Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa is building a hospital of the future with Polycom video, voice and content sharing solutions and with the support of our partner Kathea.
We recently shared the Red Cross Children’s Hospital CATHCHAT story, and how the hospital is making a difference from their base in Cape Town, South Africa. We’ve been working really closely with our partner Kathea and the hospital to deploy solutions that will serve the hospital for the future and support their journey in building a brighter future for their patients.
The hospital receives around 260,000 patient visits each year, the majority of which are from exceptionally poor and marginalized communities and one third of the patients are younger than a year old.
The hospital faced a growing need for cardiac procedures in young patients, but had limited resources and access to highly experienced pediatric cardiologists. In an effort to broaden their ability to serve patients and to expand their local physician’s education, the hospital chose to implement Polycom video collaboration solutions in their pediatric interventional cardiac catheterization lab.
As a result of installing Polycom collaboration infrastructure, including Polycom® RealPresence® Web Suite and Polycom® RealPresence® Media Suite with the support of our partner, Kathea, the hospital professionals, are now equipped to learn from highly experienced cardiologists from across Africa and beyond to learn and teach paediatric interventional cardiac catheterisation live and in real time.
This open channel of learning will enable the hospital to connect with experts in remote locations whilst in theatre and during CATHCHAT sessions for guidance during complex procedures. The approach of the hospital is changing with an intention to build an efficient process for the future with the support of Polycom video collaborations. Ultimately, the hospital has an objective to decrease patient waiting time and enable their cardiologists to treat even more patients than before.
Polycom has been lucky enough to join the Red Cross Children’s Hospital during their CATHCHAT session which took place March 2016, more here if you missed the details. We capture some great footage which shows the complex procedures taking place in theatre while remote, experienced pediatric cardiologists are joining via video to support and advise where required. Additionally, we were able to joining learning and teaching sessions where doctors and experts from the hospital are able to share their knowledge and experience. To better understand the journey the hospital is taking with the support of Polycom and Kathea, please watch this short video clip or read the full case study here.
The CATHCHAT weeks have been very successful. With Polycom and Kathea, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital is building its concept to secure a bigger and better future for the people of Western Cape.
Note - CATHCHAT is an invitation only session designed for medical professionals involved in paediatric cardiology, but interested partners and the general public can follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #CATHCHAT
Brugerfladen og brugeroplevelsen er en essentiel del af enhver IT-baseret løsning og nogle af de største teknologi-virksomheder som eksempelvis Appel har bygget hele deres succes op omkring en velfungerende en af slagsen. Kvaliteten af brugerfladen er i høj grad med til at bestemme hvor tryg brugeren er ved en given løsning, men trygheden og læringskurve afhænger desuden af om det er tale om et personligt device eller en gruppeløsning.
På personlige enheder ser man en meget høj tilpasningsrate fordi folk har det fint med at begå fejl. Folk føler sig trygge ved deres egen smartphone, tablet eller laptop, hvor de typisk er alene og bare finder ud af tingene hen af vejen.
Når det derimod drejer sig om gruppeløsninger som eksempelvis videomødeløsninger, hvad enten det er til de små møderum eller de store konferencelokaler, er presset på brugerens ”tekniske formåen” langt større. Kollegaer og chefer kigger en over skulderen i det øjeblik, man melder på/ringer op og stressfaktoren er i top da, der sjældent er tid til fejl eller til at prøve sig frem.
En af de bedste måder at komme denne modvilje/utryghed til livs er at rydde unødige hindringer af vejen ved at skabe ensartede brugerflader. Brugerne skal kunne gå fra den personlige løsning til gruppeløsningen uden at mærke forskel og dermed føle sig sikre. De skal kunne bruge de samme ikoner og følge den samme proces, når de foretager opkald og deler indhold. Alle løsninger skal se ud og føles på samme måde. Uanset hvor nyt eller gammelt et system er.
Undersøgelser viser, at fortrolighed med et system giver en større tilpasning, som i sidste ende skaber den bedste interaktion mellem brugere. Løsningsudbyderne bør ikke tvinge brugerne til at forlade en brugerflade og gå ind i en anden for at kunne planlægge og administrere et møde.
Inden for videomødeindustrien taler vi om ”en halv meters” versus ”en tre meters” brugerflade, og det skyldes størrelsen på de traditionelle videokonferencerum. De var tidligere ligesom bowlingbaner, hvor du stod mange meter fra skærmen i et stort konferencelokale.
De nye løsninger har taget livet af den gamle metode. De førende virksomheder på området har valgt at sige, at ”den bedste brugerflade er ingen brugerflade”, og de har undersøgt, hvordan mennesker samarbejder mest naturligt i videomødesituationer.
