A guest post from Brennon Kwok, Polycom Asia Pacific’s regional UC Solution Architect for Microsoft and recognised by Microsoft as a Lync MVP:
Last week at Enterprise Connect 2016, Polycom and Microsoft made joint announcements which have had profound impact across the entire UC industry. Never before has two companies partnered together so closely to bring about a whole new level of innovation and technology for meeting room spaces and collaboration focused built purposefully for the cloud. While there are already several great blog posts on the announcements such as the one from Network World by Zeus Kerravala, this blog focuses on what those announcements really mean for customers in practical terms.
Let's review the three major developments that were announced and what they each mean for customers:
1. Polycom will qualify the Group Series portfolio of products for Microsoft’s Office 365 solution and introduce new benefits such as a Skype for Business UI for a native look and feel.
First, the Polycom Group Series family of endpoints have always been natively integrated with Skype for Business and thousands of these devices have already been deployed into meeting rooms by Microsoft customers all around the world. Up until now, these endpoints could register natively to an on-premise Skype for Business Server and appear as a contact for presence and click-to-call functionality. However, it could not register directly into the Office365 Skype for Business infrastructure in the cloud.. This means that customers who want to move their on-premise deployment of Skype for Business to Office365 still had to maintain a small instance of Skype for Business in their data centre in order to continue using the Group Series.
With the latest announcement, this will no longer be the case moving forward. With a firmware update in H2 2016, Skype for Business customers can move completely to Office365 and the 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. In addition, the firmware update in H2 Group Series will provide a native Skype for Business UI, first on the RP Touch and then later on the Group Series display itself. This will certainly help drive user adoption and provide a consistent look and feel of Skype for Business across all meeting space devices and create seamless users experiences.
2. Polycom will partner with Microsoft and co-develop several purpose-built Skype-for-Business video solutions (Project Rigel). Polycom will certify our RealPresence Trio and CX5100 to work with Project Rigel video solutions to enhance the Skype for Business experience.
A whole new generation of collaborative endpoints will be co-developed by Polycom and Microsoft to meet the entire spectrum of meeting room requirements ranging from huddle spaces to boardrooms. Code-named 'Project Rigel', this brings together the best of technologies from both Polycom and Microsoft to deliver new and industry- leading room solutions. Although exact details are not available at this time, these new solutions are designed to take advantage of the innovative Skype Meeting interface of Microsoft’s Surface Hub and combine them with the industry leading technologies offered on Polycom meeting room devices such as Polycom RealPresence Trio and the CX5100. Although Polycom will not be the only partner offering Project Rigel solutions, no other vendor will have a more complete portfolio of Skype for Business solutions that encompasses endpoints and infrastructure.
3. Polycom and Microsoft will introduce a cloud-based video-interoperability service similar to Polycom RealConnect, but hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and available to any Office 365 customer. This service offering will bring RealConnect-like workflows and experiences into the Office 365 Cloud and will be available in the US late in the year (other countries will follow in 2017).
Last but not least, Polycom RealConnect is coming to Office365! Since its creation nearly 2 years ago, Polycom’s RealConnect solution has become the de-facto standard for Skype for Business integration that other vendors have tried to emulate and follow. RealConnect makes it seamless for Skype for Business users to click to join calls from the meeting invitation and users of standards-based videoconferencing systems to dial into an Outlook scheduled call using simple numeric dialling. Additionally, Polycom Group Series endpoints can simply click to dial a scheduled meeting from its calendar for ultimate ease of use. By allowing users to follow familiar and intuitive workflows to collaborate over video on Skype for Business or with a traditional video conference system, Polycom RealConnect makes joining together in a multiparty meeting easy and seamless.
Another advantage of RealConnect is the elimination of unused resources, as both the Polycom MCU and Microsoft Skype for Business AVMCU infrastructure are being utilised simultaneously, which adds unmatched scalability and cost performance. RealConnect is currently only available for on-premise customers or hybrid customers with an on-premise Skype for Business infrastructure. However with this announcement, Office365 users will be able to utilise and consume the RealConnect experience directly from the cloud without any on-premise Polycom infrastructure. This will be available in the US late H2 2016, with the rest of the world to follow in 2017.
To summarise, these are indeed exciting announcements from two companies who have partnered together for
more than a decade and continue to grow in strength more than ever today. Check out the video to hear more on this from Polycom CEO, Peter Leav in discussion with Microsoft CVP of Skype Business Services, Zig Serafin, The both explain the unique, best in industry value proposition that both companies create in close, long-time partnership.
As the transition to Office365 gains momentum in the coming months, customers will be able to enjoy new and innovative solutions for meeting spaces while at the same time extending the value of their existing investments.
For more details please contact your nearest Polycom sales representative or reseller.
By Geoff Thomas
President, Polycom Asia Pacific
In recent times, we’ve seen some incredible collaboration innovations come to life and the nature of work rapidly change. What has been very clear is that significant advancements in ‘anywhere, anytime’ collaboration, and the evolution of workplaces and workspaces are being seen globally. Today’s customers not only have greater freedom and flexibility of choice for their collaboration needs, but open environments have replaced traditional meeting rooms with hot desks and shared spaces. With that, traditional room-based conferencing technology is progressing to service these spaces whether they are controlled, personal, or open environments. Similarly, the very nature of work teams has also changed; projects tend to scale down the number of people involved and this dynamic is driving personal, small group interactions – very often across different locations.
Organisations today have moved away from questioning the need and use for collaboration technology. Instead, it’s proliferation that is high on the list of concerns – how to equip and deploy in every space, how to scale up or down as necessary, how to account for the different modalities required, and so on. The key for vendors here is to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together and provide a customer experience that is consistent, uninterrupted, and as painless as possible.
Some requirements for effective and productive collaboration remain the same: connectivity, rich media, and access to content are a given. Here are my thoughts on what lies next for collaboration in APAC in 2016:
1. Technology will move to the centre of the room
Throughout history, natural human collaboration and interaction in most social settings are conducted ‘in the round’ – conversations around dinner tables, team huddles before a game, brainstorms to solve problems and create new ideas. However, traditional video collaboration systems have participants seated side by side at a rectangular conference table, leading to a ‘tunnel vision’ style of interaction. The far-end and in-room experience is now changing; by putting cameras and displays at the centre of a workspace, smaller groups of people can draw together into a collaborative circle. New solutions are developed with this in mind, with human-centred design for use in open space environments as well as traditional meeting rooms. They will also incorporate features such as intelligent 360-degree video, automatic muting and noise blocking, and advanced camera technologies which frame the active speaker, ensuring natural human instincts are a key consideration for improving collaboration tools.
2. Cloud-based apps will converge for simpler workflows
A recent research report by Skyhigh showed that a typical enterprise uses over 1,100 different cloud-based apps for collaboration and file sharing. The range of apps is exploding and they are being created to help support how people get work done. New solutions which stitch together workflows that go through these apps –‘cloud on cloud’ solutions so to speak – are set to rise in the future. In the real-time collaboration space, opportunities are opening up to integrate audio, video and content within workflows in the cloud, making it faster and easier to deploy to multiple customers at once. This model would eliminate the need for software distribution and remote support to customers on an individual basis. Instead, upgrades and improvements can be managed from one central data centre as a faster and continuous process.
Imagine a time when a customer can simply call up to sign up for a service that provides a full suite of collaboration and communication tools, that fully integrates with all of the other services, applications and workflows that they use already. Imagine if these services could be provisioned and integrated in minutes, whether using a shared public service or a private cloud instance; this is the speed and flexibility that customers are demanding.
3. Big data and analysis will influence collaboration strategies
How many organisations today have invested in equipment and technology that is gathering dust? Far too many, and this is an issue that impedes creating a culture of collaboration. In the not too distant future, we can expect real time analytics on the way people use (or don’t use) the tools available to them, at the click of a button. The data available will be way beyond simple metrics like conferencing minutes or room utilisation. In the world of collaboration, business leaders can analyse all activities related to how people interact: how they prefer to work, what applications and features they use, and what kind of issues were experienced and so on.
Having this type of business insight would enable customers to optimise their operations and improve productivity. Deep usage of data and its analysis will also provide necessary insight to vendors when developing new solutions – perhaps to deprecate unutilised features or introduce new functionality. For example, let’s say a call sequence requires five different strokes to be completed. What if we find that people only get halfway through that workflow and abandon it? This is an indication that the sequence is too complicated and needs to change. These are the types of situations that would truly benefit from the availability of big data.
4. End-users will expect simplicity
Today’s workers were raised on technology and require more out of the devices and technology they use than ever before. It’s no surprise then, that user expectations get higher with every new solution in the market. People look for the simplification of products and solutions in order to fully utilise them, and so, collaboration should be as natural as opening a favourite app on your smartphone. Not many people would read an instruction manual these days! Over time it is assumed that end-users will not require training to use technology as they expect it to work the way they want it to work. What would this look like? Some examples are that collaboration solutions will be built to be out of the box and set up within minutes, adding devices to an existing cloud subscription will be seamless, and more employees will have freedom to integrate enterprise applications with the technology or device they choose to work with.
5. Content will become more pervasive
Facilitating how people manage, interact, edit, produce, work with content and all associated workflows and applications is an area that has become more complex because of the plethora of content solutions available. There is a need to address complexity and fragmentation and make it easier to manage content in a high fidelity way. Content is not just a screen representation – it is the most valuable asset arising from any collaboration as it is the output which knowledge workers produce. In coming years, we will see the emergence of solutions that will allow people in organisations to more easily manage their content files and related work flow tools, and many of these will be cloud-based applications. Envision a room where every wall and every surface becomes a virtual interactive workspace - content can be taken from anywhere (your personal devices, cloud storage, the physical world) and shown anywhere. Additionally, everything seen in a physical room is also seen by participants around the world, and all of the content is fully interactive allowing teams to simultaneously work on content, save the files, and make it available to all team members to access at any time.
Collaboration matters in the workplace of the future
CIOs will remain concerned that any investment in technology will need to work today and in the future. If collaboration technology is to become adopted on a mass scale, it needs to be easy to deploy across multiple users, devices and meeting environments. Further, tools need to be intuitive and easy to handle – and as mentioned before, user expectations in terms of quality and simplicity have to be satisfied. As millennials continue to stream into the workforce, organisations will focus on meshing together the young, educated talent across the globe. To bring them together effectively and drive outcomes through collaboration, an innovative, more connected environment – the workplace of the future – needs to be created now.
[i] Cloud Adoption & Risk Report, Skyhigh, Q4 2015
To say it’s been a busy but absolutely rewarding few days would be an understatement! In a unique event held over the last two days in Singapore, a packed audience at the Innovation Roadshow 2016 has been gaining expert insights into shaping the workplace of the future. From fostering team collaboration and designing workspaces of the future, to creating universal communications with Office 365 and Skype for Business, the presentations and the energy of the audience was truly inspiring. As the roadshow heads to Bangalore, here’s a wrap up of the event in Singapore before we pass the baton…
On the first day of the Innovation Roadshow in Singapore, we were delighted to showcase the future of work at the Steelcase office, where guests could see and experience the integration between workplace design and technology. The success of this was followed by a second day at the Microsoft auditorium in Singapore’s business district.
Presided by our very own Michael Frendo, EVP of Worldwide Engineering, industry leaders from Microsoft, Steelcase and Unvorsum explored what the Workplace of the Future can look like, and shared how to integrate collaborative technology into the DNA of an organisation. We were honoured to have guest speakers Uli Gwinner, President Asia Pacific, Steelcase; Heather Emslie, APAC Senior Solution Sales Lead, Productivity Cloud, Microsoft; and Miwah Van, Managing Director and founder of Unvorsum, a consultancy firm that focuses on uniting company strategy with customers, speak at the event.
In his opening statement, Michael reiterated that in the modern workplace, people want spaces not to meet, but to collaborate and work together. He also talked about how to make organisations “sweat their assets”, an interesting way of saying “make your resources work harder!”
Our guests were also given a first-hand demonstration of our latest innovations which included Polycom
RealPresence Centro and RealPresence Trio, and integration with Skype for Business.
For more, don’t forget to follow #Innovation2016 for all the latest updates!
Polycom last week announced Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTM, simple, powerful, and cloud-ready visual communication infrastructure software priced on a simple model based on concurrent users that offers all the necessary software components for video collaboration. Hybrid cloud burst is an optional service for RealPresence Clariti that enables customers to dynamically expand their concurrent user capacity on-demand and as needed using Polycom’s cloud-based infrastructure.
Video collaboration solutions help extend visual communications across any organisation and empower users with face-to-face connections. This streamlines everyday tasks and makes every meeting a working session by enabling all participants to easily contribute content, annotations and ideas. Today, should existing network resources become insufficient to meet day to day collaboration needs, an upgrade of infrastructure is required. Certain town hall events or larger meetings could require unplanned additional resources that can create nightmares for IT. Cloud bursting is an application deployment model in which an application runs, as normal, in a private cloud or data centre, but then bursts into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes. The advantage of such a hybrid cloud deployment is that an organisation only pays for extra compute resources when they are needed.
Polycom hybrid cloud burst service is the first visual collaboration Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that provides virtualised computing resources in the cloud to enable seamless connection during spikes in video collaboration usage – whether planned or unexpected.
Cloud burst serves as a hedge, or insurance, against capacity constraints, and offers highly scalable resources that can be adjusted on-demand. This makes IaaS well-suited for workloads that are temporary, experimental or change unexpectedly. Customers only pay for usage.
