Video conferencing solutions can be used in a variety of ways. This blog post describes use cases like home office, the improvement and optimization of your business processes and the provision of completely new services.
Working from Home (Home Office)
If your employees should work from home, video conferencing solutions offer many advantages for your employees. Travel expenses to get to work are eliminated. Working and private commitments are easier to reconcile.
Additionally, the separation of work and leisure time is disappearing more and more. The availability of the employee around the clock (including the time that should be reserved for private purposes) leads to more pressure. At the same time, informal and private contacts with colleagues decrease. This makes the employee feel isolated.
Your employees use workplaces in different spaces. In the company, at home (home office), in the coffee shop, in the car or public transport such as train, bus or plane.
Accessing and sharing files are important services, especially for collaboration in distributed teams or when working at a home office. Access to emails, data, and calendar synchronization, the publication of meeting schedules and coordination of tasks are important, too.
Special tools help to improve collaboration.
Video conferencing solutions usually support several features:
- Direct audio phone calls directly from the computer (softphone), but increasingly also via video.
- Unified Communications (one common user interface for many communication services, e.g. voice messages, emails, instant messaging, video messages, voice, fax, video, data, etc.).
- Access to calendars, schedules, documents, etc.
- Collaboration of teams or projects
Many vendors offer integrated video conferencing solutions. The advantage of these powerful tools is the very good integration of various features in a single product. The vendors of telephony solutions (mostly IP-based private branch exchanges) implemented add-ons for unified communications solutions, mostly including video conferencing. The cost of such solutions depends on many factors.
Alternatively, you can combine the best of different elements from different vendors following the “best-of-breed” approach.
Additionally, many cloud services are available. They can be implemented very quickly, are very scalable and charge calculable costs.
Optimization of Business Processes
You may be focused on improving and optimizing business processes. This also means increasing the productivity and efficiency of the company and automatically results in cost savings.
For extensive discussions and to eliminate the risk of misunderstandings, the use of video conferencing systems is advantageous for your employees.
Your users use either their personal computer or special high-end video conferencing systems. Besides, there is a growing need to integrate mobile users with tablet computers or smartphones (they must or want to stay integrated into business processes).
Video conferencing systems as a meeting tool increase the quality of decision-making in your company and minimize misunderstandings. Video conferencing systems shorten decision-making processes (no waiting for an appointment) and reduce travel expenses.
Desktop and room solutions have been around for many years. Especially at times when decisions have to be made very quickly, video conferencing systems offer many advantages. Perhaps there may exist an older system in your company waiting for its use.
But: in recent years, many new solutions have emerged, which are very flexible and much easier to handle. Invite your partner via email. Embedding a link to your real or virtual conference room should be enough for your partner to participate.
Clicking on the contact name or link connects directly to the conference. In earlier days installation of apps or browser plug-ins was required. Ask for solutions, where you don´t need any additional software except your browser. Pay attention to the support of mobile devices like smartphones.
Different solutions are available depending on your needs, the number of users and room size. From simple solutions for desktop computers or smartphones to very large solutions with video walls in event halls, there is the right solution for you.
Online Seminars (Webinars)
For online seminars or webinars, the video conferencing system transmits the trainer’s speech (audio only or with video) and the seminar handouts to many remote attendees. The participants use a return channel for interactive questions (e.g. via live chat, telephone or video) or feedback. Recordings of live online seminars or specially prepared teaching content (presentations, quizzes, exchange of learners with one another or with the trainer) support offline learning that is independent of time and place.
Some vendors offer solutions tailored specifically to the needs of education and training.
A further example of a simple “video conferencing technique” is the intercom system (with a microphone and video camera).
An external visitor asks for entry at the entrance door. An authorized employee sees the visitor’s image on his monitor. If the visitor is authorized to enter the company premises, the employee opens the door from afar.
Depending on the time of day, persons possibly located at different locations may open the door.
Integration of Social Networks
Integrating social networks into your video conferencing solution allows you to tightly connect with your partners via, for example, WhatsApp or Facebook. It helps in your business-to-consumer and business-to-business communication to better support your clients. Special platforms allow external social network users to communicate with your internal employees. This will intensify the dialogue with your (prospective) clients and contributes to customer loyalty.
This is an excerpt of my book „Selecting Video Conferencing Solutions“.
About the Author:
Ronald Schlager is independent trainer, consultant, book author and blogger covering topics of communications technologies and their applications.
Image source: pixabay.com, artist MagicDesk