according to our own Workplace of the Future research.
In 2016, we’ve seen many collaboration predictions come to fruition – particularly when it comes to technologies that are easy to use and enable more natural collaboration across environments and locations. Workspaces and workplace behavior have also evolved. Witness the rise in popularity of the ‘huddle room’ (or small group meeting space), which not only encourages impromptu catch-ups but also delivers better use of company office space. Wainhouse Research estimates there are now 30-50 million of these worldwide compared with 10 million traditional style conference and board rooms.
From Good to Great – Workplace Collaboration in 2017
So what impact are all these changes having, and what direction will workplace collaboration take in 2017? I’ve identified five areas that I believe will be important in the year ahead.
True Collaboration Delivering Real Value in 2017
Businesses of all sizes, and industries of all types have a common goal - and that is to bring people together to get things done, have meaningful and productive exchanges and work towards success.
Collaborative technologies have the power to level the playing field and give all a voice in the workplace of the future. This represents a tremendous opportunity for both the public and private sector to unleash their collaboration potential and embrace new ways of working.
I really believe that 2017 is the year more businesses will discover the real impact that rich, meaningful collaboration can deliver to employees, customers, and ultimately their bottom line.
Polycom has just announced the release of the latest firmware for the RealPresence Trio, the world's first smart hub for group collaboration.There are lots of new features (links to videos below), but I think that it is worth mentioning the new Skype for Business UI. It may not seem like much, but in my opinion, having a familiar user interface is important for two key reasons.
Firstly, when it comes to collaborating and meetings, people do not want to spend time learning a new UI for every device and in each location that they choose to join a call. Providing a consistent UI will ensure that when people walk into a room with a Polycom RealPresence Trio, they will recognise the familiar Skype for Business UI, already understand the simple workflow to join a meeting and feel comfortable using the single click to join calendar invite. People want to focus on the meeting ahead, not on setting up a meeting. The new UI helps ensure that joining a meeting is a simple process, wherever you may be.
Secondly, if users are familiar with using the new UI, then they will feel more comfortable using the device and meeting space for collaborating. Ultimately this helps organisations drive adoption and usage of the technology they have invested in.
As I said, it may seem simple, but the easier it is for us to collaborate, the quicker we can make decisions and the more successful we will be.
See the new features here, including, but not limited to:
When client satisfaction is at the core of business success – productivity and timely delivery of projects take centre stage. eClerx Services Limited, a leading knowledge process outsourcing company, turned to Polycom to build a unified communications environment and enable its staff across continents to meet face-to-face with greater ease. Through rapid adoption of video collaboration, the company has secured B2B and B2C connections to provide a robust level of customer services. eClerx Services’ focus on continuous innovation and establishing a strong teamwork culture makes them a Polycom Superhero!
With the company’s rapid growth and inherent client-centric culture, the primary collaboration requirement for eClerx was threefold: to increase video usage and adoption among its employees for greater productivity, seamless multi-party conferencing, and integration with Skype for Business.
“Weekly review meetings with stakeholders required a number of participants dialling in from various offices and remote locations. It was important for us to increase the capacity, so that more people could join these calls, and ensure that the user experience was of the highest standard,” said Sanjay Kukreja, CIO of the company. He added, “We also required PSTN connectivity for our audio participants and seamless integration with our existing Skype for Business platform.”
Kukreja emphasised the company’s commitment to innovation and collaboration is key to the growth and continuous improvement of service delivery. “By establishing those critical face-to-face connections across time zones, not only do we serve our customers better, but create a strong culture of teamwork across the organisation,” he said.
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We all know that collaboration can be confusing, frustrating and time wasting. How many times when you are
getting ready to join a video conference have you asked yourself one of these questions– how does this work, where is the remote, how do I go on mute, how can I share my reports easily? What happens when you need to talk, but don’t speak the same language? Sometimes it means you can’t talk at all. Best case, you converse through a translator - slow, stilted, and not everything comes across correctly. We have the answer!
Only Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series "speaks" Skype for Business. No gateways or other translators. It just works the way you'd expect it to which means the workflow is familiar, with single click-to-dial right from the calendar. Thus, extending the benefits of your UC platform investment while simplifying the experience for users.
By breaking down the barriers to effective communication you will maximise your most valuable investment—the knowledge, talents, and expertise of your people. Various studies show that up to 82% of knowledge workers feel they need to partner with others throughout the day to get work done. In fact, according to Steelcase capitalising on the collective intelligence of global teams is a top priority and 80% of organisations say they need to collaborate more. But, at the same time, 78% say they struggle to effectively connect their workplace and help people collaborate—either virtually or face-to-face.
Integrate video with Skype for Business
So, whether you are looking to extend your current Skype for Business or Microsoft Office 365 deployment to include video, or you want to leverage your existing video investment within your chosen Microsoft environment, join me at our next webinar 'How to natively integrate video with Skype for Business'. Along with my colleague Steve Blackman, Microsoft Solutions Architect at Polycom, we'll take you through the key things to consider when integrating video with Skype for Business in any meeting environment.
Register now and book your place!
Date: Wednesday, November 2
Time: 11:00 A.M - Singapore
2:00 P.M. - Sydney
4:00 P.M. - Auckland
I was recently lucky enough to be in Australia to speak at Telstra Vantage – if you are not familiar with it, this annual event takes place in Melbourne and is a fantastic gathering of like-minded people, all looking for the right tools and insights to transform their businesses.
As a Workplace of the Future evangelist, I could not have had a more sympathetic audience when delivering our message that companies both large and small need to rethink workplace collaboration today, if they want to remain competitive tomorrow.
Why Should the Workplace of the Future Matter Today?
So, what is the “workplace of the future”, and why does it matter? Well firstly consider this. We are living in the most interconnected time in human history with 40 percent of the world’s population – almost three billion people – online. In fact, it’s expected that connected devices will outnumber humans six to one by 2020. Closer to home, the Federal Government has pledged to invest almost $1.1 billion over the next four years to fund Australia’s ‘ideas boom’ and promote innovation.
With this influx of technology, connectivity and change – it’s undeniable that workplaces are transforming from the traditional idea of what most of us know as ‘the office’. With this rapid rate of change, the focus for many companies is how to take that all important next step in their digital transformation journey. This means looking for innovative business-focused solutions that will help them create a true Workplace of the Future by improving workflow, experience, workspace and ultimately, customer satisfaction.
Mobility and its Impact on Workplace Transformation
Many of the speakers and exhibitors at Telstra Vantage were also interested in discussing the impact of mobility – no surprises that it’s also one of the key forces driving workplace transformation. There seems to be a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, Australia is continuing to see an increasing use of mobile devices; particularly as high speed broadband connectivity becomes more pervasive. Secondly, many businesses are struggling to meet the challenge of having up to five different generations of workers coexisting in the same workplace.
The impact of this is that businesses need to be able to empower employees who have vastly different experiences and relationships with technology, from the millennials who have grown up with it to older generations who may be less comfortable. That means that businesses need to deliver consistent and easy experiences for collaboration that deliver the simplicity that consumer devices have led us all to expect with the power necessary for real enterprise-class quality.
The Impact of the Shrinking Office
Companies also needing to think about how they address what we call the “incredible shrinking office.” At any given time, 30-50% of the space in an average office is not occupied during work hours – increasingly, people are working from home, on the road, or in another remote location (like one of Australia’s fantastic coffee shops!). In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), almost a third (3.5 million) of all employed Australians regularly worked from home and 42 per cent of those who regularly work from home cited catching up on work as the main reason. A further 20 per cent regularly worked from home because they wanted an office or didn't want to pay rent or overheads.
Given that real estate and facility costs are usually the second largest expense for a business, it only makes sense that businesses reduce their space to be more cost efficient. At the same time, when employees ARE present, they need to be productive – because employees are THE largest expense. It’s not enough to shrink the office, it needs to be rethought with a new focus on collaboration. This is a huge opportunity for businesses to embrace a modern approach to open office spaces where collaboration technology is pervasive.
Flexible Workspaces and the Shift in Cultural Dynamics
The workplace of the future is generally more flexible than the traditional workspace – flexible both in terms of how a business’s physical space may be used, as well as flexible in the expectations for where employees may be located on any given day. All of this reflects an increasing dependence on global teams in business – 69% in Australia and 71% in New Zealand – according to our own Workplace of the Future research. It used to be important to be “in the office” to have “face time” with your colleagues and senior leaders. Today, if I work in Sydney but my colleagues are in Singapore, Bangalore, and New York, with whom would I have face time if I were in “the office?”