Polycom's cloud burst service provides a seamless and consistent user experience, whether a call is landing on local MCU or is being escalated into Polycom IaaS MCU and helps augment and expand on premise capacity when the demand for VMRs, and virtual meeting resources can unexpectedly spike.
Our cloud burst service helps customers make this transition from traditional hardware to software and to the cloud seamlessly, allowing them to maximise use of legacy investments. It also offers customers a peace of mind when deciding to automatically scale from their video conferencing solution to the cloud when needed. A new auto scaling algorithm in Polycom RealPresence Clariti lets IT administrators to set up the auto-scaling and burst thresholds and configure the expansion MCUs in cloud. Once configured, MCUs can automatically get scaled into the cloud as the need occurs and scale down when the load subsides. This intelligent cloud-aware IaaS allows the flexibility to go beyond a fixed performance capacity model and ensures optimum use of resources by intelligently expanding the traffic load to additional resources available in cloud.
Expanding your resources into cloud without having access to real time expansion tracking, usage information and costs is a big challenge for IT administrators, and a key reason to adopt any IaaS. Polycom RealAccess, included with RealPresence Clariti, securely monitors capacity and performance, understanding utilisation patterns to drive informed decisions. RealAccess provides IT administrators with valuable analytical information about infrastructure usage in traditional on-premises environments, and now with the hybrid cloud burst service, enables IT administrators to access the statistics on cloud bursting, analyse traffic spike situations, monitor real time call records and also view billing information.
Polycom RealPresence Clariti - the first visual collaboration infrastructure software to offer cloud bursting capability, is a first step towards a hybrid visual collaboration Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and helps adapt to changing market conditions while leveraging existing investment.
We’d love to hear your feedback on Polycom RealPresence Clariti and our hybrid cloud burst service. Does this sound like the right solution for your business?
The Workplace of the Future is not a place; it’s a state of mind. It’s how you integrate collaborative technology into the DNA of your businesses to boost innovation, hone your competitive edge and drive topline and bottom line performance today and into the future. Why does collaboration matter and how does it bring real benefits and efficiencies to business?
In a unique event to be held in Singapore on January 29, Bangalore on February 4 and Sydney on February 9, industry experts will provide key insights on delivering a collaborative workplace, and share best practice and lessons learned to help you shape the workplace of the future.
What you can look forward to
Attendees will experience the latest innovations that support collaboration and meet Polycom’s EVP, Worldwide Engineering, Michael Frendo who will talk about creating a collaborative workplace and be joined by key figures from the industry:
In Singapore: Uli Gwinner, President, Asia Pacific Steelcase will discuss workspaces of the future and Heather Emslie, APAC Solution Sales Lead, Productivity Cloud for Microsoft will present on delivering universal communications with Office 365 & Skype for Business.
In Bangalore: Hear from Anjali Kelkar, APAC consultant, Applied Research & Consulting for Steelcase on how to make distances disappear in a workplace. Rupesh Gandhi, Communications Global Black Belt & O365 Landing Lead (India & SAARC) will also present at the session.
In Sydney: Steven Miller, Director, Microsoft Office Division Business Group, Microsoft will present on creating a new world of work with Office 365 and Skype for Business. Mark Hansen, Chief Information Officer with DEXUS Property Group will reveal the key trends driving the workspace of the future.
Who should attend?
IT decision makers, IT teams involved in implementing UC and collaboration solutions, solution architects and professionals involved in workplace re-design.
Limited places available – register now!
Join us for this free event and learn how you can fuel the development of true collaboration in your organisation today. Only limited places available, make sure to reserve your spot today. Click on the links to register in your respective city:
Sydney: This event is now fully booked
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – An old adage that we are starting to see health care systems and individuals around the world embody. Instead of merely treating sick people, we are all focusing more on innovative ways to integrate prevention and wellness into all aspects of people's lives, both to reduce chronic issues and hospital readmission and to address health practitioner shortages.
Technology innovation is a game changer in prevention and wellness, not just in hospitals and healthcare environments. Increasingly, mobile consumer technology is being used to promote it. Just think of the number of apps that are available on the Apple Appstore or Google Play – heart rate monitors, blood pressure trackers, activity sensors. The Apple watch even has a built-in activity app that reminds you to stand for a minute each hour! More advanced applications come in the form of digital health coaching solutions or stress management products offered by Johnson and Johnson. And there are more start-ups around the world, wanting a piece of the sustainable health market.
Healthcare is also much more social today: interactive programs such as Fitbit that help us motivate one another to stay active and healthy, support groups for conditions like depression and autism, these are all highly accessible. But with all that modern medicine has to offer, there is nothing more assuring than speaking directly to a doctor about your situation, growing a relationship with a physician, and building up a health history that is more than just a single diagnosis. So how do we keep the important personal aspects of physician relationships while taking advantage of the modern advances?
Take the following life stages, where secure and robust voice and video technologies remove physical limitations and enable new ways for flexible delivery of information across a wide variety of healthcare professionals, patient and the broader community:
Prenatal Care and Infancy
Video access and connected care support exhausted, anxious mothers and fathers when they need support most. From carefully watching developmental milestones to offering more regular, personal health screenings, connected health allows for earlier interventions for children who are not progressing physically (e.g. failure to thrive) or mentally (e.g. inability to follow sounds). With earlier intervention comes better prognoses, and video access can offer more efficient care in these circumstances.
Childhood and Adolescence
Health habits throughout childhood are directly related to lifelong health. Reaching into both homes and schools, wellness programs can nurture healthier diets, a bigger focus on exercise, more regular health screenings (even when parents are two busy or uninformed to keep these up), and even mental/emotional health check-ins during the volatile prepubescent and puberty years.
As adults become in charge of their own health and wellness, regular checkups with doctors often get pushed down the priority list, below career and family. Collaborative healthcare helps adults work key checkups and appointments into their busy schedule, remove the challenge for those who travel regularly or can’t leave their children behind, and otherwise remove many barriers to improved wellness and more productive lives.
For many elderly, the ideal of living alone and independent is preferred, but can be scary. Video conferencing is a way to offer independence while still making it easy for family, caregivers and physicians to check in regularly, monitoring whether more care or oversight should be discussed. Video communication can also work to much more quickly diagnose acute medical events, and follow up after these events, reducing the need to stay in a medical facility for a prolonged period of time.
For those of us who did not grow up as “digital natives,” much of this health and wellness care via video seems futuristic and hard to imagine. But for today’s infants and children, this type of medical communication will not only be imaginable, it will be the norm. Connected health is just one of many ways that video communication will improve our lives, but it’s one that we’ll all begin to feel in the near future. See more on how video supports and connects us at every health challenge we could possibly face.
And more on video content management in healthcare: http://community.polycom.com/t5/The-View/3-Trends-in-Video-Based-Medical-Education/ba-p/56458
In this guest post, Ray McGroarty, Polycom’s EMEA Director Industry Solutions and Market Development, discusses how collaboration technology can bridge the gap in delivering tailored financial services to customers from anywhere and everywhere.
Bank branches are slowly fading away, but demand for services they provide to communities across the country remains. It will be the delivery of those services that will change the most. Despite the advent of new technologies, such as mobile, cashless commerce and the like, bank branches were still said to be thriving in 2012.
Prime locations for branches were still highly sought after, with John Stumpf, then chairman of Wells Fargo reported in the Economist saying “location is still the most important decision maker when you choose your branch” and that people “still think that their money resides within that branch”. Banks with the largest numbers of branches attracted the largest amounts of customers and having a dense branch network meant that those banks could charge a bit more for some of the services and therefore have accelerated positive effects on profitability.
The demise of the bank branch had be announced a few times before, with Alfreda Santz of Santander reporting in the Economist article that consultants have advised them 10 years ago that they should scrap branch plans and go straight to the internet. But as Alfredo said, he had heard it all before with the rise of ATMs and credit cards, and again the withering and death of the branch had not come to pass. The United States and Europe have instead seen a steady increase in the numbers of bank branches since the new millennium despite the technological innovation which would suggest the opposite trend should be evident.
But the current prognosis for the retail bank branch has once again becoming a little gloomy, and the Economist thinks that this time it will be more serious. The digitisation of commerce has gone on elsewhere, and consumers have embraced the idea of booking travel, filing tax returns and in some cases even filing for divorce on-line. As one commentator noted, when you can handle a digital divorce, then dealing with your banking needs on-line is a doddle (British expression, meaning 'a piece of cake') . Consumers have already demonstrated an enthusiasm for moving to mobile and internet based banking without much of a push from the banks, so it is thought that this trend could accelerate as more people experience the convenience of the newer ways of doing things.
The environment in which the banks are operating now is quite different to the previous eras. Low rates and new regulations are wiping tens of billions of dollars from revenues and are tipping many branches into unprofitable operations. McKinsey reports that for some Euro banks, about half the customers would be deemed unprofitable for their banks. McKinsey also suggest that banks can remove 20-25% of their costs from well-managed, comprehensive digital transformations, so that the appetite for undertaking the work required should be high.
Now, there are some products, such as mortgages, where a bit more advice is required, compared to say just checking your balance. As Rob Markey of Bain suggested in the Economist article also, people “crave physical interactions with human beings in the branch”, so we wonder whether there is some middle ground which can satisfy the cost imperative of digitisation and the needs of some people, when discussing some products, to interact with people.
Some banks have been dealing with this conundrum by exploring the use of video enabled channels to their clients. They can increase productivity of advisors by having them operate from a “center of expertise” while satisfying clients’ requirement for instant access to advice. When the customer visits the branch for advice, they can be guided to the video booth, connected to an expert and have their query dealt with quickly and accurately. Some pilots of this new workflow have reported double digit growth in sales of targeted products when the experts and the customers can be put together at a time of the client’s choosing.
Current practice tends to be to have clients visit a branch in order to access the technology that allow them to connect to the experts and there are some advantages to this. For example, the quality of experience, voice and video, and the ease of sharing documents, are all under the control of the bank and can be assured. However the day will come when clients question the need to travel to a branch to do that as they will have a variety of video conferencing applications on their phones and tablets and will much prefer to do it from anywhere and everywhere.
So, will we still see any bank branches on our streets or shopping centres in a few years’ time? Probably yes, they are unlikely to go away completely as they have a role to play in brand awareness and growing a perception of security and reliability for some clients. But as Citigroup has shown in the concept branches in Singapore and elsewhere, the branches may look a bit different to today’s serious and substantial buildings. You may find yourself popping into a bank which is an Apple Store lookalike, because they serve better coffee than anywhere else on the street, whilst simultaneously checking your balance to see if you can afford that extra shot and blueberry muffin!
This blog is part of a series of 25 blogs that take a look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions. These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of unleashing the power of human collaboration. Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.
If you’ve seen one of the more recent videos from Polycom, entitled The Secret, you would have had a glimpse into the slick, seamless world of a high-powered executive as he powers through meetings in New York, Paris and Sao Paulo, all within the same day, yet managing to leave the office before dark. What you see in the video is a demonstration that executives can indeed “have it all”.
Of course, it’s a video created by Marketing, highlighting the benefits of video collaboration for the busy C-suite executive. But the fact that it’s a marketing video doesn’t make it any less true. The benefits are very real: forward-looking executives have been relying on video collaboration solutions like Polycom’s for years.
Polycom’s customers know this well. Collaboration doesn’t just support the needs and day-to-day operations of the C-suite. The real secret is having video collaboration permeate every team and every single employee’s daily life; and only by making it a digital work habit throughout the organisation can CEOs (and shareholders) truly reap the benefits of collaboration. Gone is the hierarchical model of old, where video conferencing solutions were only for the Board, the CEO or MDs. It’s about ‘power to the people’ now; effective and efficient collaboration allows organisations to fully realise the value of its human capital, regardless of geography.
There are different types of collaboration, namely informative, evaluative and generative collaboration. Informative collaboration is as the term suggests – individuals working together to share information or updates. This could be project management meetings, or from a CEO’s perspective, town hall or all-hands meetings. Evaluative collaboration is also an appropriate moniker where individuals work together, potentially exchanging information but primarily in order for a judgment or a decision to be made. And lastly generative collaboration, where individuals work in tandem to create something; could be an idea, a blueprint, a new innovation and so on.
Technological innovations such as HD video quality, bandwidth compression, video encryption and advanced content-sharing capabilities, have progressed to enable the different types of collaboration to occur naturally. For instance, annotating on a whiteboard during a brainstorm session can take place between participants in Mumbai, New York and London as easily as if they were in the same room (without the physical scuffle for the marker!). These innovations also address engagement concerns in video collaboration meetings. Now, voice triangulation algorithms can detect the location of an active speaker within a room and zoom in on him or her as the central speaker, whereas before, teams had to settle for listening to an anonymous voice emerging from a large meeting room.
More and more CEOs are leveraging video collaboration for themselves and their organisations to remove boundaries amongst employees and enable natural, easy collaboration to occur. By equipping employees with collaboration technology, physical teams in the workplace can connect with virtual members - distributed teams, remote workers and even contract or freelance employees in an instant, to share information, solve problems and generate ideas. This unleashes tangible value from within your business by empowering the most vital asset within the organisation – its people.
For more on how CEOs can elevate their organisations by leveraging collaboration technology, check out:
This blog is part of a series of 25 blogs that take a look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions.
These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of unleashing the power of human collaboration. Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.
