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Why Aren't You Using Video Conferencing: An IT Perspective

Video conferencing has changed extensively and rapidly; the systems that were installed just three years ago are now reaching end-of-life, and new deployments must be equal if not better in order to reach a return on investment. Further to that, the cloud has allowed IT teams more freedom to specify where critical applications run. 

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With this in mind, we have teamed up with Cisco to present solutions that are both efficient and easy to use, so there is an answer to the question, “why aren’t you adopting video conferencing technology in your workplace?” 

For those working in IT, every mention of a new technology leads to a multitude of queries and questions. How will it integrate with current applications? Will staff be given adequate adoption training? Will support be offered from the provider or will IT be expected to be the champions of a new deployment? Of course, the extent to which your existing infrastructure must be changed depends entirely on your video conferencing provider. 

For example, Videocall have been working with international communications giant Cisco for a number of years, offering Cisco’s own endpoints and room systems as well as providing our own innovative cloud-based video conferencing, ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience). The importance of a scalable and reliable solution for enterprise businesses has been at the forefront of Videocall and Cisco’s minds. With IT managers constantly looking for ways to improve, without spending the earth, we’ve teamed up with Cisco to provide an IT team’s guide to VC, any why deployment and adoption are easier than you may think. 

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-          Will training and support be offered by the provider?

Often, IT teams can be expected to take on a great deal of accompanying duties after the installation of a video conferencing solution. From training up employees, generating new workflows and general technical support whenever a user runs into difficulty can actually make the solution more of a detriment than a plus. 

With this in mind, the provider of your video conferencing technology should be thorough as to what kind of end support is received. This, of course, depends entirely on the method of video conferencing you wish to employ. As an IT leader or manager, you need to know that new technology is implemented as simply as possible, so employees from the ground up understand what it is for, which daily operations may notice a change, and how best to cultivate a more advanced technological culture within your business.  

In terms of whose responsibility this task falls upon, a service provider, reseller, or installer must outline what level of service should be expected and who the first point of contact is for any issues or disruptions. Challenge them to define a service that requires a minimal amount of training. This all depends on the kind of environment your current business applications run through, which leads us to… 

-          How much of my current infrastructure needs to change to incorporate video conferencing?

To answer this question, we must first define what environment is native for all current business-critical applications. For example, if you currently host all your applications and data on an on-premise network, there will be a strong desire to integrate your video conferencing solution into this environment. For businesses that already use PaaS or SaaS environments, adding a video conferencing environment to your existing infrastructure is a plus. This is possible for companies using an on-premise cloud server, however is more difficult if your PaaS or SaaS applications run on a public cloud. 

In this instance, a hybrid cloud model may be more desirable as this allows for easy distinction between applications. Your financial applications can still run as part of your SaaS model on a private network, whereas your new Video as a Service (VaaS) can run via the public section of your hybrid cloud. Videocall’s VaaS platform, ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience) is 100% dedicated to offering customers the most efficient, reliable and high quality video conferencing infrastructure that is both system and device agnostic. 

ICE give users a powerful tool for unifying communications by allowing businesses to scale their video conferencing solution to the needs of their employees; this could be the implementation of a BYOD policy, the encouragement of home-based working, or repurposing existing office space into a variety of meeting and co-working spaces.  ICE is so intuitive and easy to use that the process is more about awareness and familiarisation, requiring little training and few changes to existing workflows. Cisco Touch 10

ICE’s latest incarnation is ICE Join, a functionality that allows you to enter a room and join a conference with just one touch on Cisco endpoints, including the Cisco Touch 10 and the more traditional RC6 remote control. 

-          How can I convince upper management that security will not be compromised?

IT teams can be constrained with their choice of technological deployment due to the high risk of security breaches that come as part and parcel of any change to tech infrastructure. Although both standard video conferencing and more contemporary cloud service providers have endeavoured to stay on top of security, there is still a worry (more often from upper management) that the big, uncertain cloud is an area fraught with dangerous people angling to learn company secrets or steal reams of data. 

In reality, security for cloud services is one of the highest priorities for many providers and the entire concept is safer than many might think. With the option of private, public and hybrid clouds, the applications that contain sensitive information can be contained in dedicated and highly secure areas. Edge servers can be used to run video conferencing data, so no company firewalls are breached whatsoever. 

-          How can I ensure the powers-that-be that video conferencing will be useful, and provide ROI?

Recommending a video conferencing solution means either replacing, or seeing a decrease in, the use of currently popular (if not inefficient) methods of communicating. Telephone, email and face-to-face meetings may work within some businesses, but as the world outside the office changes and adapts, so too must the culture within the workplace. 

The concept of abstract working patterns is not a new one; video conferencing has been a part of the office environment in some shape or form since the early 80s. Convincing management that VC has changed from a novelty into a daily occurrence takes proof. Use cases, funding models and how best to encourage widespread adoption are key to ensuring your decision to use VC is the right one. This can be done by speaking to consultants, such as ours, who will clearly define what you need, why you need it and how best to use it – so both managers and IT can work together to create a culture of communication. Furthermore, costs are reduced without detriment to quality, performance or breadth of service.

IT leaders will be savvy as to the changes in the video conferencing industry, and how simple it has truly become. Convincing those holding the purse strings will be simpler as the breadth of service becomes clearer. To discover more about how easy video conferencing is, we’ve teamed up with Cisco for our latest whitepaper, download it here.

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