De har lagt mærke til, at folk elsker at gå rundt i lokalet og at de har det helt fint med at se hinanden i øjnene. Det er også konstateret at fjerndeltagerne er meget engagerede, når de ringer ind i et rum fuld af mennesker.
For at gøre det muligt at bevæge sig naturligt skal kameraet automatisk kunne tilpasse sig din højde og bevægelser i rummet. Der bør ikke være nogen unaturlige begrænsninger for din adfærd som bruger.
Det næste trin for brugeroplevelsen er at gøre systemet 100 procent automatisk. Det indebærer, at brugeren blot skal kunne logge sig på systemet, som så tilpasser sig brugerens præferencer, trækker brugerens meste brugte indholdsdelings-metode op i forgrunden, ligesom det tilpasser volumen, tilretter kamera etc. Disse faciliteter vil gøre møder, som er baseret på samarbejdsteknologi, meget mere effektive. Også selvom vi ikke er nået helt i mål endnu.
If the second half of 2016 is going to be anything like the first half then we are in for an amazing year! In March at Enterprise Connect, Microsoft announced expanding the reach of Skype for Business meetings so customers of all sizes will be able to leverage their existing video investments, and there’s a recap of it available here. Also announced was the news of certifying our industry-leading RealPresence® Group Series, as well as the Polycom line-up of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business to support Project Rigel.
We’ve talked about cloud interoperability previously and just this last week Project Rigel and Video Interoperability appeared on SkypePreview.com. The momentum with Microsoft continues and customers can now see these solutions as part of a preview, and as mentioned within our previous announcements, Polycom is fully aligned with Microsoft to support this. For further insight on Cloud Video Interoperability Service, Meeting Room Devices (Project Rigel) and PSTN Calling, visit SkypePreview.com or of course talk to me or your Polycom rep.
Project Rigel Customers who are looking at Project Rigel can expect to augment with Polycom solutions, in particular, those that are going to be certified as we are to bring the video room continuum together.
What does this mean to our customers?
This is about ease of use, and it’s about adoption. As part of the workplace of the future, we talk about user experience, workspace and workflow. Everything we are doing around Polycom RealPresence Group Series, Project Rigel and Polycom® RealConnect™ in the cloud drives this ethos and strategy for customer success.
User Experience – it’s about ease of use. We’re creating a common look and feel across all devices with Skype for Business.
Workspace – we have a choice for customers to achieve their room strategy with Project Rigel and RealPresence Group Series.
Workflow – Polycom RealConnect. And soon it will be in Office 365. We really have a model that meets the customer requirements around Office 365, with includes the newest feature - Polycom® RealConnect™ one click connection and 360 degree Roster View.
You’d think the summer period would mean things are a little quieter on the business front as many of you are away enjoying well earned breaks, but at Polycom we have been steaming at full tilt!
In July we attended Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference. This is the coming together of thousands of Microsoft partners to hear about Microsoft’s FY17 strategy. What an amazing event! It’s all about cloud, but also about helping customers drive transformational change.
In September we gear up for Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta which is Microsoft’s major customer event. Polycom will be there showing customers the widest portfolio for Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365. Come back soon to hear more on this!
As I look back at the last six months and look forward to the next six, I am so excited because never before has such a platform with Microsoft been so aligned to Polycom’s portfolio.
I have probably already spoken to most of you since returning from Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in the Alps, so you know that Team Polycom conquered yet another mountain range. This time our team of climbers, including myself, Neil Lombardo, Ibrahim Aoun and Murtuza Viramgamwala completed 4 Peaks in 3 days.
This climb was tough - as the heat, altitude, snow, nausea took its toll on several of our group this time. Day one was a 4.30am start, kit was all prepped the night before along with the sampling of the local reds so sleep was limited.
Unlike the Kili trip, we had to carry our own kit, so we had to be economical with what was taken this time, but even then our guides told us that we’d carried too much kit. After starting at 1,200m, the flag was raised on the Breithorn at 4,100m by midday but lots of us suffered.
Day two was a 5am start, it was a long way up, lots of stamina required and we reached the second peak, Castor at 4,200m at 9am. This was particularly challenging as we walked down a ridge about a meter wide with unbelievable drops either side, then the last 100 metres to the top was very steep and was essentially ice!
We were on our knees hanging on for dear life, but we kept pushing through to the top, adrenaline kicking in. Reaching the top left me with an overwhelming sense of achievement, which in many ways is the same feeling and buzz I get when we meet our business targets.
That afternoon and after a well-earned rest, and I caught up with the Polycom executive team on RealPresence Mobile to discuss the recent developments within the company. It is a particularly exciting time for us at Polycom – we have accepted Siris Capital’s offer. We have a bright future in front of us and I am already in the process of sharing this great news with the customers and partners.
Once business was complete, the next peak to conquer was Lyksams Nose another 4,200m which we did the following day before breakfast!
