By Jeremy Keefe, Area Sales Vice President - UK, Ireland and Benelux, Polycom
You are a modern day worker who enjoys being mobile so you can work from different locations and believe in flexible working as it allows you to be productive. Yet every time you manage to secure yourself a meeting room often it feels like you have walked into a blank space which can definitely do better with a little more hint of technology.
While most workers have moved on, some employers are still trying to catch-up but there is no respite with the rising cost of real estate and inflation hammering down on the economy. Businesses are aware that their workforce is battling time zones every day and it is time they gear up for 2017 by thinking about the types of meeting rooms their workforce requires for delivering the good work while being mobile and flexible.
As a regular participant of meetings, there are several different types of meeting styles that I see frequently.
Type 1 – Meeting room for an in-person discussion:
Mind the word ‘discussion’ here. This is the most common type of meeting room that will be needed as while conducting business across borders is becoming more common some 1-2-1 chats still need to take place. These are often the meetings that kick off a partnership or significant reviews and are the catalysts for driving the next type of meeting room requirements as they often lead to the need for sharing information or for third party participation.
Type 2 – Meeting room for sharing content:
This type of meeting room will attract the most traffic across all groups whether they have two, a few more or a fairly large number of participants. Sharing content in the format of documents such as PowerPoint presentations is not uncommon and it is important to have the right content sharing software solution that is easy to use.
Type 3 – Meeting room for an audio call:
Audio is the backbone of all meetings and the most common way of conducting meetings. Also, it is quite obvious that without proper audio you cannot have a video meeting. A popular means for both booked and ad hoc meetings, more than often you will need to ring someone on their phone for work. Whether it’s on fixed line, mobile, conference phone or Skype for Business, audio-only meetings are essential.
Type 4 – Meeting room for a video call:
You cannot attend all meetings in person at all times, and as more and more people are working from home nowadays, video is becoming an essential part of the day-to-day work. We still believe face-to-face meetings are essential in a working life and therefore travel is still a part of it. If you cannot travel but still want to make the meeting more impactful, you need to attend it on video. Video meetings are important and this is a no-brainer for the digital time we live in today. The benefits felt from video meetings can range from not needing to travel great distances, to being able to get home in time for dinner with the family.
Type 5 – Meeting room for working from anywhere:
Work From Anywhere – a new way of working that doesn’t require you to work from one set location. A small meeting space or a ‘huddle room’ can cater to the needs of workers when they are visiting one of their office sites or any other location. All the other pieces of technology listed above will enable them to find the right meeting space when needed. In addition, software solutions that allow collaboration from the devices of their choice will empower them to work from anywhere.
As we approach the festive period, we start looking forward to eating too much, drinking too much and being with our families. But instead of being glued to the Telly-Box or playing board games 1980’s style, the kids will be playing Minecraft on the latest iPads, the teenagers will be Snapchatting with their buddies, cousin Emma will be checking her FaceBook and even mum will decide to get her phone out to Skype granny! Whether we like it or not, technology has become a part of our lives and here are a few tips to help you get through the holiday period without being ‘trude’.
Don’t be ‘Trude’ - Give up your WiFi password in 5
So, unless you have been living under a rock, you would have noticed that everyone has something digital with them. Internet of things (IoT) has made us all interconnected and no one appreciates it when their mobile phones, smart watches and fitness devices stop working as soon as they enter your humble abode. Don’t be trude and remember to share your WiFi password as soon as possible. A smart host would have their wifi username and password printed out and up on a notice board somewhere to save them having to get up from that sofa trying to find it a few lemonades later (!).
‘Snap’ Chat? Email what 4?
I love gallivanting through my mailboxes, every single one of them – said no one ever! We are not only slowly moving away from emails, we are also moving towards Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. When I am on emails I am either working or looking for delivery confirmation of that Amazon package. Discussions are taking place in real-time and lots of people are choosing to reach out to their folks via social networks and mobile apps. How about a cute video invitation to add a personal touch?
It’s a charm when it’s 3
You only start hosting when you feel adult enough and believe it or not some of your guests will bring kids with them (unavoidable at this time of year I am afraid – of course I am being cute, I love kids!). Troublesome embarrassments abound when you mix kids with smart devices. They are so much more handy with technology and that interconnected IoT-type smart TV can easily by mistake let them broadcast that photo or video that you were hoping would never even touch the outskirts of the internet. Get smarter than your smart devices and build in security passwords before that party of three arrives.
Then there will be 2
Sure you have invited 50 people to your fairly average sized flat for this bash. Now is the time to think about keeping them entertained, and not run out of food, drinks and patience. You and your partner in crime can maintain your dignity by using mobile phones for one-to-one conversations and not let your guests get a whiff of the loss of the plan A dish in the oven and the discreet hatching of a secret plan B dish. You will be surprised how clearly voices travel through those walls. Let’s keep our devices charged and keep them in our pockets.