That said, shifting away from a traditional office workspace can be challenging for existing employees – change is always hard. The workplace of the future also tends to flatten hierarchy, which can make people uncomfortable at first. In the physical office, senior executives may have the same workstation setup as newcomers, for example, and use team meeting spaces, huddle rooms, or traditional conference rooms for sensitive conversations.
It can also be challenging for introverts who are innately less productive in open workplace settings. For employees who may work remotely, there is less “incidental” conversation and collaboration from hallway or water cooler conversations. But thoughtful approaches to change management and thinking through how to provide for both privacy and open collaboration can make a huge difference in the physical meeting space. Providing for “virtual water cooler” time or information connections over video can also encourage more of the connections between people and teams that strengthen the dynamic.
Looking to the Future
For me, the workplace of the future requires a blending of technologies and workspace that shift the emphasis from “how do we wire this building?” to “how do we wire our employees?” Ultimately, it is desirable for businesses because it makes them more competitive with both their bottom line and their search for talent. The opportunities are huge for Australian businesses – it was clear from Telstra Vantage that the workplace of the future is available today.
Want to integrate video with Skype for Business? Polycom experts will explain it all in our next webinar to be held on Wednesday, November 2. Whether you are looking to extend your current Skype for Business or Microsoft Office 365 deployment to include video, or you want to leverage your existing video investment within your chosen Microsoft environment, this is the webinar for you.
Presented by Polycom experts, Steve Blackman, Microsoft Solutions Architect and Pat Finlayson, Senior Solution Marketing Manager, you’ll discover the key things to consider when integrating video with Skype for Business in any meeting environment to ensure it's easy to deploy. Register now and book your place!
Date: Wednesday, November 2
Time: 11:00 A.M - Singapore
2:00 P.M. - Sydney
4:00 P.M. - Auckland
A guest post from Brennon Kwok, Polycom Asia Pacific’s regional UC Solution Architect for Microsoft and recognised by Microsoft as a Lync MVP:
At our recently held webinar ‘Click-to-join with Polycom RealConnect and Skype for Business’, we received a lot of interest and queries particularly around integration and use cases. Here, we reproduce some of the frequently asked questions about this solution and we invite you to submit your own queries.
Missed out on the last webinar?
Do you know why you shouldn’t wear checked shirts on camera? Or figured out why bad lighting can make such a difference to the effectiveness of a video call? If not, now’s the right time to brush up on your etiquette for video – or “vidiquette” as we like to call it. At Polycom, we use video every day, in every location, for virtually every meeting – and over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two. With video collaboration expected to be the world’s most preferred business communications tool, it’s only fair that we pass this knowledge on.
Video collaboration is breaking down distance barriers in the workplace – people want to talk with each other naturally from anywhere, they want to connect from any location, they want to be able to share content and whiteboard ideas as if they were meeting in person. Having the ability to use video-enabled devices has made this a reality, while the growing popularity of video conferencing at home, especially by millennials entering the workforce, is a big driver of increased preference for its adoption in the workplace. With a growing number of users, it only becomes more necessary to provide guidance and best practices in video collaboration towards improving team meetings.
That’s where Polly Calm comes in – she’s the world’s expert in “vidiquette” and her mission is to encourage video conferencing utilisation and adoption by demonstrating that it only takes a few simple steps to make it a great experience!
Watch as she takes you through best practices in video conferencing to help make it a pleasant and productive experience for everyone. View all the videos here.
Over the past month, I have enjoyed watching some of the world’s greatest sportspeople competing and representing their countries with pride. Of course, as a Singaporean, I was overjoyed to witness my country’s first ever representation at the top of the podium at a global level. What struck me most was catching all the stories about this significant win and how much effort went in to achieve such success. This was not just a story of an individual’s incredible willpower and dedication, but a deeper collaborative and support system which involved coaches, sporting associations, families and many more.
Hearing this, I couldn’t help but wonder how much collaboration matters in honing talent – no matter what it is. In a sporting context, the important role which government ministries, sports associations, and sponsors play in the development of athletes now and in the future is absolutely vital. How then can they ensure those crucial links of support and mentoring for athletes are maintained even when if they choose to train overseas? Further, how can the education of these young athletes also be ensured while they choose to follow their sporting dreams?
Video education for future champions
Managers and team members for the sports associations could often be in different time zones. By using video conferencing, we can support high levels of engagement for dispersed teams – to give them the same collaboration feeling as interacting face-to-face. Sponsors and managers can broker a contract without having to go through distances multiple times; expert coaches and mentors are more accessible and can participate in training sessions even if distance separates them; and perhaps most importantly video can help maintain relationships while athletes train overseas reducing the impact of their physical time spent apart from their families and friends. This may boost motivation and engagement and in turn their overall performance. Often, young sportspeople are torn between pursuing their athletic careers while obtaining educational qualifications. Video is the connecting pathway of these two streams, ensuring they get the best of both worlds.
Does this seem slightly far-fetched? Think again, because at Polycom we’ve been supporting the development of sportspeople through video collaboration for many years. VUC Storstrøm in Denmark have a created a unique and innovative platform for the Danish Football Association, something they call the ‘Global Football Classroom’. This program brings rising football players together in a virtual classroom whether they play in Denmark or abroad, providing them the ability to follow an academic curriculum via video conferencing from their desktops. Read their story here.
No doubt our recent pride and glory will inspire a new generation of athletes in Singapore and beyond to pursue their own sporting dreams. Success lies in many factors – and strong collaboration should always factor into a winning strategy.
▪ [Blog] – Be a good sport this summer
Collaboration is clearly all the rage in Thailand these days! We’ve had a flurry of activity in Bangkok recently – the launch of a new customer experience centre, our first Innovation Roadshow in the city, and a Microsoft O365 conference all in the same week! These events were heavily attended, spurring lots of interest and it’s been clear that making great collaboration happen is a key consideration for many businesses. Read on to find out what I’ve learned from our partners and customers in the country during this busy week.
Innovation Roadshow – Together By Design
Following the resounding successes of our previous Innovation Roadshow, we held our Thailand leg of the event on August 2 and received a tremendous turnout! This is a testament to the market interest and trend in developing Workplace of The Future in organisations in Thailand, as our delegates actively engaged in conversations at our demo booths and packed the ballroom.
For a traditionally culturally reserved country, our
delegates were very forthcoming in questions during the keynote sessions, particularly around third party
integration and interoperability and ease of use. So hey, it’s not just Polycom messaging, these are what they will consider and what anyone would consider if they think about collaboration tools. What good are tools if they’re hard to use, right?
The audience was hugely impressed with the live demonstrations of our industry-first solutions, RealPresence Trio and RealPresence Centro, and our award-winning Acoustic Fence™, noise-blocking technology. Our team in Singapore joined us via video collaboration bringing our technology to life with interesting dialogue and props and engaged directly with the roomful of IT professionals.
Microsoft Thailand also participated as K.Panjaporn Vittayalerdpun presented on “Delivering Universal Communications with Office 365 and Skype for Business” reinforcing how workplace dynamics has shifted with the millennials joining the workforce, driving a strong demand for an easy to use, flexible communications platform.
Amongst the audience was a representative from the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) who shared in an impromptu Q &A andhis experience as a user of Polycom video collaboration solutions and support services. It was extremely satisfying to listen to a happy customer. What a great testimonial! Check out the MOPH case study for more.
Launch of Customer Demo Centre – Thailand
I am also delighted to share that we’ve launched a new customer demonstration centre in Thailand, the first in Bangkok! At the press launch, journalists were provided a firsthand experience of RealPresence Centro to RealPresence Centro experience amongst other demonstrations at our brand spanking new demo centre. With increasing demand in the market for video collaboration tools to drive the Workplace of The Future, this demo centre serves to allow organisations to customise a collaboration solution that suits them best. As Thailand’s national agenda for Digital Thailand/Economy is always big news, Polycom’s innovations drew lots of interest and questions from the attending media.
Microsoft Office 365 User Conference
As a strategic alliance partner of Microsoft, Polycom joined the Microsoft Office 365 User Conference as a Platinum Sponsor on August 3. About 500 people turned up at Queen Sirikit Convention Hall. Polycom’s Moses Lim took the main stage like a rock star as keynote presenter, and in true spirit of collaboration was supported by live demonstration by Low Hee Bun in the Polycom Singapore Executive Demo Centre.
