Why deal with outdated video communication systems that prevent your team from having seamless, easy communication and collaboration? BlueJeans Director of Sales Engineering Robb Woods lends his expertise on crafting a better video conferencing experience in the workplace, so your employees stop loathing video conferencing—and start loving it instead.
Make Adoption A No-Brainer
Ensuring employees are successful using video conferencing software in the workplace is one of IT’s biggest obstacles. What are the keys to ensuring the adoption of video conferencing investments?
Robb Woods: We often think about a meeting as what happens once all parties are engaged on a video call. There is little consideration given to the effort that is unfortunately often required to even begin the meeting. Not knowing how, when, or if a user will even be able to join a meeting is incredibly frustrating.
By prioritizing ease of use during that very first, often-irritating step—entering the video meeting—you can ensure employees use (and reuse) your video conferencing investment. Find a solution that lets users connect with a single click, rather than a multiple-step process, and integrate it with your other collaboration tools so scheduling a video meeting feels effortless.
The after-meeting experience is very important as well. Many of us have conflicting schedules during the day and may need to join a meeting a little late or leave it a little early. Having a solution that provides exceptional recording and playback features helps keep people engaged and informed. I often review meeting recordings to make sure I captured all my action items.
The Evolution Of Video Conferencing
Video communications systems have changed a lot in the last few decades—and they're still rapidly changing today. What does the future look like for video hardware and software?
RW: Hardware bridging solutions for video are all but extinct now. Those who use them do so mainly because of the large investment already made in them. A fear of wasting money makes it hard for companies to move off these platforms, especially when the ROI of these units have not been fully realized yet.
Endpoints are also becoming more and more software-centric. We see so many solutions coming to market now that are built upon specialized software that is run on off-the-shelf hardware. These “huddle room” solutions have become so powerful in creating more video-enabled spaces at a fraction of the cost.
True Interoperability Is Vital
We hear a lot about “interoperability” in the IT and video conferencing world. What exactly is interoperability, and why is it especially crucial in the video conferencing world?
RW: True interoperability refers to having a video conferencing solution that works with existing hardware and software already in place in boardrooms—such as Cisco, Polycom, and Lifesize endpoints. It also means video conferencing works on a desktop without requiring complicated installations and downloads. Last, truly interoperable solutions allow you to connect with people from your network easily, which removes that “tax” people are used to facing in the first 15 minutes of virtually every WebEx, GoToMeeting, or legacy web conferencing call over the past decade. So it is not just the interoperability of devices, but also the interoperability of networks as well.
The bottom line is, interoperability is critical. Without it, you’re limiting your video conferencing abilities and more importantly, you’re limiting the people you can connect with. We do not live in a homogenous world, so why work in one?
Complete Security & Accessibility
Let’s talk about two crucial video conferencing solution features: accessibility and security. What do most video conferencing solutions lack in these areas?
RW: True global accessibility. Some providers may have a “cloud” solution, but it might have limited access in regions such as China or UAE. Some solutions may also lack in a single global IP address. This causes challenges for users to join calls.
Another piece to achieving maximum accessibility is having availability across multiple devices. Ensure your video calling system works well not only in meeting rooms but also on employee laptops, desktops and mobile phones to get the most usage.
From a security perspective, it is expected to have basic call encryption as part of a solution. Keeping the media of a call (audio, video, content) secure is paramount for many organizations. Another key aspect to security, though, is how well the service infrastructure is secured. This means making sure that service providers use secure data center facilities with very rigid access policies. The service should conduct penetration testing and code review, as part of their security practices in a robust policies and procedures environment.
All of this should be audited in an annual SSAE 16 SOC2 Type II audit. Companies should not just take a provider's word for their security practices. Providers should be validated by a licensed third party so you know what they are doing and what they're audited against to ensure protection.