Don't forget to think about everyone. Your co-workers will be busy with their own family and friends soon and one short team meet-up before you all head your separate ways for holidays is a good thing to consider. If you are working in a similar setup as me, you will have your team scattered across the world. At Polycom, we drink our own champagne and sync up on video at least once a week to battle the time zones and make decisions about the next steps for our global team projects. We use this hour as a forum to exchange best wishes as well and I am sure no one will mind if you had a glass of fizz while doing so provided none of the meeting participants feel left out as some could be joining from remote locations and mobile devices. I even know a team who once opened their Secret Santa presents during a video meeting.
It's a wrap….
One final thing, have your chargers and power banks on standby; this prevents a whole host of potential scenarios for guests attending your party, especially when they wake up next day with a low battery. If you can help them with keeping their phone fuelled up, that’s one less thing you get the blame for.
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
Here at Polycom we're dedicated to enabling the workplace of the future with the support of our voice and video solutions. This year at GITEX Technology Week it is no different! We are going to be in attendance and showcasing the latest portfolio of video, voice and content sharing collaboration solutions that help businesses enable their workforce to work from anywhere. Yes, Anywhere!
Polycom will be on stands Z-H12 and Z-H35 in Zabeel Hall in partnership with FVC and Sitec, while Westcon will be hosting a networking event for partners from October 17 – 19 at the IBIS Hotel.
Want to know what you can see whilst at the show? Read on, we have lots to share...
Key Polycom solutions on display by FVC, Sitec and Westcon at GITEX are:
Polycom® RealPresence Trio™is a solution transforms the iconic three-point conference phone into a voice, content-sharing and video system that can fit into any team environment. Easy to deploy, RealPresence Trio technology has broad interoperability and deep integration across multiple UC platforms including Skype for Business and Microsoft Lync, BroadSoft and others.
Polycom® RealPresence Centro™ is the first solution purpose-built to put people into the centre of collaboration, will be available for demonstration during the show. The RealPresence Centro solution introduces a brand new paradigm for group conferencing that drives deep engagement and highly productive meetings by bringing people to the centre of collaboration.
Polycom® RealPresence® Debut™brings enterprise grade video collaboration to the huddle room with a focus on simplicity and affordability. RealPresence Debut has 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® Media Suiteis an enterprise recording, webcasting and portal solution that makes the creation and delivery of higher quality videos possible. A central management console enables simple workflows to manage media nodes remotely.
Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTMis a collaboration infrastructure that delivers Polycom’s powerful HD voice, content, video and web collaboration to businesses of any size is also available for demonstrations during GITEX.
Polycom VVX 101 and VVX 201 Business Media Phones: The Polycom VVX 101 business media phone is a low cost solution for small and home offices, lobby areas and shared workspaces—anywhere people need access to a simple phone with a single line. On the other hand, the Polycom VVX 202 is designed for organisations of all sizes looking for a cost effective telephony solution and features two line support and a wide-range of enterprise telephony features. Both offer life-like conversations with Polycom’s industry-leading HD voice, Polycom Acoustic Clarity and Polycom Acoustic Fence technology to deliver excellent sound quality and noise-free, echo-free conversations.
Want to meet the Polycom team and see how solutions in action? Sign up here, and we'll see you at the show!
The London School of Economics (LSE) has just published some interesting research on the long-term impacts of home working. As a flexible worker, I was interested to read the results, however, I was disappointed by the article on the news in The Times because they had clearly misunderstood the outcomes, focusing on how ‘working at home can foster bad habits’… But home working isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of flexibility.
When we dig a little deeper, it turns out that the LSE research confirms what we all know to be true; people like to have a choice about their place of work. The study found that employees disliked being forced to work at home, just as much as they disliked being forced to work in an office. It seems you can’t please them all!
However, as both a part-time home worker and full-time anywhere worker, here are my tips on how to combat the issues flagged by the research.
1. Crystal Clear
“If the company expects homeworkers to be a lot more productive or workers expect employers to give them a lot of flexibility and not have to reciprocate in kind, one or both are likely to be disappointed.” - Dr. Esther Canonico, LSE
Anywhere working requires clear communication, and an established trust based on conversations prior to commencing a flexible arrangement. As a manager, you need to confirm whether you are offering the flexibility of location, hours, or both. It’s also important to have a policy that clearly states whether employees must request to vary their set hours or workplace in advance of every instance, or if they have the freedom to work in their preferred way every day. That way there is no confusion and no disappointment.
