Video conferencing is becoming increasingly important for unified communications solutions. This part specifically describes the use of video technology. Part 1 of this article series describes different tools for team collaboration.
Video Conferencing Systems
In order to be able to carry out more extensive discussions and eliminate the risk of misunderstandings, the use of video conferencing systems is advantageous. Users use either their personal computer or special high-end video conferencing systems. In addition, there is a growing need to integrate mobile devices such as tablet computers or smartphones (more and more mobile workers need to stay integrated with their business processes).
Video conferencing systems as a meeting tool increase the quality of decision-making (minimizing misunderstandings). They shorten decision-making processes (e.g., faster appointments) and reduce travel expenses.
Another application is the online seminar, in which the video conferencing system transfers the trainer’s lecture (only audio or in combination with video) and the seminar handouts to many seminar participants. The attendees may use a return channel for their questions or feedback.
Another application example of a simple “video conferencing technique” is the intercom system (with a microphone and video camera). With this solution, an external visitor can ask for admission at the factory entrance gate. An authorized employee sees the image of the visitor on the monitor of his desktop computer. If the visitor is authorized to enter the company site, the authorized employee opens the door by pressing a specially programmed function key. Depending on the time of day, different contact persons in the company (possibly working at different locations) have the right to open the door to visitors.
Video Advertising, Video Messages
If you want to distribute videos (e.g. product information, commercials) in a specific order or at specific times within the company or to certain partners, video streaming services are very helpful. They may be implemented in your network or at service provider side.
IP-based video surveillance allows the integration of various analog and digital video systems into your network. Integration with your existing infrastructure better utilizes your infrastructure and simplifies administration (integrated management of infrastructure, services, security, and users).
Integration of Building Automation Systems
By connecting the Unified Communications solution to your building automation systems, you can control many processes in your building via communication technology. Example: with the IP telephone set, building shading, temperature settings in individual rooms, ventilation of conference rooms and lighting dimming can be controlled. By using intelligent communication technology, switches can be saved, alarm servers can be integrated or necessary energy can be used more efficiently.
Is used to display the presence state of employees to certain group members. Whether they are at work or at home, on the phone or on vacation, the service prevents unsuccessful calls to these persons. Thus, each user saves working time, which he can use better elsewhere.
Tip: for your company-internal introduction of presence service as part of your Unified Communications solution, you should definitely consult affected employees, employee representatives, and lawyers.
Voice over IP – Chances, Changes, Challenges (Courseware)
Unified Communications and Co-operation (Courseware)
Voice over IP Technology (Courseware)
IP-based Video Surveillance (Courseware)
SIP – The Key to VoIP (Courseware)
About the Author
Ronald Schlager is an independent trainer, consultant, book author and blogger focused on communications technologies and their applications. Ranked #23 of Onalytica´s List of Top 100 Influencers of “Unified Communications” (2016)