And before lunch, on our final day of the tour, we climbed the last peak Le Pyramide.
As you may have already gathered by now, I like climbing and setting myself tough challenges every few months. For me, it isn't just the physical kind of challenge that gives me the buzz, its also true in a business sense. There is nothing better than setting up a team, reaching a goal and then enjoying that success. I am a firm believer, if you put enough blood sweat and tears behind it, you can conquer anything, be it a mountain or reaching your business goals!
So I can now add Monte Rosa, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc & Mount Elbrus to the list. I am not done yet – next up is Aconcagua, Argentina in 2017!
Customers are increasingly coming to us with the age-old dilemma of making different multiple video systems work together – seamlessly and simply. Polycom has cracked it with Polycom RealConnect. Adopting Polycom RealConnect means simplifying communication by leveraging native Microsoft Outlook calendaring and bringing everything and everyone together through click to join across devices.
There are several benefits as a result of implementing Polycom RealConnect for Skype for Business, such as improved engagement, driving adoption, information sharing, cross collaborating and greater interoperability. Want to understand how? Read on…
Customers simply want communication technologies to work together seamlessly and cost effectively. Until Polycom RealConnect was introduced Skype for Business video conferencing users could not meet or share content with participants using other video platforms, proving to be a difficult process for end users. To improve the user experience for our customers, Polycom RealConnect eliminates this barrier which ensures everything works together and provides each end user with the familiar communication experience they’ve grown accustomed to. There is no need to learn complex dialling codes or new platform behaviours, resulting in efficient use of business time and less on learning a new service. Additionally, the new enhanced Roster View enables every participant to be able to see who is in the room, on your screen so you share content as you would in a traditional meeting environment to ensure everyone is on board, productive and engaged throughout each meeting.
If you’ve recently added voice or video to your organisation as a collaboration solution, or you’ve had video for a while and you want to expand your deployment, you should work on a plan to make sure your employees use and embrace Polycom RealConnect. Depending on where you are in your adoption journey, you may require multiple steps to get from where you are today to where you want to be. Identifying technology champions within your organisation, optimising the workplace and training employees is just the start to creating your workplace of the future.
Skype for Business has become one of the most widely-used communication tools in business today. Polycom RealConnect allows Skype for Business users to connect seamlessly with users on other video solutions using a single workflow that makes the experience familiar for all users, regardless of what device they are using and it matters because adoption is reflective of ROI and it could be greatest way to achieving that ROI. Polycom RealConnect drives adoption.
The information sharing ability ensures a higher level of engagement in real time, providing an opportunity to enable bi-directional content sharing (desktop, program share) across Skype for Business clients and legacy video endpoints, shown as high quality content stream in real time with all participants. Polycom RealConnect enhances the Skype for Business client user experience by enabling employees to better engage with the workplace without breaking the workflow, having to join a virtual meeting room or co-space
Cross border collaboration ensures there is inclusion of all meeting participants and everyone feels as though they are working together within a collective workforce, this improves levels of productivity and efficiency as well as reducing meeting times, a valuable tool for time management. Additionally, the ‘One click to call’ enables participants to join a Microsoft Skype for Business meeting from any device, in any location and with the newly added feature, Roster view, meeting participants are visible regardless of what technology they are using and another fantastic new feature is the panoramic, wide-shot to include those sitting in dedicated immersive rooms.
In partnership with Microsoft, Polycom offers the broadest portfolio of interoperable voice and video solutions designed for Skype for Business and Skype for Business online in Office 365. Polycom RealConnect technology can be enabled through Microsoft-qualified video interop solutions including the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform and the Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTM collaboration infrastructure solution.
Microsoft and Polycom are jointly organising a #PolycomChat session on business productivity that will be hosted by the @PolycomEurope Twitter account on Thursday 14 April at 11:30 BST. Questions should be posted on the day on Twitter using the hashtag #PolycomChat or submitted in advance of the event here https://bit.ly/1XekIbj. In addition, the attendees of the Polycom-Microsoft webinar are also invited to join this chat session to ask any follow-up questions with #PolycomChat taking place straight after the webinar. To learn more about the unified communications solutions created specifically to leverage the Skype for Business environment, visit Polycom stand J920 at the UC Expo exhibition taking place in London on 19-20 April. Enter the #ShowMeTrio competition at the Polycom stand to have a chance to win a brand new Polycom® RealPresence Trio™; share @PolycomEurope’s #ShowMeTrio post along with the #ShowMeTrio hashtag on your social networks to have a chance to win.
To stay ahead in the highly competitive world of today, businesses need to find the right mix of technology for their workforce so they can achieve their daily business objectives efficiently. Productivity is improved significantly by customising the unified communications solutions for the business outcomes. It could be further leveraged if collaboration technology could work seamlessly with the existing Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365 environment to provide intuitive workflows and collaboration experiences.