The audience was treated to a larger than life RealPresence Trio with Skype for Business demonstration and could browse the Polycom booth at the exhibitors’ area afterwards. A key takeaway from feedback received was that over 50% of respondents were looking to video collaboration to effect reduction in operation cost and improve internal communications within the next six to 12 months.
This about sums up our “hat trick” last week in Thailand!
Since its introduction in June 2014, Polycom has made major advancements toward the Polycom RealConnect solution, the first technology to connect Skype for Business video with existing video systems. Since then, Polycom RealConnect has become the de facto model for connecting Skype for Business/Lync clients and standards-based endpoints.
In a brand new webinar next week, our in-house experts will reveal how to extend the Skype for Business experience by making it simple and intuitive for any user to join with one-click.
Why attend this webinar?
Date: Wednesday, 3 August
Time: 3:00PM Sydney
Time: 5:00PM New Zealand
Time: 1:00PM Singapore
Time: 10:30AM India
Expected duration: 30 min
Having worked at Polycom for the last 7 years, I always knew we enable great things with our technology that our customers use to do even greater things. The Quang Ninh Department of Health deployed the largest telemedicine network in Vietnam as they saw a critical need to extend healthcare services to the rural and remote communities.
Polycom video collaboration technology served them well as Quang Ninh is located on a complex mountainous area of Vietnam, often fraught with floods. The telehealth program addressed the challenges to have healthcare services accessible to citizens in the rural and smaller provinces, and provide training to medical staff, to ensure a high and consistent standard of healthcare quality provision across the provinces.
One remarkable application of this telehealth program came alive for me last week as we held a media and customer event in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam, where the picturesque Ha Long Bay is situated. Some 200 medical professionals and media across the provinces were also able to attend the event as a result of our collaboration technology, and experienced its impact first hand, participating in live interactions in High Definition video. Ron Emerson, our Global Director of Healthcare also joined us over video in the wee hours of his morning from his home in Maine, USA.
“The telehealth network has completely changed our levels of service to communities in the province and reduced the workload pressures on our clinical staff,” said Vu Xuan Dien, Director of Quang Ninh Department of Health. “As an example, for diagnosis of more difficult medical cases, patients had to be transferred across large distances from regional hospitals to either the Bach Mai or Viet Duc central hospitals. What telehealth has done is provided us with that vital link to rapidly administer patient care and diagnose early symptoms,” he said.
I witnessed, while being onsite to film the application, how the surgeons were able to talk and provide counsel to another group of doctors at the remote site via a Polycom RealPresence Utility Cart, while operating in the theatre. I can’t describe that moment of pride that I was working for a company that enabled THAT! It was a SUPERHERO moment for me.
I urge you to take a few minutes to read more about this story. It’s not every day that an emerging economy can accomplish something like that and it’s totally admirable.
Gartner, the largest and most influential analyst firm in the world, has published its annual vendor comparison report of enterprise group video vendors. For the second consecutive year, Polycom is ranked a 'Leader' in group video systems along with Cisco and Vidyo. Gartner states that Polycom is “Microsoft’s strongest videoconferencing partner” and highlights the expansion of Polycom’s portfolio with recent innovations including RealPresence Trio, RealPresence Debut, RealPresence Centro and RealPresence Clariti. Polycom was also recognised for its continued leadership in standards-based interoperability.
I recently attended the Westcon Imagine events in Australia and New Zealand had the opportunity to present the findings from Polycom’s latest ANZ WPOTF report. It was a great opportunity to discuss Polycom’s focus on the workspace, experience and workflow and how our innovation in these areas are helping employers and employees collaborate more effectively.
At the recent Imagine 2016 event in Auckland, there were many topics discussed, not least of which the power of collaboration and where we’re going in the future.
James Ware, Polycom ANZ senior manager of Alliances and Cloud Services, spoke about the workspace of the future.
“There is no longer a standard meeting room,” says Ware. “It’s all about open plan and opening the office up to collaboration - we’re seeing a real focus on the huddle room.”
A ‘huddle room’ is essentially a smaller, more connected version of the boardroom. Typically, they include a screen, a phone system and a central surface with around four seats or less and businesses use them for quick and insulated private calls.
“While there might be a large number of boardrooms, it’s a relatively small number when compared to huddle rooms,” says Ware. “We estimate about 1% of the world’s huddle rooms are in Australia and New Zealand, which equates to around 450,000.”
Traditional office space is shifting toward a more open, more shared and more affordable combination of public and private collaboration spaces around the world. It has never been more important to enable people to create their own workspaces via secure connections from anywhere, on any device. There is no doubt that across Australia and New Zealand, there is a large increase in the use of global teams and in tasks that require cross organisational collaboration. This is where regular video conference calls become crucial. However, while traditional phone calls and conference systems do a great job of transmitting the audio you want to be picked up, they also do a great job of picking up unintentional noise.
“Think about the guy in the back noisily eating the packet of chips, the people working from home with enthusiastic children and barking dogs or even just the general day-to-day noise of an office,” Ware says. “It can put a strain on any meeting - and even bring them to a halt.”
It’s clear that modern organisations need to find a way of making the dramas of distance disappear – fortunately, Polycom has the answer with their latest line of products.
“Our NoiseBlock technology automatically blocks background noise from any meeting, meaning the guy in the background can continue happily eating his chips – no one else in the meeting will hear a thing,” Ware says. “Furthermore, we also offer the ability to utilise an ‘Acoustic Fence’, whereby you can hold the meeting from noisy locations such as your car, a coffee shop or on the train and all noise around you within the fence will be blocked.”
Wainhouse Research and Polycom conducted surveys from Polycom’s existing customers regarding their thoughts on the video-enabled workspace – here are some of the results:
“What we want to do is unleash the power of collaboration for organisations, and it’s all centred around three key features – workspace, experience and workflow,” says Ware. “We want to enable people to create their own workspaces via secure connections from anywhere, on any device.”
According to a survey from Polycom, more than 48% of ANZ employees would use video conferencing more frequently if it was as simple as using a personal device – and that is what Polycom has achieved, with a simple user interface that links seamlessly with various platforms and where you literally have to just click to join.
When you’re responsible for 9,762 public health centres and 800 hospitals in several regions in a country of more than 67 million people, The Royal Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) had an urgent need to streamline communications and increase collaboration between provincial teams. Learn how this government ministry - our featured Polycom Superhero – used video collaboration to effectively bring teams together to improve critical response times and significantly reduce costs.
MOPH employs over 308,000 people nationwide and is one of the largest government ministries, with 878 offices and operations in all 76 provinces in Thailand (outside of Bangkok), and overseeing over 20 different government healthcare agencies.
Urgent need for efficient communications
An organisation of this size, complexity and structure required a wide amount of internal and external communications, from basic meetings to mission-critical collaboration between medical staff. Being able to easily and effectively communicate among the different offices throughout all the provinces, in particular the provincial health offices, and various medical organisations and hospitals is essential in daily operations.
“The estimated savings in just bringing one doctor in from every province for an annual meeting was over half a million Thai Baht (US$15,000). For a government ministry, the time and cost savings from video collaboration mean that we can use people, budgets, and resources far more efficiently,” says Dr. Pollawat Pichulkollathit, Director of Information Technology & Communication, Ministry of Public Health.
Learn how The Royal Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) is leveraging video collaboration in this case study and the video below.
Gabrielle Cichero was appointed Senior Director, Marketing for Polycom Asia Pacific and Japan in May 2016. Based in Sydney, she will oversee the overall marketing programs for the region as well as help grow the Polycom business.
An active volunteer, she spends her free time at the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, working in the Comms Room, supporting and helping people in emergency situations.
In this Q&A, she discusses her plans for her regional team, successful marketing strategies and how she balances work and family responsibilities.
What are your top priorities in your new role?
My top priority is to grow the Polycom business. Polycom has an incredible opportunity in Asia Pacific. There is no geography more connected in the world and no other region has seized the advantages of that connectivity in the same way, with yet more scope to grow. Polycom’s ability to drive productivity through technology creates equality of opportunity for people and businesses, so continuing to demonstrate that and grow our business is my priority.
I am excited to join the team and look forward to evolving a Polycom story through marketing that is as innovative as our technology.
What are your main expectations from your team?
I expect them to desire to be the best marketers in the world! I want my team to embrace our customers and build stories about the amazing possibilities that our technology brings. We are a technology company but our solutions make a difference in people’s lives.