Governments around the world today are faced with more types of emergencies and situations to deal with than even before - natural disasters, health hazards, social unrest, border control and acts of terrorism. Public Safety and Security agencies along with Fire and Health departments’ emergency and tactical response teams have been tasked to provide an ever-widening array of services, while simultaneously reducing operating costs and improving cross-agency collaboration. To respond to these requirements, they have invested in technologies such as video conferencing and streaming to address such challenges. This is the case of Australia’s NSW Fire Service, Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the US National Guard or NATO among many others. Today, Law Enforcement, Health and Emergency Services, Fire and Rescue, Paramilitary forces highly depend on such real-time audio and video communications tools at all stages of the emergency management process.
Risk mitigation, awareness and training programs are necessary to making sure responders and citizens alike are better prepared and know how to react in any situation. Video conferencing and streaming technologies are used to host daily briefings and meetings at a distance, discuss emergency plans, and educate staff and citizen with video-based learning and communications. It allows emergency teams to stay updated on the latest tools, techniques and procedures. This type of staff training, emergency planning meetings as well as briefings and debriefings, can be done at a distance, using video collaboration and/or immersive telepresence solutions. These measures save time and costs, improve knowledge transfer and retention resulting in higher levels of preparedness for responders and citizens.
Video surveillance allows the monitor and capture of any event or situation taking place simply by using stationary security cameras, in-vehicle cameras, wearable cameras as well as smart phone cameras. In the near future, emergency calls to dispatch centres will be made using video calling and other multi-media technologies. Citizens will be able to notify authorities about any crime or emergency in action. Law enforcement personnel will be able to see and determine, from a distance, if an intruder or suspect is armed. Emergency operators handling a fire call can see the precise location of a blaze to better direct firefighters and potentially save crucial seconds. Citizens who lack the ability to speak can still make the nature of their emergency known, by showing operators what is happening using their phone-cams. Streaming video will also be linked with GPS coordinates to help responders locate victims or offenders.
Is a fire that has been called in merely a brush fire, or is it a chemical fire? What other types of agencies need to be called in to assist? Those who are equipped with the most up-to-date and detailed information are able to collaborate in a unified manner with others involved, to respond more effectively. Mobile video collaboration and immersive telepresence solutions help everyone involved better understand an emergency situation while it is happening. When both time and accurate information are of the essence, video collaboration is a mission-critical tool to handling any crisis effectively. Emergency responders who can see for themselves what is happening — even if they aren’t physically present — are better armed with knowledge than those who are reporting from other sources. They can achieve situational awareness, which allows them to better plan and respond swiftly.
After an emergency, initial care and early triage can benefit from accurate communication in the field. It is made possible when all volunteers and professionals involved can collaborate in real time via video. Valuable evidence can be collected and preserved through video, which can help determine the cause of a crisis, methods for its possible prevention and ways to improve future response. Government officials armed with real-time information can better coordinate an ongoing response to any disaster or public security situation. This includes transporting victims to available medical service providers, arranging for the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure or coordinating the re-establishment of public works. In the event of a lengthy pandemic or other major disaster, governments deploy video conferencing technology at all levels of their organisation to ensure Continuity of Operations or and provide essential services to communities in affected areas.
Natural and man-made disasters will not go away any time soon. Government agencies need to arm themselves with the right technology to be better prepared, detect, respond and recover from any situation more efficiently than ever before. Video conferencing and video content management solutions have been widely recognised by world-class emergency services teams. Polycom is proud to continuously contribute to the improvement of emergency and crisis management around the planet. Our innovation in voice and video technologies for the past 25 years, enable responders and rescue teams to enjoying the highest quality of voice and video communications at the lowest bandwidth whether on-base or in the field. With Polycom at your side, you can enhance operational efficiency and sustainability as well as enable rapid and informed decision-making for greater mission success.
This blog is part of a series of 25 blogs that take a look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions.These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of unleashing the power of human collaboration. Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.
A guest post from Luke Sabatini, Polycom's Asia Pacific Corporate Communications Coordinator
In a global first for Polycom – we celebrated around the world with a 25 hour long video call to celebrate our silver jubilee (25 years). On the same day, Polycom unveiled innovative collaboration solutions at an exclusive customer event in New York focused on advancing the workplace of the future globally. Polycom’s President and Chief Executive Officer , Peter Leav was quoted as saying, “Today, we are taking a quantum leap in achieving our vision of unleashing the power of human collaboration”. This is how we celebrated in Asia Pacific. (#Polycom25)
First stop… Australia and New Zealand
In APAC, we kicked off celebrations in Sydney with Geoff Thomas (APAC President) and James Brennan (APAC Director of Solutions Marketing) welcoming our guests. We had guests attending Polycom @25 (P@25) events in our Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Auckland offices dialled into Sydney to see the unveiling of Polycom’s ground breaking solutions. Guests in attendance at all our offices were excited to see and hear about the Polycom RealPresence Trio and Polycom RealPresence Centro. As part of the P@25 celebrations, long time Polycom customer, ReefHQ helped us celebrate by taking our guests on a Virtual reef excursion of their world largest living coral reef aquarium located in Townsville, North Queensland via Polycom video. As Australia and New Zealand handed over to our next stop on our P@25 celebration, the Sydney team placed a piece of coral and a 25 year message into the time capsule and handed it over to our next location.
Next stop… Tokyo, Japan
The second location for our APAC P@25 celebration was Tokyo, Japan. We had a full room of customers and partners in our Tokyo Executive Business Centre, eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the new Polycom solutions and viewing the live demos. Our Tokyo team welcomed our guests with a Kagami-biraki ceremony, a ceremony performed at celebratory events in which the lid of the sake barrel is broken open by a wooden mallet and the drink is served to everyone present. Polycom customer, Oak Lawn Marketing shared how they have used Polycom’s collaborative solutions to stay one step ahead of competitors. As Tokyo’s P@25 session came to a close, our team placed a Kagami-biraki gown and sake into the Japan time capsule and handed over to our next stop…
Next stop… Singapore
With the help of Polycom’s RealPresence Mobile, extending rich video collaboration to your mobile device, we took a live broadcast from four different locations in Singapore. As this year is Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, we took the audience through ‘Old Singapore’ (historic sites such as Boat Quay, the Padang, and Raffles Landing Point) and wrapped up at locations which showcased modern, ‘New Singapore’ (Merlion, Marina Bay Barrage) to demonstrate how the country has transformed.
Giving back to the community was at the heart of Singapore celebrations. A team from the Singapore office spent an afternoon at the Willing Hearts soup kitchen, which is 100% run by volunteers, helping to prepare thousands of meals for the next day. We concluded the Singapore session with a virtual handover of the time capsule by Chua I-Pin (SEA Managing Director) over to the team in India. Items included postcards of Singapore’s current skyline, a Merlion souvenir and an SG50 memento. With glasses of champagne in hand, I-Pin then led the whole team in a traditional Singaporean ‘yum seng’ toast, before handing over to our next stop…
Next stop… Bangalore and Hyderabad, India
Minhaj Zia (Managing Director, India & SAARC) kicked off the India’s P@25 celebrations by catching the handover capsule from the Singapore team. The theme of our India P@25 event was the ‘true spirit of India’. A chorus from Bangalore sung a medley of traditional Indian songs, starting with the national song of India followed by songs of diverse languages like Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu, finishing with the national anthem. Interactive demos were held here too to showcase the new solutions. We concluded the Indian and APAC P@25 celebrations by handing off to Moscow, Russia for celebrations to continue in Europe and North America.
This historic announcement and following P@25 celebrations sent our social pages into overdrive, sharing where Polycom has come and what the future holds. The workplace of the future is now and Polycom is leading the way with these latest industry transforming solutions. It’s an exciting time for Polycom and as you can see by the celebrations on social (#Polycom25), everyone is on board!
Last week, Polycom unveiled several new collaboration solutions that will transform the workplace as we know it today. In a live event in New York and delivered via webcast around the world, the company announced breakthrough collaboration experiences that place people at the centre of collaboration. If you missed this live event, now's your chance to catch up!
Presiding at the event, Peter Leav, Polycom's President and Chief Executive Officer described the launch as a quantum leap in achieving the company's vision of unleasing the power of human collaboration: “As we celebrate our 25th year of innovation and leadership, we are announcing breakthrough collaboration experiences that uniquely place people at the heart of collaboration enabling them to work better, smarter and more efficiently. We are delivering the workplace of the future today.”
The event featured:
This was an event not to be missed - make sure to watch the on-demand replay.
Meanwhile, here's a brief recap of the new solutions that were announced:
Four new solutions for meeting spaces of all sizes:
Polycom® RealPresence Trio™, the first smart hub for group collaboration that transforms the iconic three-point conference phone into a voice, content-sharing and video system that can fit into any team environment.
Polycom® RealPresence Centro™, the industry’s first collaboration solution purpose-built to put people at the centre of collaboration. RealPresence Centro was built with instinctual human behaviour in mind – people feel more comfortable communicating and collaborating in the round. Polycom’s patented 360-degree voice and video technology automatically tracks the speaker, while also showing the entire meeting space on the same screen.
Polycom® RealPresence Debut™, brings enterprise grade video collaboration to the huddle room with a focus on
simplicity and affordability.
An easy, elegant design that enables high quality visual collaboration for huddle and
smaller room environments, as well as for small or medium sized businesses with limited IT resources.
Polycom® RealPresence® Medialign™, a turnkey Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series solution for multiple work environments - Polycom RealPresence Medialign enables consistent collaboration solutions across the enterprise without the need to alter the room in any way. RealPresence Medialign has a modern, all-in-one design and is the only solution that features Polycom’s industry leading and patented voice, content-sharing/management and video technology.
Software updates for better ease of use and increased adoption:
Polycom® Concierge, the industry’s first enterprise software that automatically connects to personal devices, including personal PCs and smartphones to Polycom solutions.
The Polycom Concierge technology enables user devices to be at the centre of meeting control, wirelessly connecting to Polycom solutions including RealPresence Group Series, RealPresence Medialign, RealPresence Medialign, Polycom® Open Telepresence Experience® rooms and RealPresence Immersive StudioTM systems
New solutions for Microsoft Office 365 environments:
Polycom also announced additional new solutions for Microsoft Office 365 environments. The industry leading portfolio of Polycom® VVX® business media phones will be the first phones to support and interoperate with the forthcoming cloud voice service offering as part of Microsoft Office 365.
Chua I-Pin was appointed Managing Director, Polycom South East Asia in May 2015. In this Q&A, we discuss the key drivers of collaboration technology, vital considerations for customers investing in video, and what the workplace of the future has in store for the region.
What have you learnt in your first 100 days in this role?
What inspires me the most is that our technology applies far beyond meeting rooms. We have come so far in applying collaboration technology in the most innovative ways to enable transformations in workspace, experience and workflow in multiple verticals such as education, healthcare, and manufacturing.
The possibilities are several: deploying video links in ambulances for rapid diagnosis and streaming live images back to a doctor in A&E; video kiosks at banking and retail institutions to improve customer service and utilisation of service staff; collaborating with specialists in manufacturing facilities across the world for technical advice and troubleshooting. Video collaboration is so much more than enabling people to meet face-to-face – the technology has evolved so much to transform processes and solve business issues for maximum productivity.
I’ve also learned that true market leaders are dedicated to continuous innovation. As a company with 25 years of innovation behind us, Polycom’s focus and technology has always been on ease of ease and seamless integration, and I am excited about what’s coming next as we introduce the next evolution of collaboration solutions on October 7.
What is driving the adoption of video and collaboration technology in South East Asia?
South East Asia (SEA) is a large and diverse region made up of both developed and emerging economies. We see that the latter in particular adopting a leapfrogging approach to technological development by implementing state of the art network infrastructure to improve bandwidth capabilities. Of course this is a huge contributing factor to implementing enterprise video collaboration networks.
I believe another driver to adoption is cultural. In Asia, a lot of communication can be said to be non-verbal and is reliant on visual cues – “What is not spoken is as important as what is spoken.” Therefore, conducting face-to-face meetings is very important, but perhaps not always possible due to time or distance constraints. A voice conversation would not be able to communicate to the other party what is the real message, whereas a video conference is the best compromise to being there in person.
Further, there is rapidly growing interest, uptake, and application of video collaboration in various vertical industries including government, healthcare, and education. The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand is a stellar example of how video collaboration is being integrated into daily workflow, to respond to emergencies and connect doctors and specialists in time-critical situations. Another great example is from the Indonesia Open University (Universitas Terbuka), where 38 widely dispersed campuses across the country are connected with video. This has helped improve internal communications throughout the many regions, and extended education programmes to students in remote areas.
It’s these real-life stories and the proven benefits that are also influencing organisations in the region to accelerate business transformation through technology.
Which market segments have the greatest growth potential for Polycom in SEA?
SEA is made up of over 600 million people with markets at various levels of maturity. The businesses in this region are currently faces a number of financial and operational challenges: Currency fluctuations, sliding exchange rates, companies implementing travel freeze on staff and so on. But in situations like these, video conferencing is a counter-cyclical technology, and has a big role in maintaining productivity and business continuity in the face of budget cuts and organisational change.
I believe we have a unique value proposition for every country in SEA and opportunities depending on the use cases. In Indonesia for example, the President himself has slashed travel budgets in a cost-cutting exercise and is advocating the use of video conferencing instead. Similarly, the government in Thailand is also looking to boost development on infrastructure, and this presents a great opportunity for us. Myanmar also is an emerging market with huge potential where the technology landscape is changing rapidly – the growth of mobile coverage even in rural areas, and increasing broadband access can help bring more people online. As a result, the rapid development of e-citizen and e-government services is only a matter of time and enterprise collaboration will become a critical business tool in this space.