Join #PolycomChat to discuss business productivity with our expert panellists – @CharlieOJames, EMEA Director of Microsoft Alliance at Polycom, and @IanWoolner, Senior Product Marketing Manager (UK) at Microsoft Skype for Business.
Whether you are looking to extend video to the cloud as part of your move to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business or you want to leverage your existing video investment within your chosen Microsoft environment, the recent announcements made by Polycom and Microsoft ensure that you will be able to seamlessly integrate video conferencing into all current workflows.
Register to attend the webinar to learn to ‘Expand the reach of Office 365 and Skype for Business’ first-hand from both Charlie James at Polycom and Ian Woolner at Microsoft Skype for Business. Straight after the webinar, you are invited to join the #PolycomChat session (details above) where you could ask any follow-up questions.
On 9 March, Polycom and Microsoft jointly announced an overarching strategy to uniquely unite the worlds of productivity and video collaboration. Join our experts at UC Expo 2016 to learn more about the Polycom-Microsoft roadmap for Office 365 and how it could help you extend the productivity of Skype for Business.
You could also win a brand new Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ by entering the #ShowMeTrio competition at the Polycom stand J920. For a chance to win, share the image on the right along with hashtag #ShowMeTrio on the social network of your choice; remember to tag @PolycomEurope too. T&Cs apply.
Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director
We’ve had a busy few weeks following the highly-anticipated Microsoft announcement at Enterprise Connect 2016. If you missed it, the news included Microsoft certifying the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ as part of Project Rigel, and we discussed how this evolves the Polycom® RealConnect™ offering.
Our joint, strategic product development roadmap with Microsoft continues to grow and as part of that alliance, we recognise the forever evolving workplace of the future and what that looks like. Recent findings have indicated that 30% of American workers today are Millennials, and the way they work is changing the nature of the workforce. More efficient, round table style, collaborative teaming sessions preferred by the Millennials are replacing the formal, moderated meetings of Generation X. Whilst there is a need to develop and cater to the workplace of the future, we also recognise that we must have in place trusted, reliable products, such as the Polycom® RealConnect™. We also understand the fundamental needs of our customers, which means further developing our product line-up with the launch of an industry-first cloud-based video interoperability service and our portfolio of Polycom room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business – also an announcement made at Enterprise Connect.
Polycom® RealConnect™ enables us to bring together numerous customers in one meeting to create their own experience. Delivering numerous key features, Polycom® RealConnect™ enables a single scheduling and dialing workflow that leverages Microsoft Outlook and includes a simple Click-to-join feature, for both Skype for Business clients and Polycom video endpoints, as well an enabling standards based endpoints for calendaring and click-to-join experience.
Simplifying the process, the amalgamation of Polycom® RealConnect™ and Microsoft’s Skype for Business enables intuitive one-touch dialing which forms a connecting experience, and a native multipoint video and content sharing experience to preserve familiar user experience, which aids our customer’s through adoption.
Creating a seamless experience for our customers, Polycom® RealConnect™ has the capability of bi-directional content sharing, including Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is sent to Skype for Business users for native content experience, and of course conferences are hosted on both the Skype for Business Server AVMCU and Polycom® RealPresence Clariti collaboration infrastructure, for efficient resource optimisation.
To learn more about Polycom® RealConnect™ and the Polycom, Skype for Business product solutions for the workplace, join myself and Microsoft’s Ian Woolner, Senior Product Marketing Manager, UK at Skype for Business on the 14th April 2016, 10:30BST for a live Polycom-Microsoft webinar. Sign up here to secure your place on the webinar http://bit.ly/1pH8eOg
Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director
It’s been a huge week at Enterprise Connect so far and Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director, gives the low down on exactly what the recent announcements, including certifying the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence TrioTM for Project Rigel, launching an industry-first cloud-based video interoperability service and our new line of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business means for Polycom partners and customers.
We have been really looking forward to making these announcements which is a result of the incredibly close alliance we have with Microsoft founded on our joint strategic product development roadmap. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft for many years, and during this time, Polycom and Microsoft have worked in tandem to deliver industry-leading collaboration solutions so it felt like the right time, as part of Microsoft’s newly announced Project Rigel, for us to share the good news that we will be delivering a new line of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business. This new line will offer plug-and-play simplicity in a variety of configurations to meet the needs of any sized business and room. The new meeting room platform is an evolution from Lync Room System and is based on a new Windows 10-based platform that centres on a “Rigel” console that sits in the centre of a room. To support this launch, we have also worked meticulously and are pleased to confirm that Polycom’s leading voice and video technologies, such as Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence TrioTM, will be certified for Project Rigel solutions. In addition we will be extending the Surface Hub with a choice of certified products.
Certification is at the bedrock of everything we do with Microsoft and we always recommended to our customers that they invest in solutions that are certified.