Marketing to me is a blend of art and science. By that I mean being creative about crafting a story while putting best practice marketing principles to work to tell that story to the right people - connecting with our customers, and creating partnerships that build value across the ecosystem.
Could you tell us what interested you in Polycom?
Initially, I was interested in the promise of Polycom - the power of true collaboration. Just think of all the people in the world who spend hours in unproductive meetings and very long phone calls, where they are not truly connecting.
In every communication experience that you have, so much is visual in our expressions and body language. Every time you lose that, you lose the possibility of connection. What I love about Polycom is that the company makes the possibility a reality, bringing true connections quickly into business.
Collaboration brings opportunity – be it to school children in rural villages who can receive an education via HD video conferencing, or medical students in remote communities to receive ongoing training.
It doesn’t matter what the geopolitical or social environments are, collaboration provides that opportunity and that’s the promise of Polycom to me.
Polycom also has an enviable culture. We speak externally of unleashing the power of human collaboration, innovation and defying distance, but everyone in Polycom lives and breathes this every day. I’ve learnt we demonstrate the possibility and advantages of how technology can make people work together in a better way when they truly embrace it – through every connection, every day.
What do you think B2B technology marketers need to know about the evolving marketing landscape? How has this changed in the last 3-5 years?
First, while B2B marketing is about ‘business to business’, all marketing is about “people to people”. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that. As an industry, we have become very good at mastering the science of marketing, but at the end of the day, every conversation has to end with influencing or connecting to a person.
Whilst business relationships can be long lasting and valuable, they lack the ease of “stickiness” or emotional attachment a consumer can feel. So you have to find a way to drive that motivation and continue to deliver value.
Secondly, the metrics around Marketing are much more advanced and scientific than they were even five years ago. When I first started in my career, it wasn’t easy to define the contribution of marketing to the sales cycle and the business.
Technology marketing has now evolved its own science & discipline, helping us measure that contribution and also providing an ability to test, execute and adjust quickly. Using analytics helps to craft better stories and make adjustments quickly. That customer intimacy and insight based on technology platforms has been one of the biggest trends.
How do you think technology is shaping the future of marketing?
In a perfect world, technology should be able to make connections deeper. You can apply a lot of technology but it’s not until you analyse the intelligence from it and can apply that in a meaningful way that it really delivers value.
Technology has the ability to answer questions like - How do you understand different motivations and different cultures when you’re selling the same thing? What’s the right message to the right people and how can we connect with them in the best way? How do we deliver a richer experience with the right information, the right time, and the right way? How are we improving contributions to the business every day?
Technology will continue to allow us to know more about what we do. However, the decisions we take from that, require the expertise and imagination of people.
How can vendors like Polycom support partners in lead generation and marketing efforts?
Partners are essential to help us serve our customers better and make them more successful. They often bring a deep understanding of their customers’ business and their needs. Often, partners also bring local expertise and cultural knowledge. Given the diversity and breadth of Asia Pacific, we could not anticipate and deliver on our customers’ needs without them.
A partnership needs to be a collaborative effort. The Polycom brand, and our investment in it acts as a pull factor that delivers leads and interest to our partners. On the push side of the marketing equation, we also support them through easy to adopt campaigns designed for partners to localize and deploy.
It’s how we work together to deliver real business value to our customers that is the most important element and Polycom is committed to that.
How important is customer experience to a brand?
Customers telling your story is the most authentic and powerful way to build a brand.In technology, the desire to do that comes from a great user experience, so every experience is critical. It’s why Polycom is constantly looking for ways to make our solutions simpler to use – so they can focus on connecting, and associate that connection with the Polycom brand.
How do you manage a family and an executive career?
Life is about priorities. I’m focused on work when I’m there and my family when I’m with them. I am very lucky to have an amazing husband. We have been married for more than 20 years and have a 12 year old son. We always want each other to develop and grow and reach our full potential, just as I do with my Polycom team.
The key is balance and kindness. Sometimes the house may be untidy but the dinner table will always be a place for conversation!
With the South Korean Government looking to the future and implementing a ‘Smart Work Vitalisation Strategy’, the Korean Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) looked to Polycom’s Video Collaboration to support this project. MOPAS is responsible for affairs related to national administration, government organisations, personnel management, E-government and disaster management/public safety.
MOPAS’s commitment to support Korea’s ‘Smart Work Vitalisation Strategy’ by leveraging the power of video collaboration, makes them a Polycom APAC Superhero.
The South Korean Government’s ‘Smart Work Vitalisation Strategy’ aims to build 50 public Smart Work centres specifically for government officers use and 450 private Smart Work centres with high definition video collaboration solutions. This strategy will allow 30% of government officers to work remotely, any time, from any place, with the use of Polycom’s high-definition video collaboration solutions.
MOPAS required a secure and stable system that supports open standards and is easy-to-use, with the majority of government officers not having video collaboration experience. With ‘islands’ of employees fragmented by multiple communications systems, the RealPresence Platform transforms MOPAS with a seamless video experience.
When it comes to ROI, MOPAS expects that if each remote worker utilises their local SmartWork centre 1-2 days per week, it will be able to reduce emission trading and transportation costs by approximately USD$310 per one remote worker per year, and reduce commuter time by up to 90 minutes per day.
Telehealth and its applications in the healthcare industry have been in existence for the last decade; and despite its obvious value and benefits, telehealth has not reached widespread adoption as was expected.
A study by Tractica, places telehealth video consultation sessions at just 19.7 million in 2014. The same study predicts that telehealth video consultation is poised for strong and stable growth based on key technology enablers such as better video conferencing technologies, increased penetration of connected devices, and broadband adoption. Telehealth video consultations are projected to grow eight-fold to 158.4 million per year by 2020 thanks to expansion in healthcare use cases, deployments, and adoption.
Simultaneously, several market factors are making telehealth more valuable, including physician shortages, rising healthcare costs, the need to serve aging populations, and the number of people living with chronic diseases. This aligns with findings from Polycom’s own survey on Healthcare Technology Innovation 2025.
Polycom’s survey of over 1,000 healthcare workers across the world found the aging population and addressing the healthcare needs of the aged, medical practitioner shortage and chronic disease to be the greatest healthcare challenges expected in the next ten years, globally.
The survey also sought to determine the barriers to healthcare delivery in 2025. These were found to be funding, access to healthcare and inadequate government support. Likewise, Tractica’s study listed initial high costs (similar to funding), reimbursement policy (similar to government support) and resistance to adoption as inhibitors.
The ability to implement and deploy telehealth with scale has never been more critical than right now. Telehealth consultations are not likely to attain their height by 2020 or even 2025, unless barriers and inhibitors are addressed.
Here are some additional observations in speaking to customers, partners and healthcare communities over the past few months:
Technology, in particular video collaboration is recognised to play a vital role in the success of telehealth by allowing healthcare professionals to keep in visual contact with patients more easily and inspect conditions from afar, as well as providing emergency access to expertise.
Because of the maturity of collaboration technology, organisations no longer consider technology per se, to be a major barrier. Instead, business-as-usual (workflow), processes, technology management and technology training are regarded as being more critical. Without integration into existing workflows which will aid adoption, telehealth consultations will likely continue to face resistance from doctors, nurses and patients. Therefore, the operation and adoption of technology is seen as more critical than the technologies themselves.
The presence of a dedicated individual such as a telehealth programme manager or telehealth coordinator contributes greatly to the success of telehealth initiatives by managing resources and bridging the gaps between practitioners, IT and patients.
Scale requirements may vary from just a few users to hundreds and even thousands of participants. Whether large or small, healthcare organisations tend to cover multiple locations, including many remote areas that may not be in top tech shape nor have access to good bandwidth. Organisations are also aware that telehealth has to be simple and cost-effective enough to scale into small clinics, group homes and even individual patient homes for home health.
Consequently, healthcare organisations are looking for a range of solutions that suit the various environments they operate in – be it home health, remote clinics, hospital or group home environments. Ideally, video conferencing solutions should be able to connect web-based, room systems, mobile devices and video phones in the same network seamlessly. And preferably be Open standards to allow healthcare professionals to communicate across any platform and any vendor.
Government support was listed as one of the greatest barriers to the adoption of new healthcare models, in the Polycom Healthcare Technology Innovation 2025 survey. Without the right incentives, both monetary & regulatory, industry behavior is unlikely to change soon or change for good.