2. There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM…
‘Those at home every day also become “socially and professionally isolated”, increasingly feeling out of touch, losing confidence in their skills and no longer able to “accurately interpret and use information”. Emails can be misinterpreted, whereas the signals are usually clear in a face-to-face meeting.’
It's easy for someone to feel overlooked or undervalued if they never get to see their boss or their colleagues. As a manager, it’s up to you to ensure your team feels included. You could ensure that your team uses video collaboration for all meetings so that everyone can join face-to-face, wherever they are. Conducting as much team communication face-to-face as possible eliminates the misunderstandings that can arise from email. You could hold virtual ‘coffee breaks’ and ‘lunches’ to ensure team members feel included. And as I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, if you are meeting one-to-one with your reports regularly you both benefit. You know first-hand about their achievements and are able to provide them with the same attention and recognition as those based in the office.
3. All by myself…
‘Sitting alone and focusing intently on a piece of work for several hours without a chat at the coffee machine can be negative. “The intensity of homeworking accentuates the negative impact of professional isolation on job performance.”’
Of course it’s easy to fall into negative behaviours if you feel isolated from the rest of your team, so it is essential that both yours and your team member’s mind-set be aligned right from the beginning. I would advise that managers still organise in-person meetings and team building exercises on a regular, if infrequent, basis. Using video collaboration solutions, can help maintain team bonds between dispersed members until they can be in the same place at the same time. Anywhere working doesn’t mean that you should never spend a day in the office with your colleagues, through the use of technology it just means it doesn’t have to be an everyday occurrence.
Work to Live…
One thing that is really important is to achieve balance. Any place, any time, any device can be a double edged sword, which is why the individual needs to find that balance. Work-life balance doesn’t always mean less time in the office, or working all hours; it means finding a solution that best suits the individual and enables their maximum personal productivity. That balance can shift with time, as our personal circumstances change, or our role does. Both employees and employers need to be flexible beyond home working to achieve the best possible results.
The event this year is being held 26th – 30th September, Atlanta GA and Polycom will be there as a Gold Sponsor at Booth #1624 - and we are going to be very busy!
Ignite is the coming together of up to 20,000 Global IT Professionals, IT Decision Makers and Enterprise Developers from around the world.
As well as a packed agenda there will be an EXPO and Polycom will be there showing all the latest roadmap developments that creative productivity solutions built on Office 365 for voice, video and video interoperability.
Please use this invitation to visit our booth where you will see how:
You can have complete Office 365 collaboration with Polycom
Polycom is the only solution provider to complete Office 365 collaboration end-to-end
Our breadth of our portfolio is second to none for Office 365
How our native integration of Polycom devices into O365 drives rapid adoption
And how our deep expertise and global reach helps rollout our rapid deployment of solutions.
…and it doesn’t just stop there. Throughout Microsoft Ignite 2016, Polycom will be presenting a number of speaking sessions too! More details below…
Session 1: Complete Collaboration with Polycom and Office 365: a Partnership Overview
Monday, September 26 – 2.00 - 2.45pm
For over a decade Polycom and Microsoft have been working together to create the next generation workplace. In this session, Ashan Willy, Senior Vice President at Polycom, will give an overview of the Polycom and Microsoft alliance and how Polycom’s solutions for Skype for Business and Office 365 enable employees to truly collaborate from anywhere.
Session 2: Best practices in Building a Collaboration Strategy: a Conversation with Polycom and Microsoft
Tuesday, September 27 – 9.00 - 9.45am (Breakfast Session)
Skype for Business and Polycom are changing the way organizations communicate and collaborate. During this session, Microsoft and Polycom experts will address best practices around getting the most out of your Skype for Business and Polycom deployments. From finding the right partner to help with your journey to driving end-user adoption, Polycom and Microsoft will share their experiences from the field.
Session 3 & 4: Technology Deep Dive into Polycom Voice and Video for Office 365
Tuesday, September 27 – 4.00pm
Wednesday, September 28 – 10.00am
Do you have technical questions around deployment of Skype for Business or Office 365 and Polycom products? Our Solution Architects and Microsoft MVP’s will present Polycom’s collaborations solutions and how they integrate with Skype for Business and Office 365. They will be available to answer any technical questions you might have around deployment, product updates, and voice and video endpoints.
Session 5: How to Prepare for the Cultural Evolution of Video: Strategies for Success from a Microsoft and Polycom customer
Thursday, September 29 – 10.00 - 10.45am
Video is transforming the way employees communicate and collaborate. Preparing for video requires an organization to think beyond the technology and evolve people and culture. Hear best practices from Polycom’s VP of Global Solutions Marketing, Amy Barzdukas and first-hand experience from Chris Bryant, Sr. Vice President, Enterprise Applications & Technology at Operation Smile
Expo Hall Theatre 4 Session: Complete Collaboration with Polycom Voice and Video for Office 365
Thursday, September 29 – 2.10pm
Trying to determine a device strategy for Skype for Business and Office 365? Working through interoperability challenges between Skype for Business and your other voice and video endpoints? Polycom helps global organizations with these questions every day. Discover why 70% of customers choose Polycom when choosing the right partner for Skype for Business collaboration.