Microsoft also announced their plans to expand the reach of Skype for Business environments, for our customers and partners of small, large and those in-between sizes, it means we leverage the existing video investments they have made with Polycom as they move to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business environments. The collaboration with other existing video platforms using a new cloud video interoperability service built by Polycom and Microsoft, our industry-leading Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series in-room video conferencing solutions will be exclusively qualified on Skype for Business Server and supported on Office 365. This enables Office 365 customers to confidently leverage their existing video investments and unite with those of other vendors, including Polycom, Microsoft and Cisco, as they move to the cloud. Our customers will be looking to bridge these solution environments as they move to Office 365 and this news will change and enhance the user experience for our partners and customers as we use our proven technologies in these new deployments. When customers are making big strategic decisions around interoperability it’s good to know that Polycom is part of a strategic roadmap with Microsoft and this announcement underpins this.
A familiar Skype for Business-like user-interface on the Polycom® RealPresence TouchTM device will make it even easier for Skype for Business users to integrate video conferencing into current workflows. RealPresence Group Series solutions are used for meetings of all kinds, from huddle rooms to immersive telepresence rooms and this will enable Skype for Business to extend into conference rooms, boardrooms, and meeting rooms which will help our customers to continue to build the workplace of the future.
Polycom just unveiled a number of new collaboration solutions that will transform the workplace as we know it today. Polycom RealPresence Centro in particular is going to change your video meeting experience for good with its human-centric design.
With traditional video collaboration systems, a participant’s perception of the presence of others is markedly different depending on whether a collaborator is co-located or remote. People located remotely feel excluded from certain conversations happening among participants seating in the same room. This phenomenon, called presence disparity, disrupts group collaborative and communication dynamics.
Polycom RealPresence Centro addresses this core issue by allowing all participants in the room and those remote to keep eye contact at all times by putting cameras and displays at the center of this collaborative workspace of the future. Professionals can now meet, discuss and share information at a distance without suffering from presence disparity anymore. Watch the product video to learn more about the amazing collaboration experience it provides.
Most importantly, this revolution in collaboration is about to benefit many industries in a major way and here is how:
Government - Public Safety and Security
Situational Awareness is essential in times of crisis or disaster. With Polycom RealPresence Centro, you can instantly get a 360 degrees view of all stakeholders in the room as well as get the full picture of the situation on the ground to make better decisions, faster. Polycom puts you at the center of the action with a highly collaborative situation room, which enables any government department or agency to respond quickly and efficiently.
Healthcare – Patient Care Coordination and Delivery
Hosting virtual Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings (MDT) using Polycom RealPresence Centro allows specialist doctors to review complex medical cases and agree on medical procedures and treatments after discussing a patient’s history and medical data. With RealPresence Centro, every clinician is at the heart of vital conversions regardless of location or distance.
Education – Collaborative Learning and Development
Education and training institutions wanting to deploy innovative distance learning environments using video collaboration technology ought to focus their attention on Polycom RealPresence Centro. Students and educators can simply meet around this new center piece transforming the classroom into the ideal collaborative learning space to increase interactions and knowledge retention.
Innovation is critical to any manufacturer. RealPresence Centro enables distributed development teams to meet virtually in order to brainstorm on new ideas, solve quality issues, test samples, and improve design creating virtual innovation hubs. RealPresence Centro becomes the core collaboration engine that fuels innovation and reduces time-to-market resulting in improved competitiveness.
Business Services – Creative Collaboration and Project Management
A center of the room experience is essential for consulting firms or creative marketing agencies when presenting a new project to their client at a distance. Everyone is seen and heard, adding credibility and impact to the pitch. Creative collaboration takes center stage with Polycom RealPresence Centro helping organizations deliver more projects on time and on budget.
Financial Services – Branch of the Future
Polycom RealPresence Centro makes stylish collaborative meeting spaces in branches and stores. Client relationship managers can comfortably seat around the Polycom RealPresence Centro with visiting clients to share documents on the screens at the center by using their tablet or they can invite remote experts to join the discussion over video to improve service, trust and relationship with clients.
With Polycom RealPresence Centro, not only you can defy distance but also you can fight presence disparity during your meetings. Just like Polycom transformed audio conferencing in 1992 with the launch of the first star-shape conference phone, the Polycom SoundStation, be assured that RealPresence Centro is about to take center stage in various rooms of organizations for the next 25 years. It is truly the industry’s first unique center-of-the-workspace collaboration solution built for the natural way humans brainstorm, ideate and solve problems.
What to do on the weekend when you’re far from home on a business trip is often a question, but not in Alaska! Polycom’s friend, Greg Zorbas and his delightful wife Cathy, invited me to their home near Soldotna.