There is also still big growth potential in a mature economy like Singapore, with the presence of large multinational companies. With their many offices and overseas facilities, collaboration is very necessary. There are also a lot of government initiatives here which promote a flexi-work culture and encourage mothers to return to work, and of course collaboration technology is key to enabling a connected workforce and work-life flexibility.
The industrial changes and talent flow within the region are also pretty interesting; Vietnam is taking a large part of the pie from China by forging ahead as a major manufacturing hub, and I believe Myanmar will follow in the same steps. With AEC 2015 fast coming to fruition, there will be a greater flow of good and labour, and so no organisation can afford to be isolated nor can human capital be restricted to one place.
What do you think companies need to do to embrace collaboration as a company-wide business practice?
When organisations invest in collaboration technology, it’s not just a top-down approach to embracing the technology further, but also across the chain of promoting its use as a critical business tool among employees. Video technology is unfortunately still not being utilised to its fullest potential and is seen by many to be a ‘board room’ function, reserved only for C-suite executives. It is a technology that may only be used for monthly events or on a scheduled basis but is not being adopted as a mainstream method of communication.
In our customer meetings, we frequently find that most employees are not responsible for just one office or territory any more, they have responsibilities across the region and frequent communication is and should be a daily part of business. Again, the culture of visual cues is required – it helps engage employees better and builds relationships, encourages more transparency, and minimise the risks of miscommunication. Likewise, customers, partners, or suppliers are able to benefit more out of a video call than a voice call. Scenarios like these are where video collaboration as a culture needs to be reinforced among all employees, particularly when the technology is more intuitive and accessible across multiple devices and workspaces.
I do believe however, that a top down push is gradually taking place, particularly driven by the CFO, encouraging people to reduce travel and consider alternatives – and technology is the greatest enabler in building the workplace of the future. We aren’t saying that video collaboration completely replaces travel. What we are trying to say is that for routine meetings, it makes more sense.
What does the future workplace look like for people in SEA and how is Polycom enabling this?
The concept of Workplace of the Future is at its most basic form the capability to work any place, any time, on any device. This means traditional office spaces shifting towards collaboration spaces, and technology becoming more intuitive and integrated into daily activities and workflow.
What does this mean for organisations in SEA? Well, essentially it means a more productive, collaborative future. Traffic remains a major issue in large cities like Jakarta, where 2-3 hour commutes are not unheard of, resulting in massive loss of productivity. Further, recruiting the right talent and specialists can often be challenging – and this should not be confined to a particular geography any more. The workplace of the future is not a physical location, and by this principle there should be a productivity-driven approach to work rather than just being measured by the number of hours spent on a job or at an office.
Our technology allows companies and employees to do this – via desktop, mobile, and cloud solutions. More importantly, video collaboration is a visual experience – and if that experience is not an excellent one, people will lose faith in the technology.
We have invested a lot in R&D to bring solutions to market which enables the future workplace, thereby providing true to life experiences beyond technology. Some of these solutions include Polycom’s RealPresence® Immersive Studio™, Acoustic Fence, EagleEye™ Producer, and video solutions for huddle rooms and small workspaces – all these are hallmarks of a company that is committed to continuous innovation.
What advice do you have for customers considering an investment in collaboration technology?
There are four key areas I would ask customers to look out for:
How has video collaboration impacted your life?
I have worked across SEA for over 15 years. At the peak of it, I travelled 45 weeks per year for many years, resulting in my family and I even shifting home to live near the airport! Video has definitely cut down my need to catch a flight for meetings every week, but I don’t find myself compromising my work rate just because I travel less. The technology allows me to be as much or even more effective, because I spend less time on the road and more time collaborating. Another great benefit is that I get to meet with my regional sales team on a daily basis and get to see everyone’s faces when they commit revenue numbers!
Based in Singapore, Shirish Joshi is an experienced channel leader, who brings over 20 years’ industry experience in managing partner ecosystems in the region. In this Q&A we discuss Polycom's partner relationships and how the channel will play a pivotal role in enabling the workplace of the future.
What has been most important to you in this role?
In my role and focus area of channel sales, a couple of things are top of mind for me.
Being able to influence and work closely with the field to add value and relevance to partners and customers. This sometimes means going back to basics and addressing key criteria: do we have the right coverage in market? Do we have the right channel partner landscape to protect and grow our businesses in each country? Have we established a robust cadence of business planning and reviews with our focus set of partners?
Conversely, being adaptable and willing to change is also important. Asia Pacific is a very diverse region and each of the markets is unique. We cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ strategy. Instead, it is a collection of micro-strategies and local plans within the overall APAC strategy, which address the unique opportunities and challenges in individual markets. How we work with our channel, the required landscape, our channel programmes and strategies, therefore also need to be relevant in this context.
How is Polycom evolving to better serve and work with partners?
At Polycom, our entire business flows through our Channel, hence it has always been at the centre of our GTM strategies. Over the years, we have nurtured a very good set of Channel partners, who have invested in Polycom technology, and are able to sell and support our products and solutions.
The technology market landscape is changing, and Polycom solutions have also evolved to address these changes. Over the years video has become pervasive and is accessible in multiple forms – from boardroom and desktop to your choice of device and workspace. We have an extensive portfolio of solutions – comprising equipment, services, and software – and a variety of delivery models such as on-premise or cloud services. Our collaboration solutions and innovations enable the workplace of the future, addressing the requirements of varied organisation sizes and verticals, evolving trends and market conditions; all of these present opportunities for Polycom and our partner ecosystem.
To sell and support these, we work closely with partners who are leaders in the technology space and we provide resources to help them evolve and adapt to changing market trends. Additionally we look to recruit new partners to strengthen our market presence and reach.
Polycom also focuses on helping our partners develop the market and our business through knowledge transfer. This means growing the skillsets of existing channel partners, as well as allowing newer partners (such as new cloud partners, managed services partners) to enter the ecosystem.. In this context, we continue to increase our relevance to our partners, and also support and enable partners who are relevant to our business. We have spent a significant amount of time improving processes and resources such as our partner portal and training offered via Polycom University. We also continue to introduce new tools and partner specialisations, and engaging with partners more closely to align priorities and objectives to ensure we achieve growth.
What role will channel partners play in the workplace of the future?
The ‘workplace of the future’ is already here; our customers are already using Polycom enterprise grade collaboration solutions in innovative and impactful ways in different industry verticals, such as healthcare, education, and manufacturing. We already engage with customers who have derived benefits from our technology and now have the opportunity to take this mainstream. Our partner ecosystem will continue to play a pivotal role in addressing these opportunities and scaling up the business. To sell in this space, our partners must change the way they currently sell – moving away from our traditional sales pitch of savings on travel time and costs, to showing customers how they can use Polycom solutions to transform their organisations and solve business issues – such as time to market and improving operating margin – through better collaboration. We need partners to be trusted advisors – digging deep to truly explore and understand a customer’s business issues and offer the technology options and solutions which are right for them.
On the practice front, partners equipped with advanced skills and competencies offered through our training and specialisation certifications will do better in understanding Polycom technology and offering the right solutions. Examples of such expertise include Microsoft and API competencies, virtualisation, hosted voice, managed services and expertise in integration and interoperability, and I urge our partner community to avail themselves of all Polycom training resources available.
What are some of the ways Polycom is addressing the changing landscape of technology sales?
Technology business models are being transformed, and the UC and video collaboration sector are being equally impacted. There is a visible shift from hardware to software, and a shift from software to cloud-based and as-a-service solutions. The move towards consumption-based and pay as you grow models imply that vendors need to work with customers to increase adoption rates.
Technology is no longer about cool features, but more about interoperability, and the user experience. It is about ensuring that customers are successful in using our technology solutions to solve real business problems and realise real business outcomes. In addition, we see a big shift towards companies seeking more mobile and virtualised models, which use voice, video and content tools to fuel productivity and a highly integrated user experience. This has prompted a new way for people to deploy, measure and use technology. In this context, collaboration technology needs to fit into the workflow (as against creating new workflows to fit the technology) and Polycom is in a great position to address this.
Since the very beginning, Polycom as a company and our innovations have been about unleashing the power of human collaboration. Our latest innovations and solutions unveiled this year – such as RealPresence® Group Convene™ and RealPresence Web Suite – have been developed with the workplace of the future in mind, incorporating experience, workspace, and workflow. We remain focused on continuous innovation and bringing revolutionary new collaboration solutions to market.
How has collaboration technology changed your life?
I have been in the technology industry for many years, and video conferencing is not new to me. However, since joining Polycom, collaboration technology and video in particular, are now an integral part of my life. Joining a video meeting is so simple; I can literally work effectively - anywhere, anytime, from any device, and High Definition audio and video quality means it’s as good as being at any meeting in person.
In my role, I need to interact closely with my global counterparts, and video allows me to transcend time zones. The benefits of video collaboration has even impacted my personal life - when travel is required, the technology allows me to be close to my family wherever I am. While I am based in Singapore, my two children live in New Zealand and Australia, with collaboration technology and being able to speak face-to-face, we don’t really feel the distance.
Most international organisations with high standards understand that delivering an exceptional experience for all customers is key. As CIO of Hawkins Group, New Zealand’s largest privately-owned construction and infrastructure company, Hannes Van Zyl has had plenty of experience with raising the customer satisfaction bar.
The strategy: implement the latest industry innovations and best of breed IT solutions. This commitment to excellence has led Hawkins Group to serve a variety of international customers and concurrently manage large-scale projects across continents. In this guest post, Hannes shares his key strategies for ensuring a satisfied customer.
Hawkins IT needs are vast and many. We work in places where typically people aren’t located yet, which means our biggest problem is getting effective communication to the places where we are doing construction work.
Our overall goal is to build better communities, so we’ve come to understand best practices across the board. We recently upgraded the Christchurch Airport Terminal, converted Auckland’s diesel train network to electrical power, and built new business and IT learning facilities over the transport hub at the Manukau Institute of Technology. We are part of New Zealand schools’ first private-public partnership for two of its schools in Hobsonville. Currently, we are working on Nadi Airport in Fiji, the first large scale roading flyover in Papua New Guinea, and two geothermal power stations in Indonesia.
So, what does IT mean for Hawkins? It means efficiency, it means effectiveness, and it means a better gain from a profit perspective.
Here is an overview of the importance of IT within our company, what solutions we chose to implement as part of our recent technology upgrade, and the ROI we have seen to date. Keep in mind we are just six months into our journey.
Delivery of anywhere, anytime communication was key
Our biggest problem is getting effective communication to the places where we are doing construction work. Everything we do is communications based and we place enormous value on being able to deliver effective, best class communication within our organisation. To us, face-to-face interaction can enhance your team’s rapport and collaboration capabilities, which directly influences the customer experience. If your team can effectively manage projects, it’s a means to ensuring quality, and subsequently, customer happiness.
Within Hawkins, IT has played a key role in improving our ability to maintain competitive advantage and deliver great client outcomes. Hawkins implemented Polycom solutions and Microsoft Lync Enterprise Voice across the business, which included a voice and video platform. With Polycom solutions, we were given the tools to support a more efficient and flexible working environment, including improved face-to-face communications between our teams based around New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.
Video collaboration delivers greater reach and operational efficiency
We have significantly upgraded our video collaboration capabilities. We integrated Polycom and Microsoft solutions across our international offices, which has enabled us immediate global reach between staff and the variety of projects we manage.
At the outset, we rolled out the Lync system (now Skype for Business) first. This ensured people understood how to use it and get the best value out of it. Then we went looking for a video system that natively integrated with Lync. That’s where the Polycom Lync Room Systems came into play. It’s just opened up the whole integration thing 100% for us. It makes it so simple for users to use. There is not multiple bits and pieces users need to know and understand in order to fire up the software in the right sequence. It’s now a simple case of walking into a room, hitting a button and the whole system comes to life. The use of video within our company has skyrocketed with the capability that has been implemented through the Lync Room Systems. You have to book ahead to get room access.
Smarter collaboration linked to business workflow delivers strong return on investment
Real time on-screen collaboration via face to face video conferencing has aided our projects greatly. The biggest benefits have been the efficiency gains from better collaboration.
From a customer perspective, working at the customer sites, the Microsoft Lync implementation has opened up a complete new avenue for us. The guys use IM quite a bit and there’s the enterprise voice side that goes with your device. So wherever you take your device you have got full communication capability to link back to the mothership at any point in time. So LRS and the whole Lync system partnered with the Polycom technology has just opened up huge capabilities for us within Hawkins.
We no longer need to ship large documents between people, which has been a major time saver. Notes can be easily sent to attendees post-meetings. Travel time has been decreased as we can use Lync to work together from different locations. Communication and awareness across the project teams has greatly improved.
By having better visibility of staff availability, and communication at everyone’s fingertips, employees have been able to send relevant information to each other much quicker. Training has been improved significantly, and experts can remotely train users through screen-sharing capabilities.
By adopting forward-thinking video conferencing solutions, conversations have been a whole lot easier and a lot more cost efficient, and those savings extend to voice over IP. We were already paying for the data links, and it made fiscal sense to use that same infrastructure to handle our voice side of things as well.
Improved workplace experience is driving people engagement and retention
Video conferencing capability through the Polycom systems gave us a whole new environment and a whole new tool in our toolbox to provide face-to-face communication. We were able to engage people a lot more so that they felt part of the business, and not remote, as many of our people are when they provide project-based work. The room systems have been an absolute eye-opener for most of the organisation. Now people feel connected. They feel part of the organisation. They can share content in meetings regardless of where they are, whether any part of New Zealand or anywhere in the world for that matter.
