Is video conferencing right for your business?

Ricoh Transform is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh Ireland on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.

Video conferencing technology not only saves your business time and money, but also increases your productivity. The proven one-stop communication and collaboration service connects individuals in your business with each other and with clients.

This method of communication is more in demand than ever as companies make the change towards mobility in the modern workplace. If you’re not sure whether video conferencing is right for your business, I’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the technology.

 What are the latest developments in video conferencing and related areas?
One of the key areas of progress is the development of interconnected systems, which offer secure and reliable multi-site connections. This is important as it allows people working from home or connecting in from a different room to join the same meeting. These systems make it possible for people to interact and engage via the cloud, which enables seamless connectivity for employees working from a variety of locations – be that in the office, from remote sites or at home – as well as customers and partners based in different regions and time zones.

Another development is the smooth streaming of video and synchronised sound, which is essential to effective communication. The latest systems automatically select the optimum picture resolution and picture frame, allowing meetings to proceed without buffering and interruption.

Touchscreen technologies are also becoming more commonplace and intuitive. This offers a whole new dimension to video conferencing as users in remote locations can collaborate more effectively and efficiently. Meeting attendees can write or draw on their screens with an electronic pen and this information is shared in real-time, allowing for improved collaboration and decision-making.  The latest solutions can even support intelligent character recognition; this integrated technology converts freehand characters into editable text.

 In others words, an international research and development team with offices in Dublin, Berlin and San Francisco will find that video conferencing and related systems can make working together more straightforward and more successful.

Are usage levels increasing and if so, what’s driving demand?
Usage levels are increasing in Ireland but not at the rate we are seeing in some other markets. The main movers in Ireland are smart organisations that are embracing more mobile communication technologies and ways of working. They tailor workplace services, including collaborative communication technology, to the individual requirements of their employees, who can then communicate effectively and easily from any location. The move to more flexible and mobile workstyles is really driving demand. Businesses that can’t facilitate these new ways of working will be left behind.

Employees also play a big part in driving demand. Outside of business, people use video calling services such as Skype and Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends across the world. These channels are easy to use and incredibly accessible, so people – particularly the younger generations – expect to have access to similar technologies in their job.

Sustainability is also important. Video conferencing helps to minimise the carbon footprint of businesses by reducing the amount of time employees spend on the road and in the air. This also helps employees to be more productive with their time and this, in turn, can help to improve their work/life balance, a major priority for the workforce nowadays.

What are the challenges of adopting video conferencing systems for businesses?
One of the main challenges is compatibility. There are many different video conferencing technologies. To facilitate collaborative cross-business communication, it is essential that all of the video conferencing systems deployed within a business share the same, mutually compatible platform. These devices need to ‘talk’ seamlessly with each other.

To meet the requirements of various work settings, video conferencing technology should be selected from a common range to facilitate multi-person meetings, dedicated personal devices for use in the home office and smartphone/tablet-based applications that support mobile communication. The technology should also connect seamlessly to the wireless/cellular network.

What developments are you anticipating in this area looking to the future?
We believe that there will be an accelerated shift to cloud-based services, making video conferencing more accessible to everyone, everywhere – regardless of whether they are using it at a desktop, in a conference room or over a mobile device.

Cloud solutions such as Cloud Based Virtual Meeting Rooms can provide the interoperability between different protocols, allowing everyone to communicate, whatever system or device they are using. Moving video conferencing to the cloud enables enterprises to hand these interoperability worries over to their cloud vendors to avoid being saddled with incompatible equipment.

To find out more about how you can move your business towards more flexible workstyles with video conferencing technologies, visit the Ricoh Ireland website or contact one of our experts.

Ricoh Transform is no longer active. You can keep up to date with the latest thinking from Ricoh Ireland on our new blog, Ricoh Insights.

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