Greg not only knows Alaska, he experiences it on a daily basis. Originally we’d talked about whitewater rafting but low water precluded that. Instead we hit the water on a fishing expedition two of them, in fact. The first was on the Kenai River. The salmon were running and the moose (see picture!) were walking. I hooked one salmon – doubtless the biggest fish I’ve ever landed – and concluded, yep, I’m good and I can fish!
Well, then we went out on Kachemak Bay. It’s sort of like ocean and the water moves up and down more. So, the good news is that we caught twelve halibut and one cod. You can see them in the picture. You can also see me holding a white bucket. I got to know that bucket real well. Yep, when that boat started going up and down, my innards kind of did that, too … although, in my case, more up than down.
Now, the truth is we had a great time and I recovered to eat the “catch of the day” that evening. But mountain biking around Russian River Falls is maybe more where this landlubber girl belongs.
Stay tuned for Monday, Day 6! Polycom connects a great bunch of teachers – big fun – and there’s no white bucket anywhere in sight!
After a gruelling five days of climbing a total of 5895 metres, we reached the Uhuru Peak and with temperatures of -15°C we didn’t stick around for long.
But before making our descent, we held a quick video call via Polycom RealPresence desktop on our Zebra ET55 using Inmarsat satellite equipment – proving you really can work from anywhere!
We were well looked after by a support team of 35 people and our itinerary was well designed to prepare for acclimatization - the most challenging aspect of mountain climbing.
For me, climbing Kilimanjaro was a great experience; as taxing as it was physically, our team spirit kept us going. During our moments of down time we played general knowledge quizzes, some of the team took races up the mountain and I even learned a new card game – I am now a pro at ‘Trumps’!
It was awe-inspiring seeing the cloud level clearly below us. And experiencing the changing environment as we ascended to higher levels, you really have to be there to understand the wonder.
For those of you who might not know, Kilimanjaro is one of the “Seven Summits” (the highest peak on each continent) and the highest free standing mountain in the world. The base of the mountain is already at the same height as Ben Nevis in the UK, so we knew we had our work cut out for us from day one.
So I can now add Kilimanjaro to my list, along with Mont Blanc & Mount Elbrus, and I have Aconcagua, Argentina on the list for next year.
Now that we know our video technology works at any height, my team should watch out for future video meeting invites from other mountain summits!
NOTE: The charity we climed Kilimanjaro was for www.youngminds.org.uk/
For children and young people's wellbeing and mental health.
By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities*, representing an additional 2.7 billion people in the world’s urban areas. How can city leaders prepare for this influx of migrants in light of today’s challenges: aging infrastructure, tighter budgets, cyber-security threats, urbanization and the pervasive use of mobile and social technologies by citizens?
Government leaders have the power to shape the city of the future. Information and communication technology enables cities to innovate, collaborate and prosper by connecting constituents with the next-generation of public services, with the goal of improving satisfaction, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.
Failing to properly deploy innovative solutions to mitigate the population density of cities would result in additional labour, traffic, environmental and security challenges. In this blog, I am sharing how Microsoft unified communications and Polycom collaboration solutions empower citizens, businesses and governments to transform the way people live, learn and work. You can also watch the video interview available further below to know more.
The Smart City race is on and the opportunity is big.
According to Forbes, urbanization has become so important that it has elevated some cities to be even more important than the countries themselves contributing substantially to the country’s GDP. Top of the Forbes list was New York City, which has initiated smart and sustainable initiatives such as City 24/7, an interactive platform that integrates information from government programmes, local businesses, and the city’s citizens to provide knowledge to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Barcelona and Santander in Spain and Amsterdam have been cited as some examples of smart cities which have already begun wiring up and connecting themselves to drive better efficiency and benefits for citizens.
The Government of India has announced an ambitious 100 Smart Cities programme where State capitals as well as many tourist and heritage cities are expected to witness a rapid upgrade of urban infrastructure and online services to citizens, enabled by Information Technology. Singapore remains committed to becoming the world’s first Smart Nation that taps on ICT to better serve citizens, which will set it apart from the many Smart Cities that are already developing globally. The global race to become the Smartest City is definitely on and the business opportunity for technology vendors and integrators is tremendous.
According to Frost & Sullivan search, the Smart City market represents a USD 1.5 Trillion business opportunity globally in segments of energy, transportation, healthcare, building, infrastructure, and governance. Polycom and Microsoft are two Smart City market participants that partner with cities to address various challenges through the use of unified communication and collaboration technology.
Polycom Solutions for Microsoft CityNext: Better together!
Microsoft CityNext empowers governments, businesses, and citizens to create more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive cities. Broadening the city innovation conversation beyond infrastructure alone, Microsoft CityNext helps city leaders unlock the most important resource of any city—the potential of its people—by delivering citizen-centric services to help them lead safer and healthier lives and have access to quality education.