That especially matters from a customer perspective. We can integrate and engage with our customers a whole lot better. We work, for instance, with customers in Japan now. Before we had communication issues, and had to fly people across for meetings, with a lot of cost involved. Now it’s all done through video conferencing.
From better connectivity, to a reduction in our toll-spend, we could call our communication strategy a huge win. Polycom solutions have accelerated our journey to enable an activity-based workplace.
Building a business of the future
Technology is certainly creating a platform for us to build a business of the future. What we have seen in the marketplace is that we now have people wanting to work at Hawkins knowing that we are highly technology enabled. The technology has certainly had a great knock on effect for us in not only retaining staff but attracting new staff too.
We can now communicate more effectively, spend less time gathering information, and travel has been greatly reduced. Overall, the resulting efficiency and productivity gains are helping us deliver much better value for our clients, and demonstrates the Hawkins commitment to continually delivering successful projects.
So it has certainly transformed the way we do business within Hawkins and I’m looking forward to a much bigger transition when people really start getting comfortable with the technology.
A guest post from Brennon Kwok, Polycom Asia Pacific’s regional UC Solution Architect for Microsoft and recognised by Microsoft as a Lync MVP:
Since the release of Skype for Business in May earlier this year, the premier UC platform from Microsoft has seen ever increasing adoption and usage in enterprises both large and small. Many companies already on Lync 2013 are already in the midst of upgrading to Skype for Business while others who have no existing UC infrastructure are eager and planning to adopt the platform in the very near future.
At the same time, room-based video conferencing systems have been evolving over the past few years to allow for interoperability with Microsoft’s UC platform since the early days of OCS, Lync and now Skype for Business. With each new release Microsoft has made significant improvements to voice and video conferencing capabilities, and consequently it is no surprise that many room-based video conferencing (VC) vendors have also been continually investing in R&D to ensure interoperability. One of the key tenets of why Skype for Business is so successful in the market place is its ease of use. User adoption has been and continues to be vital to success of any UC platform. Users simply love the look and feel of Skype for Business, it’s ease of use and intuitive interface, click-to-call, drag-and-drop conferencing, and more importantly the ability to schedule meetings using familiar tools such as Outlook.
In fact, every video collaboration vendor now makes the claim of being interoperable with Skype for Business; so that leaves customers asking: how do we differentiate between them? Are they all the same?
An intelligent guess would certainly be “No”. If we dive deeper into how the various video collaboration vendors actually interoperate with Skype for Business, we see many different approaches and options available. So while every VC system claims interoperability, not all do so in a way that preserves the user experience of Skype for Business that users are already familiar with.
That’s where Polycom RealConnect™ for Skype for Business solution differs from other approaches. The RealConnect solution simplifies the scheduling workflow as it leverages native Microsoft Outlook calendaring and enables intuitive one click-to-dial experience for both Skype for Business users and videoconference system users.
To learn more, watch this 'Connecting Skype for Business in your video environment' on-demand webinar.
Come meet with us at the following events to learn more about RealConnect and how Polycom can provide you the collaboration solutions which are right for your business:
HINZ, Christchurch 19th – 22nd October
Ignite Australia, Gold Coast 17th – 20th November
A guest post by James Ware, Senior Manager, Alliances & Cloud Services
‘We are in the (enter business type here) business; we are not in the business of running data centres.’
Sound familiar? This is a statement that we are hearing with increasing frequency from customers. Evidence would point to Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) customers being early adopters of technology, and cloud service adoption is no different. We lead the way, with many in the ANZ market rapidly adopting a cloud-first strategy. While there are plenty of organisations that still run infrastructure on their own hardware and manage their own data centres, we’re continuing to see an upward trend (that hockey stick effect) of organisations that have decided to outsource to cloud service providers in order to better focus on their core business.
And then there are organisations that only wish to outsource some services, and who want to retain the rest. The fact is that customers are looking for options and as vendors we need to provide customers with consumption choices. There are multiple cloud consumption models, and services can be provided from a private cloud, public cloud or utilising a hybrid solution.
Benefits of cloud video services
It wasn’t too long ago that the very idea of a video conference was challenging. We have come so far by removing the ‘clunkiness’ involved in hosting or participating in a video call – the IT intervention to initiate the conference, the complexity, the poor connections, and the costs involved were just some of the issues.
Video has become natural and intuitive as both a social and enterprise tool for collaborating. With users connecting visually via a multitude of devices and environments, moving to cloud-based services was only a matter of time.
Here are 4 key benefits of moving to the cloud:
The Polycom Advantage
Customers are looking to Polycom and our partners for advice on moving applications and services into the cloud.
A major consideration for Polycom and our customers is that not only should we be offering consumption choice, but for successful end user adoption of collaboration services, maintaining a consistent experience and integrated workflow is critical to success. Integrating cloud video into existing workflows, and providing a consistent experience across traditional video conferencing devices or emerging devices such as tablets, desktops and phones is important. Polycom has built these considerations into the design of various consumption offerings and support services.
Choosing a vendor with experience at all stages of the video evolution matters most; they need to offer thought leadership and more importantly choice. Polycom is very pleased to be working with the partner community that delivers a variety of services, so whether you are looking for vanilla or cookie cut solutions, we have a nice selection on the menu.
Polycom will be present at multiple events for the remainder of 2015. Come and talk to us, we would be very interested to learn about your journey to the cloud and equally provide you with some excellent options should you want to get a taste of cloud based video services.
Come meet with us at the following events to learn more about how Polycom can provide you the collaboration solutions which are right for your business: -
Integrate 2015, Melbourne 25th – 27th August 2015
Microsoft APC, Gold Coast 31st August – 3rd September 2015
Ignite NZ , Auckland 1st – 4th September
Telstra Vantage, Melbourne 22nd – 23rd September
HINZ, Christchurch 19th – 22nd October
Ignite Australia, Gold Coast 17th – 20th November
▪ Infographic: 4 Great Myths About Cloud Services
▪ Video: Pay as you Grow: Polycom’s Cloud Strategy Empowers
At our recent ‘Are you ready for Skype for Business’ webinar, our experts fielded several questions from the attendees which covered integration within existing UC environments, impact on current telephony, video and content sharing solutions, and how you can protect your current collaboration infrastructure investments. In this blog post, we feature some of the most frequently asked questions at the webinar. Read on to find out the answers…
Q: We are a small/medium NGO. I would like to know more about Office 365 and voice as a complete multisite PABX replacement. Timeframe for start of pilot / rollout is 6-18 months.
Microsoft is planning to rollout PSTN Voice for Office 365 multi-tenant in the US this year with other countries to follow in 2016 and beyond. The exact dates for availability in ANZ are still not confirmed. Polycom VVX phones will support Office365 multi-tenant in Q3 of this year. Skype4B Server supports hybrid topology where users hosted online can leverage on-premise PSTN infrastructure for Enterprise Voice
Q: Can Polycom software end points talk directly using IP / SIP protocol without relying on Lync/ Skype / Polycom infrastructures?
Polycom Room Systems eg RealPresence Group Series can enable direct calling via IP address without SIP registrar. However, in most environments the room system will register with a SIP server such as Lync/Skype4B server or Polycom DMA7000. Polycom RealPresence Desktop software can be used without Polycom Infrastructure as long as the software is licensed for local individual use.
Q: Are you aware of a roadmap for the CX Series IP Phones to update the OS from the Microsoft Lync Phone Edition to Skype for Business Phone Edition?
At this stage there are no plans for Microsoft to update the OS on the LPE devices but they are supported with Skype4B server.
Q: If a regular Skype client is installed on a PC can you log in with your Skype for Business credentials?
The Skype consumer client cannot be used to login to Skype4B server and vice versa. They remain separate and independent client and server software
Q: Can you talk about Polycom's PTZ Front-of-Room camera option which automatically zooms in on the active speaker, which can be used (with HDMI adapter) with the CX8000 Lync Room System? Will this be a packaged option to order with the CX8000?
This is possible using a video bridge such as Vaddio but we do not provide it as a packaged option when ordering the CX8000. The Vaddio bridge can be purchased separately from the appropriate resellers
Q: Will Enterprise Voice be available for Skype for Business soon?
Enterprise Voice for on-premise Skype4B is part of the product. Enterprise Voice for Skype4B hybrid is possible where users hosted online leverage on-premise PSTN infrastructure for EV. Skype4B O365 multi-tenant is not yet available at this stage. Contact your Microsoft representative for further details.
Q: What does Cisco side equipment need in order to connect to our Skype for Business?
Skype4B provides a new Video Interop Server (VIS) role that can allow P2P and conference calls between certain Cisco EPs and Skype4B clients. CUCM v10.5 or higher is required and Cisco EPs with TC7.0 or higher are required.
Q: I have a client with 51 Endpoints + RMX1800- 40-720p, looking to integrate Skype for Business channels. How will this be possible?
This is achievable using Polycom RealConnect technology, which allows multiple bi-directional video and content streams to be send/receive between Skype4B clients and standard room Endpoints. Contact your Polycom representative for more details.
Q: If I currently have Polycom DMA, CMA and RMX 1500, as well as RealPresence Access Director, which only serves for H.323 call, what additional requirements are needed to setup in order to link with Skype video calls?
Enable SIP on the Polycom RPP components and implement Polycom RealConnect technology, which allows multiple bi-directional video and content streams to be send/receive between Skype4B clients and standard room Endpoints. Contact your Polycom representative for more details.
Q: I do not see the Round Table 100 listed in the Lync/Skype4B solutions catalogue. When will this be updated?
Round Table 100 will be available in APAC in Q4 2015. The catalogue will be updated once the product is officially available for purchase.
Q: Video calls from Polycom VVX 500/600 are not possible with Lync/Skype4B client. What is the plan to make this happen?
Video calls between VVX500/600 and Lync/Skype4B clients is planned a future release of VVX firmware targeted for Q4 2015
Q: It seems that most vendors on the market are moving towards USB device for the meeting room devices. Will Polycom also move in this direction away from IP device?
We cannot disclose anything specific at this stage but Polycom R&D has been looking into these types of devices for some time already and we will make the announcements (if any) in due course.
Q: Why does the CX5500 have the extra CPU unit? It is bulky.
The CPU unit is responsible for the video processing and encoding. It is a necessary component of the CX5100/5500
Q: a) Can we bring in a participant that would like to join the Skype meeting via other VC equipment?
b) What’s needed for the HDX7000 to have a face-to-face meeting and presentation in the same session?
c) Does Skype4B support Polycom old equipment HDX 7000/8000 models ?
This is achievable using Polycom RealConnect technology, which allows multiple bi-directional video and content streams to be send/receive between Skype4B clients and standard room Endpoints. Contact your Polycom representative for more details.
Q: Can we use the Lync Room System with the Touch Screen system if we are not in a call?
Yes the Lync Room System can be used as a whiteboard even if not in a call.
Q: Is there much difference between Lync 2013 and Skype for Business to Polycom infrastructure (DMA, RMX)?
There are minimal differences between Lync 2013 and Skype4B in terms of integration with Polycom infrastructure. Newer versions of RealPresence Platform will be released soon that will officially support Skype4B Server.
Q: Does Polycom Group 500 support Skype4B? Do we need to upgrade the firmware in Group 500 before using with Skype4B?
Yes, Group 500 will support Skype4B server and clients in the upcoming firmware release targeted for Q3.
Q: Does the CX5500 series phone hardware work with normal Asterisk Telephony solution and is it compatible with Cisco telepresence devices?
Yes the CX5500 series phone module will work with any industry standard Open-SIP platform including Asterisk.
Q: How many Polycom devices can connect at one time?
This depends on the capacity of the Polycom RPP infrastructure that is installed. However Skype4B Server only supports five active speaker streams in a conference, even if there are more participants in the call.
Missed the webinar?
If you missed this insightful session, the recording is now available.
We live in the most interconnected time in human history; a world of wifi/4G-connected, video-enabled devices that allow for rich connectivity for visual content and real-time, face-to-face interaction. It is a world that is more virtual than ever before, allowing people to connect and collaborate from any location or device. All this rapid innovation is changing the way people behave and operate. It’s changing the way people consume information, make decisions and interact with others. This in turn, has profound implications on work and the workplace.
The flexibility and choice afforded by modern technology are making business leaders question the relevance and effectiveness of the workplace in its current form. Large underutilised office spaces and traditional desk and cubicle configurations are no longer effective – whether in terms of cost or productivity – in this age of mobile workforces and instant collaboration regardless of location.
Today, enabling technologies, such as mobile devices, tablets, IP telephony and video collaboration have changed the way people work. Whether it’s checking emails on the commute to work, joining a conference call while driving, or meeting over video collaboration from home, you don’t have to physically be in an office to be connected and considered a productive employee. Technology and connectedness have empowered workers with choice and convenience,in turn, this choice and flexibility have liberated workers from the workplace.
The growing prevalence of distributed teams, remote working and Activity-Based Working is evidence enough:
The population of workers occupying the physical workplace has declined and continues to lower, as workers and businesses adopt technologies that enable new ways of working outside of the office. Desk utilisation rates drop and expensive office real estate sits empty equating to lost money. At the same time, workers who continue to use the office find themselves in need of more facilities to team with distributed and remote colleagues.
Businesses must take action to correct the imbalance in the workplace. Collaborative workspaces that thoughtfully integrate technology and space should replace underutilised work desks. Adjustments to deliver the best experiences for physical and remote workers need to be made and throughout this process, workers have to be actively engaged for optimal outcomes. Every business is unique. Only by deploying the right technology for the right users, in the right workspace environment, can businesses boost productivity and reap results.
