Organizations win when everyone team members are adequately empowered to communicate and collaborate on a regular basis – internally as well as with customers or strategic partners. When properly deployed, video conferencing can play an instrumental role. Of course, successful deployments require understanding and assessing possible challenges in order to identify strategic solutions in advance.
Below, Polycom’s Chris Thorson provides his insight into how organizations can ensure that video conferencing is a win-win for all involved.
WST: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing organizations as they focus on getting workers to adopt video conferencing?
Thorson: There are two primary challenges in getting workers to start embracing video. The first is technology based. Video conferencing has frankly not always been easy, and unfortunately, that past experience can serve as a roadblock when trying to get people to embrace video conferencing. We need to remember that getting people to initiate a video call can actually be easier than making an audio call when done right. If done wrong, it can lead to frustration and people not wanting to use the video system.
The second challenge is around getting people to overcome the idea of actually being on video. There needs to be more attention paid to explaining the value of having that face-to-face engagement, especially in an environment where team members are working in different facilities or need to engage from remote environments. Also, we need to remove the fear of feeling silly when on video by helping them set up their video environment to achieve great results. Nobody wants to look like they are in the witness protection program or sound like they are underwater when on a video call
WST: What steps can organizations take to overcome these challenges?
Thorson: Addressing the technology barrier starts with simplifying the user experience so that it’s intuitive to join a video call. This can mean integrating the video directly into an Outlook calendar or any host of other applications like SalesForce or Brass Ring where team members already feel comfortable. Technology such as our one-touch dialing means that users can simply walk into a conference room tap the “join” button and be connected to their call. The fewer steps someone must go through to start a call, the better.
It’s equally important to make sure that everyone is comfortable with video conferencing. Simply deploying technology and then assuming that people will use it rarely has desirable results. First, it’s important to enable everyone within the organization – not just those within leadership. Video conferencing can be a powerful tool enabling collaboration, but success there starts with empowerment and buy-in at all levels. Secondly, when people are on video, we want them to look and act their best so they are comfortable and can forget about the technology. That’s why we created some simple tips for better video conferencing known as Vidiquette.
WST: What should IT departments set as their top priorities in selecting video technology in order to ensure upgrades and/or migrations go smoothly and that users ultimately end up using AND loving the use of video collaboration?
Thorson: Understandably, when IT deploys video conferencing technology it must be scalable, affordable, and secure as a baseline, that goes without saying in order to set the stage for success. Also, any video system today must be interoperability not only with your communication platform of choice but also with the many video conferencing systems already deployed throughout the world. IT departments don’t want a closed system that can only connect employees. They need a system that connects to customers, partners and suppliers no matter the environment.
Ensuring that spaces are designed for video collaboration is also important. This is especially true as we see more open office environments. Having multiple people sitting next to each other in this type of space does not always translate to an enjoyable video conferencing experience. However, creating small huddle spaces and arranging the environment to accommodate video can yield positive results. Likewise, for larger more traditional rooms, think about the experience during the meeting. Innovative technology such as facial recognition and acoustic fencing means that cameras can automatically frame and follow participants so that they always look and sound their best no matter how they move around the room.
And it’s not always just about audio and video. New innovations in content sharing, like Polycom Pano, and touch panel monitors enable digital whiteboarding sessions whereby all participants, near and far, can see and share ideas as though they are truly in the same room.