With governments or healthcare governing bodies “holding the cards” to monetary and policy levers, it seems that telehealth could scale and grow rapidly if healthcare organisations work closely with them to develop effective models for telehealth implementation.
Funding and cost usually becomes an issue when the value to users or to the organisation, is vague. That’s why it is critical to measure the return on investment for telehealth video consultations. All aspects of telehealth from patient satisfaction and benefit, to practitioner and nurse efficiency, to medical resource allocation need to be measured in order to establish the value of investment.
Once decision makers, policy makers and consumers see the benefit, any reservations with funding and cost fade away.
Other important aspects to measure include the usage, performance and efficiency of telehealth video conferences. Solutions like Polycom RealAccess Analytics provide useful data on utilisation patterns, peak and low telehealth video traffic times, regular users, help IT leaders to measure, track and plan support for a telehealth network that should be fully functional 24/7.
As the Healthcare industry evolves to meet the challenges of an aging population, medical practitioner shortage and a rise in chronic diseases, telehealth will have to overcome existing barriers, in order to enable care teams reach people and patients wherever they are located most of the time – be it at work or home – for better health outcomes in the future.
A guest post by Pratyasha Malakar, PR Specialist, Polycom India
Victory is sweet! Especially, if your efforts to drive business value gets recognised at a global platform like the Frost & Sullivan Awards a second year running. Polycom were again named the 'Video Conferencing Equipment Vendor of the Year’ at the 2016 Frost & Sullivan India ICT Awards.
Every year Frost & Sullivan presents these coveted awards to organisations that have shown exemplary growth, attributed to an enhanced collaboration portfolio and seamless integration with unified communications solutions. Evaluation parameters included revenue growth, market share growth, product portfolio diversity, key achievements, and Go-to-Market strategy. It involved in-depth primary interviews of various industry participants and secondary research conducted by Frost & Sullivan analysts. An elite panel of jury members comprising prominent CIOs/CTOs from the industry evaluated the results.
Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Minhaj Zia, Vice President India SAARC and South Korea for Polycom said “Work has drastically changed from a place we go to - into something that we do, irrespective of time, location and devices we use. Our solutions help unleash the power of human collaboration across any distance, device, or timeline to our customers save costs and meet their company objectives. For the past several years, Polycom has focused on changing our customers’ experience of video collaboration and enabling the workplace of the future. We make sure the solutions we bring to market are simplified for an improved user experience and easier adoption. This award affirms we are moving in the right direction and we are proud to be the recipient of this award for the second year running”.
Polycom has been growing progressively in the Indian video conferencing market over the last few years boasting a high revenue growth of 22% in 2015. Understanding customer demands and delivering a superior experience enabled the company to capture customer delight. The company catered to every enterprise segment with its unique offerings and enhanced value proposition. Its commitment to constantly innovate was visible through its new product launches, leading to its growth journey.
Extending hearty congratulations to Polycom on winning the 2016 Video Conferencing Equipment Vendor of the Year award, Mr. Benoy CS, Director, Digital Transformation Practice, Frost & Sullivan said, “Polycom is a key innovator in the video conferencing market in India and has achieved exemplary revenue growth. The company’s continued investments in technology backed by a strong go-to-market strategy have given it a competitive edge”.
This only reinstates our commitment to transforming the way the world collaborates and we’re certain that Polycom will remain a frontrunner in the workplace of the future!
Looking forward to more victories!
I recently read with interest about a top school in Australia banning laptops in classrooms, citing the reason that technology was distracting and diverts from old-school methods and quality teaching. Although I can understand where this line of thinking stems from and hesitate to completely dismiss this notion, I believe it’s also vital that we understand the purpose and absolute relevance of technology in education. So let’s consider both sides of the argument.
Developing familiarity with various programs, learning typing skills and putting thoughts into a digital medium are
just the basics when it comes to the use of a laptop. Conversely, unless access to the internet, gaming programs and other distractions are removed, students may not be able to resist temptation to play around and get easily distracted during lessons. However, I believe that it’s not so much the use but the presence of the laptop or tablet in the classroom that may present a distraction, particularly when students are anxious for breaks or the next lesson. Here’s an interesting way to think about it: Imagine that you were in a meeting and your mobile phone is on silent. You receive a call or a message mid-meeting, how much effort does it take to ignore peeking at the caller info or message preview? If you struggle with this distraction as an adult, it’s going to be pretty challenging to expect that of school-age children albeit with less impulse control!
Should we go back to basics?
When we refer to technology in the classroom, it is most certainly not limited to laptops. It can be any tool which promotes collaboration and learning – be it a tablet device, video conferencing, or digital whiteboarding. These tools and applications may have once (and perhaps still!) been considered distractions in the traditional sense, but are now opportunities to foster learning among new generations.
With the proliferation of technology throughout our lives, many are suggesting that schools need to go ‘back to basics’. To make best use of technology in education, it’s really important to determine its purpose in a classroom and consider several objectives. Is it meant to be a teaching aid aimed to enrich content and engagement of presentations? Is it meant to provide access to more information at a student’s fingertips? Can you engage with subject-matter experts and peer groups to enhance your lessons? Are you encouraging students to collaborate more freely with online study groups and other schools?
The fact that technology is so prevalent in our daily lives should not be the reason why we go back to basics. If the reliance on technology in classrooms was to change, it has to be for the right reasons – mainly that its use and presence is not meeting its purpose or goals, or is adversely affecting learning outcomes.
Perhaps the “basics” that we should be returning are the fundamentals of lesson design and learning outcomes. If schools are attempting to deliver lessons and educate students using the same or similar methods with the addition of technology, it is unlikely to be the most effective model. Which is why at Polycom, our approach to applying technology in education begins first with offering familiarisation and lesson design to our education customers. It isn’t sufficient enough to just deploy technology such as video and content collaboration in a classroom; educators and administrators need to evolve teaching styles to complement technology – and truly embrace and believe in it – to create even more impact with students.
Technology brings positive change in the classroom
A broad spectrum of education institutions – from schools to higher education colleges and universities – are actively investing in technology, to the point of it being a competitive differentiator. The walls of the traditional classroom are crumbling and making way towards a more collaborative and equitable approach to education through MOOCs, flipped and blended learning, and distance education programs, made possible through the availability of technology such as streaming and recorded video lectures, online collaboration tools, and real-time instant messaging access to lecturers and tutors.
Educators are constantly bombarded with a plethora of technology and new apps. For teachers and administrators, knowing what to choose and when to apply these in the classroom can be confusing. It can also be easy to get caught up in the “shiny object syndrome” with new technology.
The use of technology should be driven by what will make teaching and learning better and what will give students the applied skills they will need in the workplace. As an example, Gippsland Trade Training Centres has wonderfully integrated technology to enable the delivery of education equality over vast distances. Video collaboration solutions were integrated into classrooms and practical workshops within the participating educational facilities. By incorporating video collaboration solutions in classrooms and practical workshops, students can remotely connect with vocational teachers who may be on a farm or in a commercial kitchen, hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres away. Often the instructor wears a mobile, on-person camera, so the students are able to see exactly what the instructor is demonstrating, and programs can be delivered across the two Gippsland regions using video connected classrooms.
Bring Your Own Balance (BYOB)
Much like education models across the world are becoming increasingly personalised to the learner, the curriculum, management and style of instruction amongst institutions within a country or even a state can be very unique.
Perhaps the top institution’s ban on laptops was the right thing to do for their specific profile of students and educators. It does not (and should not) mean that a ban is the right move for every school. A CompTIA study revealed that 9 out of 10 students indicated that the use of technology in the classroom will be important to help them prepare for a digital economy. Clearly, there also is goodness to be harnessed from integrating technology in the classroom.
There is a role for everyone, in preventing classroom technology from becoming a distraction. Administrators and IT departments can restrict access to the internet at the appropriate times, teachers and lecturers can better integrate technology into the learning process and parents can monitor school-related app and device usage at home.
Technology as a whole – laptops and devices, collaboration tools and learning applications - should be assessed as enablers which help promote and improve learning, keeping the students of today more engaged.Having a thorough strategy to plan, assess and manage these technologies based on the current and future needs of your school or organisation, is probably the best way to ensure a balance of technology immersion and the right learning outcomes.
If you think this pictured collaboration solution may look familiar - then you're absolutely right. Polycom® RealPresence Trio™, transforms Polycom's iconic three-point conference phone, one of the most popular appliances in the history of business meetings!