Trends driving new ways of working
From our perspective at Polycom, the workplace of the future is not a single place. Mobility, the cloud, big data, the Internet of Things, social media and consumerisation of IT are removing the many barriers that once prevented effective workforce collaboration within organisations across the globe. As the moderator and opening presenter for the upcoming 30 minute webinar ‘From Workplace to Workspace’ the first in a series, I will be looking at how organisations are adapting their workplace to support employees collaborating in new ways. Register today to secure your place. An on-demand version of the webinar will be available for all registrants.
Ever wondered how workplace design can harness the best performing employees and drive productive interactions? In this guest blog post, Miwah Van, Managing Director of consulting firm Unvorsum, explores the evolving landscape of employee collaboration and how this is redefining the workplace.
Most of us have likely watched the movie The Internship where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson become immersed in new technology when applying for roles with Google. From the initial online interview, to the Google campus where playgrounds with slides, free food and sleep pods are the norm; we find ourselves asking is this the future of the workplace? Should every corporate aspire to create a workplace similar to Google? Will this actually result in increased innovation, collaboration, community, and ultimately productivity?
The workplace is important as it represents the physical environment employees spend many hours of the day within. However, I find that workplace design is often confused with company culture; corporates believe that through redesigning their workplace, culture will automatically adjust to meet some desired result and improved performance will follow.
Having consulted for a large number of different organisations across different industries and geographical locations I’ve witnessed this trend in action as traditional office layouts are replaced with Activity Based Working (“ABW”). Companies see the various facts and figures that are presented to support this method of working and think they to will be able to reap the benefits simply by re-fitting the workplace with funky common areas and hot-desks.
People define the culture
A company’s success or failure depends on the people within the organisation. Attracting and retaining the best human capital should be at the top of any organisation’s agenda. Workspace design is a tool that can be harnessed to both attract these people and help drive the types of interactions these people need to succeed. However, everything starts from having the right people to achieve the company’s vision.
Its said “like attracts like” and in my opinion this is reflection of what ultimately drives culture within organisations. But instead of seeking to understand the drivers of the team members who comprise the organisation; HR teams write policies to dictate the organisation's culture. It often goes as far as holding multiple meetings with the Board of Directors, Senior Management and staff across the wider organisation; in pursuit of the answer to the question “Why do we exist?”
Culture is intangible – and the people who comprise an organisation ultimately define its culture. It is paramount that the leaders within an organisation are able to define what they are looking for in people and be positioned to both attract and retain those people (and take action where they don’t fit.) Writing policies is a fruitless task and this effort would be better directed to ensuring “the right people are in the right roles”.
Learnings can be taken with Netflix’s talent philosophy “The best thing you can do for employees—a perk better than foosball or free sushi—is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else”. Having the right people within the organisation and promoting and harnessing that talent is the most important factor that will develop and define a productive culture.
Workplace and technology
After focusing on your people, workplace design becomes about creating the best environment for your teams to work together to create superior outcomes for your customers. As the saying goes, “ten minds are greater than one” but remember one size does not fit all; a company’s ultimate aim in designing their workspace is to create zones that enable and empower your employees to make them more productive.
The right technology must then be incorporated to enable connections between your employees, but the focus must be on creating truly seamless connections vs. simply installing the latest product available. The people who comprise your business are the ultimate drivers of success and the goal of workplace design and incorporation of technology must be to give them right environment and tools to create the best outcomes for your customers.
Workplace and technology act as enablers that will allow your people to take your company culture from good to excellent, but neither will ever replace a company’s most important resource – its people. Or putting it another way for those that are mathematically inclined:
Winning culture = Right people^(Workplace design + Technology)
Hear more from Miwah and Polycom subject matter experts, James Brennan and Mei Lin Low in our free webinar ‘From Workplace to Workspace’, on Wednesday, July 29. Our panel will navigate the key trends driving the need for organisations to be more flexible and the technology innovations that will support the transformation. Register today to secure your place. An on-demand version of the webinar will be available for all registrants.
For the third year running, Polycom Asia Pacific has won an award in the search for 'Best Companies for Mums 2015' by the NTUC Women's Development Secretariat and supported by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP). Together with two of my colleagues, our nominations for this award win stemmed from a common thread – the empowerment and liberation we experience as working mothers, enabled through the power of collaboration technology.
The Best Companies for Mums awards ceremony recognises exemplary companies, supervisors and colleagues who have made a positive difference to the daily lives of working mums and dads.
This year’s win is especially meaningful for me for a couple of great reasons:
1) Winning in the category of 'Most Empowering Company for Mums' with two other colleagues who are full-time working mothers - Mei Lin Low and Christina Tan, Head of Partner Marketing, APJ. Here, I have reproduced excerpts from our testimonies which demonstrate the role of technology in our lives:
I am a working mother of three daughters with ages ranging from 9 to 12. Trying to juggle a full-time job, minding three kids and managing a household are energy sapping and very challenging. Thanks to the flexi work practices at Polycom, I am able to perform my roles adequately and confidently. Creative planning and coordination are required and with Polycom’s technology in unified communications , I can attend video meetings and work wherever I am – be it at home, at a café while waiting for one of my kids to finish class, or at the hospital while caring for my dad when he was admitted for a heart problem. Polycom’s flexi work practices and culture have provided me the peace of mind to perform my life’s roles with ease.
This picture was taken at 10.11am on a working, Wednesday morning. Not a typical scene from my office, which is exactly the point I’m trying to make. I was working from the lobby of a kindergarten. My second child, Julian, was attending his second day, ever, of playschool and I had been requested by the school, to standby in case he was inconsolable.
Polycom’s flexible working policies and trust-led culture allowed me to decide where I wanted to work from and when I wanted to do so. The organisation trusted that I would be productive, diligent and professional regardless of my location.
And here’s mine:
Many enterprises in Singapore face challenges in talent retention. Often, the heart of the matter is an inability to groom successors within the organisation and provide sufficient runway for employee careers. When long-time employees leave for greener pastures, companies experience a huge loss in institutional knowledge, continuity and productivity. I’ve been in the company since 2009. Got married in 2011, had my first baby in 2012. Polycom supported me through many milestones in my life and like many other mothers I might have felt that juggling a career and baby is impossible and opt out of the workforce either for life or for a while especially when Polycom’s office shifted to Changi Business Park. Polycom’s flexible working policies allow me to work from a location of my choice and trusted my professional judgement and capabilities. I therefore feel empowered to maximise my time, equipped with my trusty video-enabled laptop in executing my work. Now, with my second baby on the way due in September, I have no qualms that I’ll be able to return to work again seamlessly.
2) This is another validation that work-life balance CAN exist in Singapore with the right state of mind from an employer’s point of view. Polycom’s culture in driving the Workplace of the Future as a state of mind rather than a physical location, has successfully integrated collaborative technology into the DNA of our operations. This allows us to create an “experience” that results from the convergence of technologies, people and processes into one seamless digital experience that helps balance our personal and professional lives to the very best of our abilities.
With this award, we are proud to join the leagues of other companies in Singapore which empower working women. I know not all working parents feel like they can stay on top of their career while juggling family commitments. I know that there are constant challenges especially for women in the workforce as well: many are faced with a hard choice to either progress in their career OR to have a family. The thought of having both seems a distant concept to some as I watched a recent “Talking Point” episode on TV aptly titled “Struggle to Juggle”. Many are skeptical and probably think work-life balance is a fairy tale and sad stories are told about how employers are even terminating women employees citing that their family commitments are inhibiting their contribution toward the company.
A comment that I would like to call out here is a management perspective on this by Mums@Work Singapore:
“it depends on management, the structure/ support in place. Having said that, out of more than 1000 flexi-positions that we have placed, those that fail are often because of the specific relationship between the direct supervisor and employee (So, even if management supported it, HR had the system, the job was redesigned, it still failed, because of that specific relationship)”
It is definitely also about trust between the employer and the employee, on top of how the job is designed and measured for success to take place. With many organisations that drive work-life balance awareness initiatives, (NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat , TAFEP, Mums@Work etc) I truly hope that this “theoretical concept” to some of us working parents, will soon become a workable reality to most.
Meanwhile, I’m off to celebrate our win with my colleagues and my family!
This year, Polycom’s CEO Peter Leav unveiled the company’s vision of the Workplace of the Future. But how is the workplace of the future different from any Smart Work approach we hear about today? Most importantly, what does it really mean for you, your colleagues and your friends?
Workplace of the Future
The Workplace of the Future is not a physical place you go to, to do work. It is about embracing business transformation to improve performance, efficiencies and operations by integrating people, process and technology. Simply put, this is a new way of working which is relevant to all jobs, functions or industries.
To enjoy such benefits, businesses, government agencies, education and healthcare institutions must embed collaboration solutions into the DNA of their organisation to unleash the power of human collaboration. The Workplace of the Future has the potential of transforming not only the way we work, but also the way we learn and live today, tomorrow and in the future.
Workforce is changing
Bersin by Deloitte recently published the Global Human Capital Trends 2014 - Engaging the 21st-century workforce survey, which confirms key facts and trends affecting the new world of work today such as:
The same report suggests that this new world requires bold and innovative thinking. It challenges our existing people practices: how we evaluate and manage people and how we engage and develop teams; how we select leaders and how they operate. Organisations now face increasing demands to measure and monitor the larger organisational culture, simplify the work environment, and redesign work to help people adapt.
The Workforce of the Future
The workforce of the future, (not just millennials or Gen Y and X but any high performing team in any country, department or sector) demands collaboration tools and services which help them successfully achieve their goal or mission faster - not by working harder but smarter. Their workplace is not defined by a physical place they go to but by the way they work, communicate and collaborate regardless of location, network to device.
Business transformation requires a seamless integration between People, Technology and Process in order for organisations to enjoy new level of performance and innovation fuelled by new waves of agility, productivity and efficiency. The workplace of the future can only become a reality if the three key elements such as workspace, experience and workflows are tightly integrated and supported by a strong culture of collaboration.
My workplace, workspace and work style…
As a business executive based in Singapore, managing and leading a culturally diverse team of industry subject-matter experts spread around the world. The team is not just spread across cities but also across home offices. Collaborating regardless of location or time zone is a very enriching experience and exciting way to work. That said, my job would be extremely challenging without leveraging innovative communication technologies, collaborative workspaces and flexi-work initiatives available in the organisation.
From my personal workspace at home, I get to defy to defy distance daily. I can adjust my working hours and work style to perform at my best in all situations and time zones thanks to unified communication and collaboration tools. The picture shows my collaborative workspace in my home office with the devices I carry with me when I am on the move. This is quite a cutting-edge workspace compared to having a computer send emails and using a phone to make calls.
At the end of the day, regardless which device I have access to or no matter which network I can connect to, it is mission-critical in my role to be able to engage, communicate and collaborate with people in and outside of my organisation. Leveraging Polycom audio, video and content collaboration solutions, I host team meetings, manage projects, interview people, train partners or meet with customer. Distance, time and location have become irrelevant, but performance multiplied.
Inquisitive minds will find the workplace of the future an interesting approach to the way we work and how technology can help us achieve team goals and improve future performance. For me, it is about empowering and trusting people. The Workplace of the future unleashes the best of you. Whatever gets you to “work” every day, you can do it better, more efficiently and collaboratively, regardless of distance, location, device or network. So, what are you waiting for?
Recently, the Manpower Group released the results of their 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, which showed that employers are facing shrinking talent pools as working populations decline. Globally, employers are reporting difficulties filling job vacancies due to talent shortages, increasing to 38% in 2015 from 36% in 2014.
As the competition for the right talent heats up, employers will feel the pressure to present themselves as attractive destinations to potential employees. This has fuelled recruiting trends such as employer branding, social sourcing and even assessment science. Another that is growing considerably in popularity is video-enabled talent acquisition – and this comes with numerous benefits.
Video collaboration technology is increasingly being used to connect candidates with companies, but additionally allows HR recruitment processes such as candidate screening, interviews, feedback, and remuneration package discussions to occur; face-to-face, in real-time, from any distance. Some companies go one-step further to integrate video collaboration into existing human resource management systems (HRMS) to record, capture and archive video interviews in the same way interviewer notes and assessments are kept “on-file”.
Introducing video collaboration into the talent acquisition process has several advantages:
1. Increased speed of decision and hire
A friend of mine went through 17 interviews, over a period of three months with a company before he was finally offered the position! Fortunately for them, he accepted. In today’s fast-paced world, few candidates would endure frequent and lengthy interviews. They would probably be interviewing with one to three other firms concurrently and would likely have accepted a good offer and even started their first day on the job, before 17 interviews were completed. Speed is essential in capturing the right talent.
Video-enabled talent acquisition delivers interviews efficiently; scheduling burdens are reduced when physical meetings can be replaced with virtual, face-to-face interviews, regardless of candidate or interviewer location. It even accommodates multiple interviewers from disparate locations in a virtual meeting room, with the candidate. Internal reviews and discussions about the candidate can also be supported by video collaboration. All this helps to shorten the talent acquisition process, and speeds up the decision and offer to the candidate. This enables companies to be more competitive when seeking talent that is in high demand.
2. Better assessment accuracy
A picture may speak a thousand words but video conveys volumes. When in-person interviews cannot happen, companies sometimes rely on phone interviews to replace them. For most companies, it is the next best option, but it doesn’t have to be. Browser-based video collaboration solutions, such as Polycom RealPresence WebSuite, allow interviewer and candidate to meet face-to-face, in real-time, through a web browser. This is far superior because visual information delivers important cues to the interviewer.