See how Polycom and Microsoft joint solutions can transform collaboration across your organization. We can’t wait to see you there!
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.
I read with interest Oleg Vishnepolsky’s piece on ‘Do NOT Work from home’ if you want to progress in your career. I have to say it read like an article from an era, when we had dial-up internet, people could only work between 9-5, and church and paper shops were the only places open on a Sunday.
Like many others commenting, I am also going to disagree with you Oleg, because working for a video solutions provider, means I can work from home or in fact anywhere I choose.
Being a professional working mother who is reporting to a direct-line manager situated in the US, means I have many demands on me to be flexible. From dealing with nursery drop-offs to dialing into important meetings at 8pm – which, I am glad I can do, from home in the comfort of my own surroundings and not at my desk in Slough (45 mins away).
There is a mention of career progression being stunted due to not being ‘physically present’. Surely most people these days want to work for an organisation that trusts its employees to get the job done, as opposed to working within set hours at a set location?
I know that there is still a 9-5 culture in some organisations and even in specific job roles. However, in the near future, this is set to change as more millennials join the workforce. They particularly value the idea of flexibility with 45% of them saying it takes precedence over pay when choosing a new job. With this in mind, I suspect there will be more demand for flexible workplaces that also provide career progression opportunities.
In fact, I am actually a case study of how it can be achieved. I have worked in my current position for nearly five years, and in that time I have been lucky enough to have been promoted three times, and have two children in between. I have possibly worked from home during half of that time, and having a boss in the US means I only see him for half of his day too. So you could say I stood next to no chance in being promoted – but I managed it, so I am sure others can too.
In fact, in order to be successful if you are a home or flexibly worker, you can apply these tips to get you started:
1) Application: It goes without saying, ensure you apply yourself to the job in hand – start your day with a daily to-do-list of jobs and deadlines
2) Status Check: Ensure you meet with your manager to regularly set and review goals / objectives – and check status of those at least bi-weekly over video
3) Communicate: Make sure you engage with relevant stakeholders / peer group regularly over video to ensure they are aware of what you are working on and to keep on top of the agenda
4) Manage your time: Take time back if necessary, perhaps you had a deadline to meet which meant you worked until 9pm one evening, but as result you missed your spin class – take the time back and go to your spin class
5) Technology: It always helps to have the right tools in place, if you want to work from home or flexibly, invest in collaboration solutions – IM, Video, Email - are all ways you can stay in touch and stay present – without ‘being present’
Anywhere working (what was ‘working from home’) is quickly becoming a well-recognised workplace approach, in fact Lancaster University’s Work Foundation predicts that flexible working will be the main way of working for 70 percent of organisations by 2020. With a flexible work culture, no one is bound by geographical location which provides the capability to hire the best talent in the world, literally… The bottom line is you can have it all ways – you can have that flexibility to live your life and get ahead too.
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.
We have a very exciting and busy time coming up as Polycom will be joining Microsoft at their annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), July 10-14 in Toronto, Canada. This is a great opportunity for those attending, and particularly for our Microsoft partners who will be looking for new revenue streams with our Polycom voice and video solutions.
Partners can visit our booth #643 to learn more about Polycom’s strong partnership and interoperability with Microsoft, Office 365 and Skype for Business. The Polycom Partner team will be onsite to discuss and demonstrate how our products complete the end-to-end collaboration story and drive new revenue streams for our partners.
It’s simple…our certified solutions for Skype for Business and Office 365 easily light up our customers licenses so that they achieve rapid adoption and utilization, which assures that return on investment and higher levels of productivity that our customers seek. In turn, Microsoft partners are able to engage with customers deploying their own valuable skills and services that they have gained through their Microsoft competencies.
We want to illustrate how Microsoft partners can engage with Polycom to be part of this huge go to market that we have with Microsoft. The breadth and depth of solutions for Office 365 and Skype for Business that we at Polycom have results in this relationship. As a result, we create a long term, valued partnership with our customer and so can our partners.
As I say it’s simple……. what’s not to like?
At our booth, the solutions demonstrations will include:
The world’s first business media conferencing solution for Office 365 – Polycom® RealPresence Trio™
Polycom and Microsoft extend video collaboration to Office 365 – Polycom® Group Series
The first business media phones for the new Office 365 services – Polycom® VVX® phones
Simple and powerful collaboration software that drives Skype for Business video interoperability – Polycom® 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.