Polycom provides the most comprehensive and complete solutions for Microsoft unified communications, including voice, conferencing, and video collaboration solutions. Polycom collaboration solutions integrate seamlessly to enhance productivity along with Microsoft applications. Thus, together, we are enabling cities to provide services that put people first by designing around their needs to serve them better.
• Modern Cities – Microsoft & Polycom enable real-time, equitable and sustainable access to government information, services and city resources. Allowing city employees do their jobs better, citizens to leverage services more effectively and businesses to succeed more quickly.
• Safer Cities – Microsoft & Polycom empower justice, enforcement and defense agencies to be better prepared and respond faster to threat, disaster or emergency in their communities. Protecting the way-of-life that citizens and leaders have worked hard to establish
• Healthier Cities – Microsoft & Polycom help cities to transform healthcare models and provide collaborative care from anywhere to anyone affordably. Offering patients, providers and payers a sustainable model and better outcomes for all.
• Educated Cities – Microsoft & Polycom provide rich, interactive learning experiences that improve knowledge retention and increase productivity of every learner, teacher and instructor.
By adopting a modernization approach that works today and is sustainable into the future, government leaders can transform their cities into vibrant hubs that attract a skilled population and inbound investment to drive the city’s economy— thereby, becoming more competitive in the global economy.
Partnering to build The City of the Future
The Mega Trend of Smart Cities is set to drive urban development for the next decade and will drive demand for response, storage, multi-energy networks, smart devices, and new business models (Telehealth, Distance Learning, Next-gen Citizen and Emergency Services…) leveraging unified communication and collaboration solutions. As a Microsoft and/or Polycom Partner, you should be at the forefront of this change helping to build the City of the Future, which is more modern yet sustainable, educated, safer and healthier for all.
Visit us at WPC 2015
If you happen to be at WPC, please visit the Polycom Booth #1501. Ask for my colleagues, Andrew Graley or Robert Birch who will share with you how we can work together to address this market opportunity. You can also contact us to know more about Polycom Solutions for Microsoft CityNext: firstname.lastname@example.org
* The World Health Organization, in their World Urbanization Prospects report for 2014.
There’s a lot of buzz around the imminent launch of Microsoft’s Skype for Business, and for good reason. The launch will be a rebrand of, but also an update to, the excellent Lync platform. The hype preceding this launch tells us one thing in particular; the business world loves Lync. 60% of enterprises are either considering or deploying Lync as its Voice Platform. Everybody wants Lync and its momentum is so huge that organisations that historically wouldn’t have considered it now recognise the value it can offer.
What does this mean for Polycom though? Well, 76% of all phones sold with Lync are Polycom endpoints. Polycom has 40+ video, voice and content sharing solutions interoperable or optimised to work with Lync. It’s because of this tight bond between Polycom and Lync that we launched the product everyone is talking about.
The pervasiveness of Lync throughout the enterprise means that organisations have already invested a fair amount in infrastructure, endpoints and training for employees in order to ensure that the Lync workflow is integrated into the business processes. Evidence shows that customers who have built the Lync platform into their processes in this way save up to 30 minutes a day, shrink project times by 10%, and increase proposals delivered and won by 20%.
But large enterprises are slow moving beasts, especially when it comes to IT.
Many organisations have legacy systems which predate the entry of Microsoft into the UC arena, and they aren’t going anywhere. They’ve ended up with siloed products and systems that don’t talk to each other. It reminds me of a scene from BBC drama Downton Abbey, when the Grantham’s become proud early owners of a telephone. Great, but as Mr Carson points out, they need to work out who else has one they can call!
Organisations are aware of the power of Lync beyond IM and presence and are keen to really derive the benefits of voice, video and content collaboration within this interface. They’ve bought Lync and now they want to drive usage and adoption of Lync, they don’t want to have their employees step out of that workflow. RealConnect enables this and luckily for existing Polycom customers this will be included as an automatic upgrade within their service contract.
Ultimately this is the way the UC, communications and technology markets are moving. Customers don’t want to be locked down into proprietary vendor solutions, they want best of breed solutions to work seamlessly. Within a UC context that means presence, IM, video, voice, content, scheduling and email is brought together by the Lync platform. The end user doesn’t care which vendor supplies what part, they just want it all to work together in an interface they understand. Users are beyond the days of mobile contracts that only allowed them to call others with the same operator. In the same way they expect any-network minutes they expect to be able to reach out to any of their contacts via any of the Lync communications methods. Thank goodness for RealConnect!
The continuing advancements of today’s collaboration technology make it possible to transform virtually any place in the world into an ‘office.’ These days, my ‘office’ is much more mobile, since I’m usually working on wireless from my laptop, tablet or phone rather than a traditional desktop computer. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to feel tethered to a desk.
Unified Communications, like Microsoft Lync, has also made us more productive and efficient. For most, instant messaging and VoIP calls have become second nature but for many, video is still in the early adoption phase.