For instance, facial expressions that convey excitement about the role inform the interviewer that the candidate is sincere, and potentially passionate about the role. Other traits such as confidence, personality, understanding, puzzlement and confusion are also clearer over video, than through a telephone line. This ultimately results in a more accurate assessment of the candidate’s competence, personality and enthusiasm, and increases the likelihood of making the right hiring decision.
3. Employer branding
The world is a different place now, companies no longer hold the monopoly on selection. Candidates too use interviews as a platform to assess whether a company is one that they would like to work for. Theirchoice will also depend on what they learn about the company’s culture, work ethic, team work, trust and so on. Leveraging video-enabled talent acquisition shows potential employees that a company embraces technology – a factor that is very important to the fast-growing Millenial workforce. It conveys that a company is fast-paced, demanding, but is also collaborative and consultative. The adoption and use of technology portrays a company as dynamic and emphasises teamwork whereas traditional hiring processes may feel conservative, slower and sometimes bureaucratic.This infographic explains more about how HR professionals will shape the future of business.
All other things being equal, companies which leverage collaboration technology in their talent acquisition process, are more likely to secure the candidate and win the battle for attracting and retaining great talent.
Have a look at the video below, to get you thinking more about the benefits video collaboration can bring to Human Resources operations:
A guest post by Pratyasha Malakar, PR Specialist, Polycom India
If you have been hearing a lot of cheering coming from the direction of Polycom India this week, it’s because we’ve got something to be very proud of! According to Frost & Sullivan, Polycom led the video conferencing systems and infrastructure segment in India, with a 44 percent market share in 2014. Polycom received the award based on a variety of parameters including revenue and market share growth, portfolio diversity, unified communication integration, and go-to-market strategy.
On receiving the award, Minhaj Zia, Managing Director, Polycom India & SAARC said, “As firm believers in the power of human collaboration, we are proud to be the recipient of this award. This win reinforces the increased demand for Polycom’s high-definition video and telepresence solutions in visual collaboration environments across the region and across vertical industries. We will continue to help customers realise the potential of collaboration technology, particularly when embedded in their business functions."
Polycom India works like a single organisation across the globe which inherently has the advantage of highly skilled resource, scale, expansion, and an already established R&D base. It can be said that Polycom India’s R&D has increased many folds in the last five years. The award’s selection procedure involved in-depth
primary interviews of various industry participants and secondary research conducted by Frost & Sullivan analysts after which the data was presented to an elite panel of jury members, comprising some of the most prominent CIOs/CTOs in the industry.
Frost & Sullivan recognises outstanding industry achievements by presenting its India ICT Awards to companies that have demonstrated best practices in their industry, commending the diligence, commitment, and innovative business strategies required to advance in the global marketplace.
This Awards program acknowledges companies that excel in their business segments, and their efforts to improve the industry as a whole. Congratulating Polycom on the award, Benoy CS, Director, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan said, "Polycom has had a very successful year 2014, where it displayed exemplary performance with the highest market share of 44 percent in the Video Conferencing Endpoint and Infrastructure markets in India. The growth, backed by constant innovation and product differentiation has helped Polycom strengthen its position in the market. The company has commanded the industry in terms of offering truly pervasive video solutions by imbibing mobility, hardware, software solutions as well as cloud based solutions that have gained high mindshare from mid-sized as well as large enterprises across industry sectors. Its focus on providing interoperable, scalable, and open standards based solutions combined with its partnerships with unified communications vendors further strengthens its position in the market.”
2015 has been a great year to date for Polycom India and the award win was a great way to end the quarter. Frost & Sullivan’s research reveals the market for video conferencing in India stands at a whopping INR 474.86 crores accounting for a growth rate of 19.3 percent YoY in CY 2014. We remain committed to transforming the way the world collaborates and we’re certain that Polycom will remain a frontrunner in the workplace of the future!
The Workplace of the Future is a trending topic in the world today, and there have been substantial conversations and discussions around it. At Polycom, our approach to this trend is the belief that work is not a place you go, but is what you do – defined by the action of adding value to the organisation you work for.
With employees working from anywhere, the expectations for a collaborative experience have evolved over time. If we look at the way our customers are now working and the environments in which they operate, these have changed significantly from how it used to be. In the past, video collaboration (“conferencing”) was an isolated, siloed technology that was done from a special room, with special equipment, requiring a booking to be made, and more than likely, additional IT support.
In the video below, I discuss Polycom innovations such as RealPresence® EagleEye™ Producer and Acoustic Fence™ that simplify the collaboration experience, putting user experience ahead of the technology. Have a look and see how you can add value to your collaboration experience.
A guest post from Brennon Kwok, Polycom Asia Pacific’s regional UC Solution Architect for Microsoft and recognised by Microsoft as a Lync MVP:
The much anticipated successor to Lync 2013 was released by Microsoft earlier in May 2015. Apart from the name change to Skype for Business 2015, a host of new features have been introduced into the server and client software, further accelerating the momentum and adoption of the Microsoft UC platform industry.
CIOs and other technology experts at enterprises large and small looking to upgrade from Lync Server 2013/2010 will no doubt have big questions on their minds:
- How can I leverage and continue to use my existing video investments with the new Skype for Business server?
- How can I video-enable my meeting rooms while preserving the overall Skype for Business
- Can I interoperate with third party room systems that I have purchased or that my partners
I will be discussing the answers to these questions and more this on-demand webinar on June 10, (originally broadcast across APAC on June 10, 2015). Join our experts at the session, who will share best practices on video interoperability with Microsoft UC, insights on what the future holds for video collaboration and how to make meetings more engaging, personal and productive while reducing costs.
Watch the webinar
'Are you ready for Skype for Business?'
If you found this webinar useful, you may also be interested in the one which followed. Click to access 'Connecting Skype for Business in your video environment' on-demand and learn more.
A guest post by Cara Daly, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager
Meet Yan Xiang, Polycom’s resident streaming and recording expert, leading a large engineering team in Beijing. Yan has spent the last four years innovating with his teams to create some of Polycom’s best solutions and continues to look towards the possibilities of the workplace of the future.
Q: What was your career path at Polycom?
YAN: I started my career at Motorola as a firmware developer then spent 11 years in Lucent/ Alcatel-Lucent. At Alcatel-Lucent I served as a software development leader, program manager, quality manager, director, deputy general manager, and general manager of a site in China with about 300 employees.
About four years ago I joined Polycom where I started a department focused on RMX and RSS development. Within two years the department grew from 14 to 70 members. Through the years I have supported many of our RealPresence Platform Solutions, like the RMX500/1000, RMX2000/4000, RMX1800 development (with ownership of RMX500/1000 and RMX1800 development, and partnered with the Israel team on RMX2000/4000).
Today my main focus is on the RealPresence Capture Server, which offers media recording, streaming and content management in an all-in-one solution. I also work with a small tiger team on RMX to support China’s sales teams.
Q: Tell us about the engineering team that you lead?
YAN: Our team in Beijing is relatively young, but we’ve been working to build our workforce to include expertise with the ability to support the majority of Polycom products. The core DNA of this team comes from an energetic passion to help Polycom succeed through innovation in both processes and products. We strive to be open minded with a strong cultural focus on improving user experience and on-time delivery of all products.
Q: What makes Polycom’s approach to recording and streaming innovative?
YAN: We have a small tiger team with a war room approach to innovation, brainstorming and delivery. We set goals to ensure that we are able to meet our deadlines and beat industry competitors. Our top priority is to create user experiences that require less guidance and are simpler for the average end user. We are testing more often throughout the development process and providing more demonstrations to core teams throughout the cycle to increase early feedback and timely improvements. With these processes in place, along with many more, we are creating better more innovative solutions for the market.
Q: What do you think the future of recording and streaming will look like for Polycom?
YAN: The recording & streaming business is forecasted to grow over 20 percent year over year for the next five years. This market has yet to be tapped by many organizations and the largest player in this space has less than five percent market share. This is one area Polycom can provide growth on our business. By speeding time-to-delivery and increasing our innovation in the space, Polycom has the opportunity to be a major player in the market, and I think we have the power to do this through collaboration and strong leadership.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
YAN: I enjoy playing badminton and occasionally I like to do some traditional Chinese cooking, usually just on weekends or during the holidays.
Takashi Mitsumori was appointed Managing Director, Polycom Japan in April 2015. In this Q&A he discusses market growth opportunities, work style trends in Japan, and the impact of technology in his life.
What are your top priorities in your new role?
Developing our business functions and the growth of our business here in Japan will of course be my first priority area. Secondly, within Japan, we will align ourselves strongly with our global team so we can work together to address the needs of our customers and partners for increased satisfaction. I have a highly professional, strong and capable team and I believe that our combined knowledge and skills can bring bigger, better and more productive results to the region.
Last but not least, my third priority will be to ensure Polycom’s greater presence in market. We have a responsibility to ensure Japanese companies are becoming more aware of our technology and benefitting from our work style innovation solutions. We also have a responsibility to build closer relationships with our partners and ensure our constant support in sales enablement and training.
Where do you think the most significant growth will occur in your market in the next few years?
Japanese companies are increasingly moving towards becoming more global in their ways of working and operating. The enterprise field is just one area where there is great opportunity for Polycom to showcase the benefits our collaboration technology to achieve an organisation’s business objectives. We have a strong customer base in Japan and a good partner network, but I believe we have a lot more space for growth here.
Further, our solutions have helped many organisations in Japan. These customers are from a variety of industries such as healthcare, education and finance who use our technology to increase productivity and obtain operational excellence. Examples of this can be seen through customers such as Oak Lawn Marketing, the company which owns consumer brand Shop Japan. Employees at this company rely on Polycom video collaboration solutions to have internal and external meetings over a secure network, share training, interview potential candidates, review sales and orders, and share product launches through video. Oak Lawn Marketing is a great example of how the power of video collaboration can extend throughout an organisation’s network
How is the Japanese market unique (in terms of collaborative technology innovation and adoption) to other regions in Asia Pacific?
Japan is indeed a very unique market when it comes to technology; we have a lot of innovative technologies and advanced products here. However, often what is offered to customers is not a unified, total solution. The market is competitive in all areas of collaborative technology, which includes video, web, and audio conferencing. However, many of the technology offerings are standalone solutions; this highlights that the market is still not mature and customers are not fully realising the productivity benefits of these technologies. Also, Japanese customers are very particular about quality; we are in a great position to address this as Polycom solutions and our high level of service always place our customer’s needs at the centre of everything we do. To support this level of service we have a Tokyo lab to replicate key customer environments and pre-test integration prior to deployment to ensure smooth implementations.
Why is work style innovation so important to Japanese organisations?
A key trend in Japan is a bigger focus on Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Since the devastation of the earthquake in 2011, organisations have concentrated more on BCP to identify operational issues in the event of emergencies and to promote more resilient ways of working.
One of the biggest changes to Japanese work style and culture has been the increasing participation of females in the workforce, and in management positions. Previously, women in the workforce were a minority, especially in bigger enterprises and at leadership levels, as family responsibilities took priority. The change is a great trend socially and is being actively encouraged by the government. Collaborative technology, such as video conferencing from desktop, mobile devices and the cloud, is extremely important to help support this trend, enable flexible working and improve work/life balance.
Generally people in Japan have long commutes to work especially in big cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. The increased congestion and time taken for travelling to and from work can result in loss of productivity and employee efficiency. This is another reason why work style innovation through technology should change how we do business.
What can you tell customers about how Polycom addresses their quality requirements?
Customers are continually telling us that our superior quality, flexibility and interoperability are of great importance. We are proud to be a partner-led business and have high profile alliances with partners such as Hitachi, NTT and NEC who integrate Polycom technologies into their own technology offerings. I see an opportunity to work even more closely with our valued partners to ensure the best quality control and increased ease of use for our customers.
In addition to products, the quality of service also matters and this is another area which Polycom excels in. We focus on helping customers achieve consistent video collaboration quality and increased ease of use, to make any technology implementation easy and efficient to use. Again our Tokyo lab helps here, by replicating key customer environments we can ensure that deployment has minimal disruption and our customers are up and running as quickly as possible.
What are the most crucial lessons you have learned in your experience?
Customer value, employee value, shareholder value – this is the sequence of priority for Japanese companies. I have learned that it is the structure of this approach which sets us apart from firms on Wall Street, where shareholders rank ahead of other stakeholders. This has been one of the most important lessons in my career. It has helped me avoid miscommunication between Japanese thinking and global operations, and enable strong relationships.
Tell us what interested you about Polycom?
Since its brand relaunch in 2012 and transformation to a software-led company, Polycom continues its journey of being the global leader in video collaboration solutions. The company is at the forefront of innovation to take the power of human collaboration to the next stage. Even before I joined, as an external observer I could see this change taking place in the company and really wanted to be a part of these exciting innovations. I am very excited to be part of this team and Polycom’s evolution.
What is your favourite Polycom solution or tool?
I have Polycom’s personal telepresence HDX solution set up in my home office, enabling me to have High Definition video collaboration meetings anytime. In addition, I am equipped with video collaboration solutions on my personal desktop and mobile devices so can connect face-to-face with my team and colleagues anywhere, wherever I am. A few months ago, I was struck with a rare disease which caused some muscle weakness. Thanks to Polycom technology, I have been able to balance my work with my rehabilitation therapy and stay productive.
Prior to joining Polycom, of course I was familiar with video conferencing technology. However, its use was limited to conferencing rooms only and never at home. But now that I have experienced the wonderful benefits of face to face collaboration from anywhere at any time, I can’t go back to any other way of working!