Today, we are delighted to share the news that this first smart hub for group collaboration was awarded with the Red Dot, the international distinction for high design quality. Find out how RealPresence Trio is not only about style - but is rapidly transforming huddle rooms into collaboration hubs.
Participants from 57 nations had registered their products and innovations for the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016. Only products which set themselves apart considerably through their excellent design receive the sought-after quality seal from the international Red Dot jury.
The perfect huddle room solution
Huddle rooms are the fastest growing type of meeting space and many organisations are struggling with the best way to affordably outfit these smaller rooms with collaboration technology.
Modular and flexible solutions allow teams to transform their workspaces and adapt to the way they need to collaborate. This is where solutions such as RealPresence Trio transform the way small meeting spaces are being used.
Check out this handy infographic to discover how Polycom's range of solutions make huddle rooms more productive.
Experience it for yourself!
If you'd like to experience Polycom RealPresence Trio or explore more collaboration options for your small meeting spaces, contact your Polycom representative.
In a competitive retail market, Oak Lawn Marketing, a leading branding and media company connecting customers through its consumer brand, Shop Japan, is always looking for a competitive edge. Oak Lawn Marketing's vision of "Enriching Lifestyles Worldwide" applies not only to customers, product partners and shareholders (NTT Docomo Group), but to also their employees and society as a whole.
Realising that its legacy video conference system could no longer keep up with the company's growing need for an immediate connection, Oak Lawn Marketing looked to collaboration to improve its competitive edge. With offices and call centres spread throughout Japan, employees depend on high-definition voice and video and Microsoft Lync to collaborate across islands and overseas.
Leveraging Polycom and Microsoft’s strong partnership, the organisation can now communicate easier in real-time and join the conversation from anywhere. "We were concerned there might be a reduction in business efficiency if email was the main form of communication," explains Akihisa Katsumata, deputy director of information technology of Oak Lawn Marketing. "We decided to bring together all of our internal lines with Microsoft Lync."
Their commitment to enriching the lifestyles of their customers worldwide by leveraging the latest in collaborative technology has earned them the title of Polycom Superhero.
Find out more about how you can mirror their program successes by contacting your Polycom representative today.
Viet UC Seafood Corporation, a leading shrimp farming company in Vietnam paves the way for their industry as
they leverage collaboration technology to improve manufacturing processes. It is a big deal when we think of the sheer geographical expanse of the company's farms, the factories, the dispersed manufacturing and technical teams – just managing schedules to meet can be such a time-consuming exercise, not to mention sharing information among the teams!
Read on to see how video collaboration not just transformed the company's workflows, but also brought about significant savings.
Video collaboration saved time for the various teams involved in the process but also provided other functions in the company a new way of working such as for HR in their training programs. Viet UC Seafood also have a competitive edge as they seek to improve their farming technology with R&D alliances beyond Vietnam. What used to be a tight schedule to include travel time and actual meetings with partners became a breeze with video collaboration. The knowledge transfer for on-going research is an invaluable benefit aside from travel savings or the hassle of logistics management.
I met their Business Operations Director, Tri Vu, recently in Ho Chi Minh city to talk about the successes which video collaboration has brought to the company. “Previously if our sales teams required face to face meetings, they would either have to travel or use freely available consumer-grade apps. This would not be the most effective way of communicating – unstable connections would interrupt the call, the users could not share screens or content, information had to be emailed round to several people, and meetings were largely audio only. With enterprise-grade video, the sales teams not only meet frequently but are able to compare notes, share results, pricing and targets in real-time.”
Tri Vu also shared their vision for the business and how they too, are driving the Workplace of the Future. In time to come, they will look to enable more video collaboration capabilities via desktop, mobile and cloud solutions and increase potential for the organisation.
Read more about the successes Viet UC Seafood Corporation has achieved in this case study.
How we connect and collaborate is changing. It's now about collaborating and working in real time with voice, video and content sharing–as a team. Don’t miss Polycom’s latest webinar ‘Ready your huddle spaces for Office 365 online meetings’ and learn how Polycom and Microsoft's industry leading collaboration solutions can help future proof these spaces.
Our in-house industry experts will cover:
Date: Wednesday 18 May 2016
Cloud-first collaboration infrastructure software, flexible pricing and deployment options, and powerful options are all terms that come to mind when we talk about Polycom’s Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTM solution.
But what do these all mean for our customers and how will RealPresence Clariti address their collaboration challenges? Roger Farnsworth, Polycom’s Senior Director, Infrastructure and Services Solutions Marketing was recently in Asia Pacific and helped us learn more.
In a few words what are the key benefits of RealPresence Clariti to our customers, our partners and for Polycom?
RealPresence Clariti brings HD audio, video, content and web collaboration to organisations of all sizes. It’s simple, powerful and cloud-ready.
What are the biggest challenges customers face in choosing collaboration solutions? How does RealPresence Clariti address these?
Today, many vendors of collaboration solutions are more focused on selling their technology than they are on customer requirements and desires. Polycom, with RealPresence Clariti, has created a simple way to focus on user requirements and experiences, design and deliver solutions to their problems, and take the complex technological discussions out of the initial sales engagements. With RealPresence Clariti we do three important things: meet customer needs directly; reduce the amount of time it takes to design and deliver a workable solution; and increase overall adoption and satisfaction.
What are the top 5 things customers should know about RealPresence Clariti?
Subscription or perpetual licensing – what does this mean in terms of RealPresence Clariti and what are their key benefits?
Many customers want to consume technology in subscription form to lower initial costs, get predictable solution and service pricing, and take advantage of their operational, as opposed to capital, budget to acquire solutions. Term licenses address these desires. Other customers will have policy or budgetary requirements to acquire technology outright. Perpetual licenses allow them to pay up front for the technology and adding on required services.
What other services offers are available to our customers?
Polycom and our partners offer a complete portfolio of services for driving customer success - from designing and supporting to optimising and managing. For example, RealAccess Analytics Basic version is included with every RealPresence Clariti purchase and one-year or three-year subscriptions of the full version of RealPresence Analytics are available as well. Remote Monitoring and Management services are also available for customers interested in outsourcing some or all of the day-to-day operation of their RealPresence Clariti solution. Other services include envisioning, solution design, Advantage Plus, voice services for Skype for Business and many more.
What are the main drivers behind offering concurrent user licenses?
First, customers understand per-user licensing. It’s how they buy the majority of their software, and it aligns with the way they prefer to consume their solutions. Second, the per-user licensing model democratises access to visual collaboration. Unlike named-host models, where only a small number of users are granted access to the technology, and in many cases have to be present when it’s used, per-user makes the capability available to everyone, but only charges when it’s actively used.
A guest post from Brennon Kwok, Polycom Asia Pacific’s regional UC Solution Architect for Microsoft and recognised by Microsoft as a Lync MVP:
When asked by CIOs to explain what’s key when assessing their future technology needs, it’s no surprise that Microsoft and its unified communications (UC) solutions are always integral to the conversation. On a recent visit to Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), I hosted a series of design clinics for partners and customers wanting to understand how they can be more effective at deploying 21st century collaboration technologies in a Microsoft-enabled Workplace of the Future.
To provide some context. I truly believe our industry is at a turning point. The widespread availability and advances in digital technology are causing rapid changes to the workplace, not seen since the industrial revolution. IT investment is just one indicator. In line with spend, a large number of enterprises, large and small, are on their own digital transformation journeys moving voice and video communications from legacy proprietary systems to more open and collaborative environments. For the majority, this means deploying unified communication (UC) collaboration technologies delivered by Microsoft; either on-premise or in the cloud.
When it comes to workplace transformation, compared to the rest of Asia Pacific, businesses in Australia and New
Zealand are ahead of the curve. Many customers are already using voice and or video as a service (VaaS) from a variety of service providers that offer 24/7 connectivity anytime, anyplace and on any device. Businesses are also replacing traditional office environments with open plan workspaces more suited to collaboration. These include areas like brainstorming zones and small huddle areas where different work groups can meet, share content and collaborate on video using multiple devices.
But while the changing workplace driven by rapid technology innovation is exciting, there are of course challenges when it comes to getting the technology right. One of the biggest hurdles is enabling different heterogeneous environments to work together in a seamless and non-disruptive way. It’s one thing to be able to connect different systems together, but to do so while preserving a consistent user experience and workflow across a multitude of user devices is the difference between a good and a great solution. Customers also expect this same interoperability and user experience when they move to the cloud.