So, how can we make video easier to access and more intuitive? Enter: Lync.
We’ve been working with Microsoft for a long time. So long, in fact, that we have the broadest set of solutions in the industry that are optimized for and interoperable with Lync (40+ options). In my role as a Marketing Program Director for Microsoft, I’ve learned about the challenges organizations face with video adoption. The solution, though, can be simple. Especially for organizations that have Lync, these tips can make a world of difference in speeding adoption and usage of video. The employees in the organization will be glad for it, because the ROI can be tremendous.
The Challenges to Adoption:
Customers we’ve met with have shared three distinct concerns about video:
Quality of Performance
Limited Leadership Buy-in
The quality is paramount to adoption. Steve Lohr of the New York Timesreported in 2012 (two years is an eternity in technology) that even the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds – is too long to wait for a web page to load. We’re spoiled and impatient!
A lack of buy-in and support can prohibit adoption. In some circumstances, leadership is not prepared for the changes UC can bring to an organization or they may lack the type of high-level, long term UC vision. In addition, smaller companies struggle with limited IT support.
Users need to connect to be able to connect with suppliers, colleagues and customers outside of the walls of their organization. Interoperability with other video platforms is paramount to adoption.
To avoid the above uncertainties, we offer three recommendations that will make your video adoption seamless:
Ensure your network is video-ready
Have Adoption & Migration Plans
Identify Critical Success Factors and Measure Your Progress
Bandwidth plays an extremely important role in video conferencing. There is a strong correlation between how well your network performs and the success of your video solution deployment and adoption. Introducing video to your network, you’ll want to understand the impact, bandwidth requirements and utilization in advance.
As mentioned earlier, application performance is absolutely critical to success. Having a plan – or plans – will ensure the end user is prepared, trained and approves of the experience. Make sure your adoption plan includes…
…a communications plan: what are you rolling out?
…a training plan: how do your employees use it?
…a migration plan: when will employees transition?
…a support plan: who can help if something goes awry?
…an operations plan: which includes a series of tests to ensure proper bandwidth is available
Most importantly, after implementation, ask for user feedback – especially for early adopters. Understanding employee pain points and correcting them will allow them to gravitate faster toward embracing video.
Poor video performance can be a direct result of device challenges and limit your success. Consider assessing all performing devices – in the office and at home – to ensure they are Lync qualified and compatible.
Finally, measure your success! My colleague, Russ Colbert, recently published a byline in Federal Computer Week on the adoption of video in our Federal Government. Russ noted the Navy was one of the early adopters of video collaboration and his superior would ask him every day to estimate the return on investment. Positive ROI will help build support from senior leadership.
This is an exciting time for collaboration. To think we can travel around the world without leaving our office! Face-to-face collaboration is changing our business world, making us more collaborative, more productive, and more efficient while improving work-life balances. Video will soon surpass email and instant messaging as the most desired means to conduct business.
When you are a first-time mom, it seems like everyone has a pearl of wisdom to share with you. From teething remedies to proper car seat installation, my friends, coworkers and family members had advice on every topic imaginable. But when the time finally came to head back to work and leave my newborn, Jacob, no single tip or trick made me feel at ease. How would I balance my baby with my career? Well, with Mother’s Day approaching, and well into my first year in motherhood, it’s my turn to hand off some advice to all the moms out there.
Video is your friend.
Working in an environment that champions video, I’ve always had the flexibility to telecommute. But never have I appreciated it more than these past eight months. Here’s why:
It’s a time saver. Every moment is precious and I know that sometimes moms wish there were 28 hours in a day so we could get everything done. By using videoconferencing, there’s no commute, which means I am saving a lot of time. This extra hour I have in my day can be used however I want: cooking dinner with my husband (occasionally), meeting up with a girlfriend (rarely), or getting some extra snuggle time with Jacob (regularly).
My position requires a bit of travel and I was hesitant at first about leaving Jacob. However, thanks to video (specifically RealPresence Mobile) we have found ways to make it manageable. My husband Andrew and I chat about our day and I get in my “mom time” with Jacob, the best of both worlds – doing what I need to do for my job while spending quality time with the family. It definitely helps curb homesickness.
By using video to connect with coworkers, I was able to ease in and out of maternity leave seamlessly. The way that I interacted via video remained consistent from before and after I had Jacob. In fact, the transition was so seamless that some of my coworkers never even realized I was pregnant! They were accustomed to seeing my face day in and day out, but it was hard for them to believe their eyes when I finally stood up to show them my growing belly.
Polycom has tons of mothers (and grandmothers) in its workforce and I can guarantee that video conferencing has made a significant impact on their lives and balancing family and career. Do any other Moms out there have tips or advice they can share? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below. Happy Mother’s Day!