A key part of my role at Polycom is working closely with our customers and supporting them in addressing their business issues. I have learned that many people I meet are often curious about how our technology can help solve these issues, and perhaps all the capabilities of great collaboration in an organisation are still being discovered. I am lucky to work with solutions and innovations that truly can help various industries with their specific challenges such as providing better healthcare, extending the reach of education, assisting customers with personalised services, improving operating margin, enabling flexible working, and keeping the cost of real estate down.
Every industry, business unit, business process, and organisational function has their own specific challenges to address. Let me highlight some scenarios of how collaboration tools can help solve business issues for a variety of industries and functions.
1. Industry: Healthcare
Business issue: Head Doctor of Neurology and Stroke faces a shortage of specialists
“I need to provide specialist care and training to remote primary health care centres”
Doctors and specialists can overcome resource shortages through the adoption of telemedicine solutions, and collaborate with patients and peers across any distance. In this scenario, there are several ways in which collaboration tools supporting the workflow of specialist care and training help the Head Doctor of Neurology and Stroke to address the shortage of specialists issue by leveraging his current expertise more efficiently.
Collaboration technology can help provide consultative care to their patients where it is needed and liaise with colleagues at primary care centres by using integrated telemedicine solutions. Connecting medical devices such as medical cameras and scopes, vital signs monitoring equipment, electronic stethoscopes with High Definition video and voice solutions at the primary care centre can assist the specialist during the consultation. Further, an integrated telemedicine solution would also support the primary care centre to schedule appointments with a specialist. Before, during and after the consultation, the specialist, patient and the primary health care doctor have access to the patients’ health records including images such as X-rays supported by two-way annotation capabilities. For training of staff at the primary care centre, collaboration solutions also support recording and streaming of the video and content.
2. Industry: Education
Business issue: Dean of a University needs to increase student intake
“I need to attract more students with an education offering that stand out in this competitive market, yet keep my current headcount for professors and teachers where it is today”
A university can enhance their education offering and attract more students and make the best use of their education experts using collaboration solutions providing more accessibility to lessons before, during and after a lecture. Before a lecture, ‘flipped learning’ can be facilitated by recording lectures or assignments from the teacher so students can access these files in their own time. In addition, students can form study groups working at dedicated training stations collaborating with students at home or other locations. Content can be easily shared for discussions alongside annotation capabilities for the students, while recordings from previous lectures can be accessed for reviews and discussions.
During a lecture, collaboration technology can facilitate students from multiple universities to participate. Students also have the ability to join the class from home yet experience what the students in the classroom experiences with the same possibilities for interaction with the teacher. Professors and experts from other universities, the business community or from other parts of the society can be brought in as guest lectures without the need for costly and time consuming travels, hence providing access to top expertise that the student require from a leading university.
After class the students can view the recording or search the part of the lecture that they need to focus more on for discussing in their study groups preparing for a task or an exam. Collaborative technology can also enable the Dean of the university to design a flexible and competitive education programme to attract new students, by leveraging existing expertise within the university as well as their eco-systems of academic partners.
3. Industry: Financial services
Business issue: Providing faster and more personalised services to high net worth clients
“We need to provide faster and more personalised services to our high net worth clients”
In the financial and investment area there is a constant and rapid flow of information and factors that influence investments decisions for a bank’s customers. High net worth clients in particular request the best expertise and analysis from their banks with a personalised service. Having the capability to provide visual communication services where high net worth clients have access to their personal client manager with the ability to consult other experts immediately, will substantially increase service offerings from the bank in order to serve their clients better. Today, banks can provide this service instantly to the high net worth clients over a secure, high quality browser-based video solution, with abilities to share and discuss content and bring in multiple experts into the discussion regardless of location.
In addition, the bank can record personalised messages and provide updates to their clients to be viewed in their own time.
By using visual communication, the bank can provide clients with personal and interactive customer service to differentiate themselves from the competition and develop a long-standing relationship with the client.
4. Industry: Retail
Business issue: operating margin
“We have multiple new products, new suppliers and promotions every quarter and it is essential that we provide training to our sales staff in more than 100 stores. Our management has asked us to lower the cost for this training as the company need to improve our operating margin.”
Video solutions which connect all the stores with headquarters and suppliers can substantially improve the ability for all retail staff to learn about products and promotions directly from the suppliers themselves, or from their corporate representatives. Conducting training programmes to multiple stores simultaneously does not only save time and cost but also promotes a collaborative environment between employees, the headquarters and the suppliers.
In addition, customer support from the suppliers directly to the shop will be improved as the shop can connect over video to discuss issues with product experts.
5. Industry: Corporate enterprise
Business issue: HR executives for a global IT company need to attract new talent and keep attrition costs down
“We are growing and hiring people at a rapid pace and it is difficult, costly and time consuming to find and attract the right talent. In addition the cost for attrition is high and we need to focus more on retaining our top talents in the company”
Interviewing candidates for a job via video collaboration is increasing in use today. The cost savings are obvious especially for a geographically dispersed company where a candidate has to meet with multiple stakeholders from different teams and locations. Not only do video interviews save time and cost, but it is also important for evaluating and choosing the right candidate as their communication skills, expressions and body language can be seen by the interviewer.
Collaboration tools are also playing a major part in retaining talent as flexible working options for many employees are an important factor for joining a new company or for staying in their current role. In many organisations, their top talent work from home, on the road, or in small branch offices. Further, working irregular hours is common in most international businesses of today to ensure you can be online at the same time as colleagues in different time zones. More employees are choosing to work from home to save time commuting and spend this time being more productive, thereby improving their work/life balance.
It is still very important however, that these flexible workers still feel that they are a part of a team. A study by Wainhouse and Polycom showed that 87% of companies found video collaboration helps employees work remotely without feeling disconnected from their colleagues.
With collaboration tools the HR Executive at this organisation can also shorten the hiring time and cost. By offering a flexible working environment where the employees will have a better work-life balance will contribute to lower the cost for attrition.
Innovative and reliable technology is an enabler for improving processes and business issues. However it is how the businesses apply those technologies that really makes a difference in solving the fundamental business issue which individuals, teams and organisations are facing.
If you are facing similar business issues, now’s the time to ask the question: How can collaboration tools help your organisation?
As a regular reader of Fortune magazine I always look forward to their annual edition of “The 100 Best Companies to work for”. Buried within that issue are nuggets of management advice on how to be a better manager, create a better workplace and motivate my team. One thing that struck me this year reading their analysis of successful companies and workplaces, was the shift away from the value of an individual’s knowledge and what that brings to an organisation. Instead, the focus is now more around how that individual interacts within the organisation and the value that comes from those interactions.
A recurring theme was that the idea of the “knowledge-driven organisation” reigning supreme is over. “Knowledge” has become commoditised in so many ways: information is easily researched online, both on intranets and the Internet. Witness how the instant use of a Google search has stopped many a good discussion and disagreement on facts in its tracks! In some cases knowledge is now going further and moving beyond being a static collection of information, but instead becoming an adaptive, learning entity to assist human specialists - you need to look no further than IBM’s Watson and it’s ability to process massive amounts of data as well as learn from that data to see the direction “knowledge” is going.
The new focus for successful organisations is looking at human relationships - how to get the most out of people, encourage them, create interactions and ideas that might otherwise not happen. Creating a high quality workspace culture helps encourage the best and brightest to join an organisation, but also helps encourage more productive conversations. One small example of this: Google is well known for offering staff free gourmet meals at their office locations. But did you know that they proactively manage the queue length? Apparently three to four minutes’ waiting is optimal to ensure people are still encouraged to use the cafeteria, but generates enough time to talk and interact whilst in the queue - human nature suggests that people will chat whilst waiting; chats become ideas, and ideas become projects.
It might be easy to encourage human interaction when all your employees are in one location but how do you manage and encourage such activity in todays disparate work environments? The workplace of the future has become significantly more diverse - work is an activity now, rather than a location; it’s what you do, instead of where you work. Users may be hot-desking, temporarily resident in a project space, working offsite at a customer office, or working from home. With workforces becoming increasingly distributed, there is a danger of them potentially being isolated rather than involved as an integral member of their teams.
The good news is that today’s collaboration tools make it easy for anyone to remain connected with team members, as well as customers, suppliers, and so on. The range of tools and solutions are varied and continue to evolve,whether it is connecting to a collaboration session from a Web browser using Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS, connecting from a desktop or tablet using Polycom’s mobility solutions, or connecting from a meeting room - there is a solution to suit every need and budget.
Whilst the tools are readily available many users still think of collaboration as a specific, scheduled event (a meeting), rather than an on-going activity(conversations), throughout the workday. But with a little creativity it is possible to use collaboration tools to recreate a face-to-face team operation, but delivered in the virtual domain:
This on-going evolution of what collaboration can deliver and where collaboration is used starts to create some interesting challenges. At Polycom we pride ourselves on the quality of our user experience. However as our technology gets used in an ever increasing variety of situations and environments we have needed to continually innovate to help ensure users get a best in class experience. The best technology to support a high quality user experience should be transparent and require little to no user interaction.
Whether it is doing smart video processing to account for poor lighting conditions, or intelligent audio processing to help screen out background noise, all the operations should be seamless for the end user. In my next post, I will explore some of Polycom’s key innovations that we have recently introduced to the market and how they help power the workplace of the future.
A guest post by Jason Bordujenko, Solutions Engineer, Polycom ANZ:
How often do you do a tune up on your video conferencing equipment? Is it as often as you would service your car? Keeping up to date with the latest security and feature enhancements is just like keeping a vehicle regularly tuned and serviced.
Unlike a car however, keeping your Polycom video conferencing systems regularly updated not only keeps them running at their peak potential, but also unleashes regular updates to both system security (reactive) and new features (proactive). Just think what it would be like picking your car up from a dealership after a service and having new features and functionality that you can take advantage of!
The Polycom Support portal makes it easy to keep your video collaboration systems up to date; this is a one-stop resource to find out details about your conferencing systems and ascertain what the latest version of software is. If you don’t already have a login for the portal, you can easily create one in order to gain access to this information, by simply registering for an account, and selecting your relationship to Polycom (e.g. end user or consumer).
Don’t worry, we will keep your information safe and this is a great way for us to tailor the information that is provided to you so you are only presented with relevant information for your circumstances.
Following registration, here’s a rundown of what you get access to:
If you are using a Polycom RealPresence Group Series system, you will get access to not only security patches as per our advice in the Security Centre but also new product features and enhancements. If you are an HDX customer you will receive product security updates only but may not be able to take advantage of some of the more recent feature developments as these are progressively being made available on the latest platform only to take advantage of the increased flexibility of the RealPresence Group Series hardware. For VSX customers it is highly recommended that you contact your local Polycom partner to talk about trade-in options to get onto the latest supported RealPresence Group Series hardware.
Specifically what features can you access on Group Series?:
In the major revision 4.2.0 software for RealPresence Group Series (January 2015) we introduced several major updates including significant improvements to Microsoft Lync 2013 functionality, SVC updates, CEC monitor control (switches CEC enabled HDMI screens on, and to the correct input automatically) as well as enabling the Polycom EagleEye Producer add-on capability. In the Polycom Labs area of the software we also included the Acoustic Fence experimental feature (allowing audio isolation when using a combination of ceiling and desktop microphones), updates to VisualBoard functionality (PowerPoint slide conversion, slide zoom and swipe navigation) as well as the NoiseBlock feature on incoming audio. Outgoing Keyboard Noise Reduction and NoiseBlock are now part of the core General Audio settings as they have been released in to general code from previously being experimental features.
Do you have >10 systems and don’t want to handle this on a per-system basis?
If you have a number of RealPresence Group Series endpoints that may need to be upgraded and no direct internet access from the endpoint itself, there is an option that may be useful which is storing a copy of the downloaded firmware on a USB drive alongside a master-list of serial numbers and activation keycodes then progressively using this to upgrade your fleet of devices. Alternatively, if you have multiple USB drives available you can make a master copy and push this to a number of drives and process multiple upgrades in parallel. All you need is a master-list of your system serial numbers, and access this page to get started (HDX and Group Series systems)
For customers who have outgrown individual or batch upgrades on a per system basis, there is a RealPresence Platform solution that can assist known as RealPresence Resource Manager (RPRM). With RPRM administrators can centrally provision, monitor and manage their entire video collaboration network. With dynamic provisioning capabilities, RPRM can easily configure and maintain thousands of video endpoints, across both hardware and software. This eliminates having a variety of software releases in the field, fixing end-user configuration mismatches, being uncertain about the quality of video being provided, and other typical management issues.
You want to gain access to the latest software but the Support Portal says ‘Available but not entitled’:
This error message indicates that the portal recognises your system serial number, however there is not a valid service contract in place to allow you to download the latest software. Polycom customer care services are available in multiple levels however while all valid contracts will give you access to download the latest software releases applicable to your system there are differences to the inclusions inherent with these contracts.
Premier Support is our entry-level service offering. It enhances your in-house resources with conferencing technical experts who are available to support your video collaboration usage. For selected locations Premier Onsite support is also available where you can request an onsite technician to respond to any hardware related issues that you may encounter.
Another extended support offering is Advantage level service which can be taken out on endpoints only, or across your entire endpoint and infrastructure deployment, to allow up to 24/7 service and more ingrained onboarding and customer analytics access.
Keeping up to date:
You can subscribe to our Support Notification Bulletins. It is suggested to have your video admins on the Support Notification Bulletin list and your security admin on the Security Bulletins to ensure coverage on both new features and security fixes as they become available.
For more information on your local Polycom partner that can provide you the above services, please use the contact form on the Polycom website: