A popular buzz term in the industry today is “Unified Communications,” which when broken down consists of Voice, Video and Content. The experience provided on the Voice and Video component of UC is very strong while the Content experience could still be classed as legacy. If we were to class the current Content experience as legacy then then how could the Content features within UC solutions be enhanced?
As an end user, I consider Voice to be the most important of the three UC components, followed by Content and then Video. If I have no Voice on a Video call then I will need to use some other method of communication. If I am collaborating over Content then I don’t always need to see the far end on Video.
With Content providing such an important piece of a Unified Communications solution it is no wonder that Polycom has been focusing on breaking down the barriers of traditional content collaboration and really enhancing this experience to be more in line with the current way a user works at their desk.
While there are many different vendors trying to enable an effective method of content collaboration to the market, there still exists one major difference or restriction when collaborating online vs collaborating locally in a room: content collaboration online through software solutions force users to change their behavior by only allowing a ‘You send and I receive or I send and you receive’ workflow.
When taking a look at most users’ desk environments, there are times where more often than not there will be multiple displays and multiple applications open across these displays. Why are vendors’ solutions forcing users to change their behavior when using UC vs supporting the way they currently work?
Here are some of the common questions I’ve come across when engaging with customers about how they work online vs in a room:
How can I share multiple pieces of content or applications at once?
How can one user share content while an alternate user is sharing content?
Is there a way to bridge the gap between a solution that supports multiple content streams and traditional systems that only support a single content stream?
While the ability to send multiple streams of content simultaneously sounds great in theory, it also needs to be implemented in a way that is effective to the end user without causing confusion that inhibits the growth of Unified Communications within a customer’s environment.
There are many different applications and solutions that allow end users to collaborate over content. These applications may be extensions of vendors existing solutions that provide IM/Presence to then include Desktop Video/Voice and Content Sharing. Alternatively, they may be simple Voice and Content Sharing applications.
With the release of Polycom RealPresence WebSuite end users can effectively and efficiently collaborate and even annotate over multiple streams of content simultaneously. RealPresence WebSuite can even bridge the gap between a multi-stream content solution and a traditional single stream content solution to allow collaboration to still take place.
Through the support of multi-stream content and by truly breaking down the barriers of traditional content collaboration there are many new use cases that can be supported in an online environment including:
Classroom style lecturing with a teacher owning sharing capabilities
Instructor led teaching where there are multiple instructors who need to share content sharing
Team collaboration where all users have sharing capabilities
Team collaboration where all users have the ability to interact directly with content simultaneously