What's coming up for Polycom + Microsoft?
Obviously, customers who are integrating legacy video conferencing and PBX systems with Microsoft Skype for Business and Microsoft Office365 are also looking for integration that preserves the natural workflow experience. In fact this is the number one factor driving user adoption today and until recently has been a major hurdle for many.
The technologies available from Microsoft and Polycom, underpinned by our 12 year partnership, have matured to overcome these interoperability barriers. With a firmware update planned for later this year, Skype for Business customers can move completely to Office365 and the Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series will be able to directly register with the cloud servers, allowing for presence, click-to-call and Exchange Online calendar integration out of the box. This will help drive user adoption and provide the consistent look and feel of Skype for Business across all meeting space devices, creating a seamless user experiences.
However, within this context, it’s important to educate customers and partners on what can be achieved today and further improvements that can be expected in the coming months. For example, as part of Microsoft’s newly announced Project Rigel, Polycom will deliver a new line of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business that will offer plug-and-play simplicity to meet the needs of any sized business and any sized room. Although exact details are to be announced, these new solutions are expected to take advantage of the innovative Skype Meeting interface of Microsoft’s Surface Hub and combine them with the latest collaboration technologies.
For customers looking to integrate enterprise-grade HD video and voice into their Microsoft Skype for Business or Office 365 platform, here are five key tips to get you started:
Would you like to learn how Office 365 and Skype for Business change the collaboration experience? Join Brennon
on May 18 at Polycom's latest webinar. Register today to find out more about improving your huddle spaces and small meeting rooms.
In this guest blog, Miwah Van, Managing Director of consulting firm Unvorsum discusses the relationship between workspace design and technology in enabling organisational collaboration.
Advancements in technology are enabling us to work and live in a way that has never been possible before. A person is now able to turn their car into a taxi service with the likes of Uber, provide their professional skills to anyone, anywhere, at anytime on Freelancer, and if you ever fancied opening your own hotel - you now can with AirBnB. Technology is providing individuals with an ever expanding range of options in how they work and earn a living - never before has there been so much ability for an individual to have a global presence nor the option to leverage underutilised personal resources to generate additional income. Employees' increased optionality is having a direct impact on traditional employer’s ability to attract and retain the best people.
One method corporates are seeking to level the playing field is through offering employees enhanced levels of flexibility and autonomy. Providing a workplace that meets the individual demands of each employee is a key aspect of this equation.
Where can we observe how to balance individual needs with an overall culture?
Co-work as an industry has exploded worldwide over the last 5 years, demonstrating the growing demand from consumers wanting more from their place of work than the traditional office setting. Flexible working environments and leasing structures, aesthetically pleasing design, and the opportunity to interact with other like-minded individuals are all foundations of the product offering. Gone are the days where all employees needed was a desk and a cubicle they could call their own.
However, sharing of office spaces amongst companies and individuals is not a new thing. Barristers have been doing this for years, working with each other in Chambers and gaining the benefit of shared administration costs. Organisations such as Servcorp and Regus successfully pioneered the Serviced Office concept in the late 1970's and subsequently created business footprints that span the globe.
Co-work has taken the principles so well established in the Serviced Office industry and incorporated unique design elements that span nature, industrial and a touch of retro. Some even go as far as offering beer on tap and building climbing walls within the facility. In the past 12 months, I have had the opportunity to tour different facilities around the world; including locations in, the USA, Asia and Australia. It was a real treat to see the different spaces come to life and be able to compare and evaluate the similarities and differences that exist across different facilities and locations.
In conjunction with the Serviced Office sector I believe that Co-work holds many lessons for corporates in providing solutions that are both flexible and allow employees to choose where, when and how they best want to work.
But isn’t co-work just a hip fit-out and bean bags?
In my view it’s not the fit-out nor the bean bags that have made Co-work so successful. It’s often said the best businesses are those that meet a clear customer need and go above and beyond in servicing this need - Co-work is no different. A titanic shift is taking place how people are employed, over 50% of the workforce expected to be self-employed by 2035, vs. only 35% at present. This is driving a huge proliferation in the creation of small business around the world, “Business really is the new Black”.
Providers of flexible office space have stepped into the traditional market and offer a product that meets the requirements of small businesses - both start-ups and those that are growing. A place to work is a key input for any business and enabling flexibility at a cost effective price point is extremely valuable. However, these factors combined with a funky design is not enough. The design is targeted at attracting a specific type of user to a given facility and this is where the real magic is created.
For example, Bespoke in San Francisco targets start-up technology companies in the retail sector and is located in a shopping mall, the facility itself has pop up showcase suites for businesses to showcase their products. This is a natural extension of the model employed by Servcorp in the Serviced Office sector where professional service providers are targeted via providing upscale suites in premium locations.
When a space is purpose built for a specific customer group like-minded businesses will be attracted to the space enabling the generation of connections, growth opportunities and a real sense of community amongst those that occupy the space. The facilities that have performed particularly well have also created specialised technology platforms that exist solely to generate this sense of community.
So what does this mean for Corporates?
Corporates can take learnings from this customer driven, purpose designed approach in creating workspaces. Look at workspace design as a tool for your organisation to enable your staff to freely communicate and collaborate with each other. Spaces should be designed around the culture of each individual organisation and not simply determined by the latest trend. Involve staff in the design and fit-out of the workspace, it provides a great opportunity to give your staff a personal voice while strengthening your company's culture from within.
Interested to find out more?
Tony Simonsen is Polycom's Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand. In this Q&A he discusses his first 100 days in the job, the evolution of Polycom's channel partners, and the trends driving the workplace of the future in ANZ.
What have you learnt in your first 100 days in this role?
What I’ve found is that we’ve got a really good team of people in ANZ and globally, who are focused on a common set of objectives. There is a real spirit of embracing collaboration in everything we do here and truly enabling the Workplace of the Future.
Our technology is fantastic and extremely innovative. We have a broad range of new solutions in market which gives us unique opportunity here in ANZ, a market that is in rapid transition around a few key issues. The technology also has changed the look and feel of the Polycom brand and what we stand for in the marketplace.
Polycom’s partner community is strong albeit with opportunity to do some things differently. Relationships with partners such as Microsoft are so deep and so strong that there is a level of great mutual benefit. That relationship is something I have focused on to understand how we can together add value to customers in ANZ. I’ve also found that we have a very loyal customer base and now a large focus for me will be to help them ready themselves for the Workplace of the Future.
What does the future workplace look like for people in Australia & New Zealand? What are some of the trends driving this new reality?
We look at Australian and New Zealand businesses in a couple of different ways: the way organisations used to collaborate and work together and how they will going forward. The availability of technology is really critical for the future workplace as it is about the way we work (workflow), the experience we have and importantly, the workplace and how it’s changed. Bricks and mortar have made way for collaborative working environments that can be physical or virtual, enabling people to work in any place, at any time using technology and applications to stay connected.
However, despite the changes under way, there is still more work to be done to shift cultural perceptions about whether employees need to work from an office to undertake their jobs effectively. In Polycom’s recent ANZ Workplace of the Future report, we found that opinions are divided on both sides of the Tasman. We discovered very interestingly that almost two thirds (64%) of Australian businesses prefer their employees to work from an office compared to just one third (35%) of New Zealand based organisations. The ‘see to believe’ mindset needs to be addressed, as the Workplace of the Future is not a physical place but represents a new model of working which supports both office-based and remote workers.
Another trend is the ability for companies to hire people who can work from anywhere, including working from home. In our survey we found organisations are seeing a large increase in the use of global teams (69% in Australia versus 71% in New Zealand) and in tasks that require cross organisational collaboration (82% in Australia versus 84% in New Zealand).
What role will channel partners play in the workplace of the future?
Traditional channel partners for Polycom were organisations that provided audio visual solutions to companies, because video was treated as an audio visual application in most organisations. Today, the Workplace of the Future is driving different dynamics and the channel that we either resell through or partner with are very different to what we might have done 3-5 years ago. This includes organisations that are more people-oriented than technology-oriented, such as those which provide activity-based or workforce planning activities, or that are building and designing new workplaces.
Our channel is changing and adapting to organisational trends, and so are very different and new to Polycom. There is opportunity for all our partners – of which we have over 500 across ANZ – to adapt the solutions they are offering to the new workplace. That means focusing less on the technology and more on three things:
- the workplace and the environment people work in
- the experience the user has every single day
- the way in which they work (workflow)
It’s not just about a great product any more; we continually reference Workspace, Experience and Workflow in our discussion with customers and elevate the conversation, thereby becoming more consultative. Our partners are doing the same thing – not just providing technology but an experience, which is absolutely critical to customers.
What do organisations need to do to embrace collaboration as a company-wide business practice?
Measurement and metrics are number one. Our premise at Polycom is about putting collaboration at the core of the business and we provide the experience required. But metrics are crucial to an organisation in order to measure productivity, how to measure utilisation and adoption of the collaboration tools provided. Our research tells us that only 24% ANZ organisations measure the utilisation of their collaboration solutions. This represents an opportunity to understand potential areas for improved productivity. It’s necessary to measure impact on productivity whether it’s reduced administration costs or faster time to market as result of better collaboration. A baseline of measurement should be established to see the improvements over time and truly embrace and reap the benefits of collaboration. Collaboration technology should also be used throughout the organisation and not reserved for a boardroom or only a certain set of employees.
The Australian government recently unveiled a $1b innovation package. What opportunities does this bring for Australian businesses, as well as vendors such as Polycom?
The budget is a significant amount of investment over four years and from a Federal Government point of view, it’s about all about driving innovation and the ‘ideas boom’ that will impact Australia in that period of time.
There’s never a better time for organisations to invest in doing things differently in their workplace, such as driving a Workplace of the Future strategy, utilising some of the funding as part of the ideas boom and showing how increased collaboration can benefit the economy.
Could you explain some of the innovative ways ANZ customers are using Polycom technology? What were some recent customer highlights?
DEXUS Property Group is an excellent example of a customer that has adopted Polycom technology and built a business model around our Workplace of the Future story. Rather than being just another organisation that simply provides an office space, they provide an experience by integrating every type of collaboration technology – from immersive telepresence to high definition audio conferencing – to provide a truly collaborative workplace for their customers. They have taken what was originally a business model of providing office space and stacked on great services and doing a great job of innovating in the market place.
Which market areas or verticals have the biggest growth potential and opportunity for Polycom in ANZ?
We have typically sold to three verticals: government, healthcare and education, and they’re where the majority of our business in ANZ comes from. But we can’t rely on those to sustain us over time, so we set about looking very closely at the customer sets – those who are embracing Workplace of the Future solutions the most. Two of those stand out in terms of rapid innovation: financial services and professional services. These two sectors are moving very quickly to activity based working and collaborative working environments to drive competitive advantage and be seen as innovating. We now find that these two verticals are making up the majority of new opportunities for us.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I started my career at 15 as an apprentice machinist and somehow many paths led me to where I am today. What I can say is that I love my career in technology, particularly in the point of view of enabling positive change in the workplace. I’m happily married for over 20 years and have four children, three dogs, a cat and a bunch of chickens and we live in a rural area, more than 50kms out of Sydney. I enjoy fishing and playing cricket and am also currently enrolled in an MBA program. In addition to my role here at Polycom, I’m also on the board of a charity that supports homeless youth, adults, and families.
How have video and/or other technology innovations impacted your life?
It goes without saying that video collaboration is a fundamental element to my role, in keeping in daily contact with my teams across Australia and New Zealand and of course collaborating with my colleagues across the world. Whether I’m in rural New South Wales or in the heart of Sydney, location and time zones really don’t matter – video helps me manage my schedules and time better and keep my teams productive.
What’s your favourite Polycom solution?
My favourite by far is RealPresence Centro. To bring conversations to the centre of the room is really important and to have that 360 degree view in a collaboration session is just awesome! As a solution to a business problem around agile working, RealPresence Centro is an incredible product and I can’t wait for customers to experience and leverage it.
Following the Federal Government’s pledge to invest almost AUD$1.1 billion in the next four years to fund Australia’s ‘ideas boom’ and promote innovation, there has never been a more important time for ANZ businesses to evaluate and invest in the right workplace collaboration strategies. As Australia’s collaborative economy grows, business operators must develop new ways to bring together skills, expertise and knowledge of a diverse workforce, or risk being left behind.
In Polycom's recent Workplace of the Future Survey we found that, while 97 percent of Australian and New Zealand businesses believe technology-enabled collaboration is key to remaining competitive, most are most are ill equipped to thrive in the workplace of the future with many reliant on 20th Century technologies such as email to undertake more complex collaboration tasks that other technologies might be better suited for. Not only that, but four in five ANZ businesses believe their knowledge transfer to be sub-optimal.
With 54 percent of Australian employees believing their workplace collaboration tools are not adequately optimised to facilitate collaborative working, and 65 percent saying they would be more productive if the right collaborative tools were integrated into their workplace, more work is clearly required.
Enter DEXUS Property Group
It is in this current workplace collaboration landscape that we see a relevant new offering emerge that caters to collaboration pain points of Australian businesses – DEXUS Place.
This innovative solution offered by DEXUS Property Group (DEXUS) showcases what the Workplace of the Future is all about and that it can be a reality today with thoughtful design integrating space and technology.
So what is DEXUS Place? It is a premium design, fully serviced ‘third space’ – an extension of the workplace, that larger businesses and SMEs alike can book as a member or a casual, for client functions, strategy days and collaborative meetings.
This week, Polycom had the pleasure of being part of the launch of DEXUS Place Brisbane – a stunning new waterfront space that epitomises the workplace of the future, through flexible room configurations, open plan systems, and the latest collaborative technologies. Together with DEXUS Place in Sydney and Melbourne, the new facility in Brisbane will provide businesses along the eastern seaboard with instant access to cutting edge collaboration solutions, fully integrated into an exceptionally designed workspace for the best experience.
Each DEXUS Place site includes a Polycom® RealPresence Immersive StudioTM for real-as-life collaboration
experiences when connecting teams between sites, as well as from remote locations. Meeting rooms integrate high definition, standards based video conferencing, and huddle spaces are also equipped with collaboration solutions including the newly released Polycom® RealPresence TrioTM.
This new model of workplace offering delivers Australian businesses with the benefits of best-in-class collaboration, whilst delivering flexibility and cost efficiencies.
The future of the workplace in ANZ
As the survey revealed, the ANZ region understands the importance of collaboration, with 89 percent of ANZ businesses and employees describing themselves as collaborative. However, despite the fact that employees spend approximately 30% of their working day collaborating, people are not using the tools best suited to the type of collaboration they need to undertake due to accessibility, availability and old digital working habits.
There is opportunity to address these barriers through better workspace design that fosters collaboration through the smart integration and usage of technology. Traditional office space is shifting toward a more open, more shared and more affordable combination of public and private collaboration spaces around the world. It has never been more important to enable people to create their own workspaces via secure connections from anywhere, on any device. DEXUS Place is a wonderful example of progressive workspace design where technology is integrated in such a way that it is seamlessly part of the overall experience. It represents a tremendous opportunity for companies to embrace new ways of working and unleash their collaboration potential.
A guest post by Niko Walraven, Director, Voice and UC Solutions Asia Pacific:
At our next webinar on Wednesday, March 23 you will hear the latest Microsoft and Polycom joint announcements that expand the reach of Office 365 and Skype for Business. Join me and my colleague Brennon Kwok as we take you through Polycom + Microsoft's winning partnership and how we can enhance your conferencing in the cloud experience.
With the technical previews well under way of the new Skype for Business conferencing capabilities in Office 365 environments, the focus now turns to which devices will support and interoperate with the forthcoming cloud service offering. Additionally, many customers are looking to bridge heterogeneous solution environments as they move to Office 365.
You may have already heard the exciting news that Polycom and Microsoft will also deliver an industry-first, cloud-based video interoperability service, hosted in the Microsoft Cloud, for Office 365 customers. This enables Office 365 customers to leverage their existing video investments and unite with those of other vendors, including Polycom, Microsoft and Cisco, as they move to the cloud. At our ‘Microsoft conferencing in the cloud’ webinar you will hear firsthand on how to enhance your cloud conferening experience with dedicated high-quality voice and video solutions which will ensure effective collaboration without borders.
Register below to book your place, we look forward to having you there and answering your questions.
Date: Wednesday, 23rd March
Expected Duration: 30 minutes
Register via links below. Please click the location nearest to you:
▪ Polycom & Microsoft’s growing partnership: What it really means for customers
▪ Polycom and Microsoft to Extend Video Collaboration in Office 365 and Skype for Business
▪ Polycom solutions for Microsoft UC Environments