It is no secret that technology has taken part of human interaction, and swallowed it whole. It started with email, AOL Instant messenger, and followed with text messaging and so on and so on. I remember when text messaging "came out"(wow, I'm old). Despite the fact that cell phones weren't allowed in school, me and most of my friends had perfected sending a text message during class with your hand under the desk by 10th grade. Now kids are perfecting this a lot earlier than 10th grade.
I am sure we have all seen the studies of how social interaction, human communication, the English language and much more are at risk, or already failing and declining because of the use of technology as a channel for communication. There is information about social anxiety and communication disorders and the link that they have with overuse of these technologies like texting, instant messaging, online forums and social networks like facebook and the likes. Did you know that it is acceptable to ask someone to be your girlfriend through an instant message, and only talk to them through technology channels- but not actually face to face? Now don't get me wrong- technology is great, but it's over saturation is effecting the way kids are communicating.
So now the question is, how do we fix this? I have to wonder if the recent shift towards video in the social world could help. Think about it, we have all of these great tools at our fingertips for today's youth to communicate face to face while also utilizing the desired technology.
- Facebook video chat
- Google Hangouts
- ...and more
Could these recondition our youth to communicate face to face through video instead of just passing text through different tech/social channels? These are all great social tools, and by introducing them to our youth, it will not only re-introduce them to this face to face communication idea, but possibly even prepare them for a future business world. With today's business video conferencing services and tools there is always the push back of people being uncomfortable on video. Not necessarily speaking in person, as today's youth, but the video piece.
Imagine, 10 years from now, when today's youth are flooding the workplace. They will be technologically advanced and adapt well to change because of the generation in which they grew up in, but maybe we can also salvage their communication skills and bridge people, companies, countires and contitnents together with the tools that are available to us today and in the future. It will be a standard of business communication, the rule- not the exception.
I wonder if it is possible to see the shift, I'm not quite sure myself. But perhaps between improving our education, and finding new ways to teach and guide the youth of the world, we can allow them to use the technology they are so desperate to have, but apply it in a beneficial way that will become a skill in itself for their future.
Let's hope so- otherwise, business proposals of the future will be filled with OMG's, ttyl, brb's and other bloody acronyms.
Want to learn more about Video Conferencing- Check out this white paper. Want to have a conversation with your child's undivided attention? Take their cell phone away at dinner :).
Often videoconferencing blogs are focused on selling one´s own product. There is another kind of blog that is very popular and it focuses on FAQs or frequently asked questions. You know... my screen is black what do I do type scenerios. One is created to sell, another to give tech support but what about considerations for a channel partner and their customers that go beyond the "great innovative product" and "tech support" argument? There are too few.
Channel partner strategies are so secret one would think they are so revolutionary that when the specific vendor rolls out his/her channel strategy that they will capture the entire world of resellers in one great swoop and 1000s of customers without coming up for air. The reality is quite the opposite. Most channel strategies are about filling segments of the "pie" eg. AV-integrators, Distributors and Value Added Resellers with the more the merrier model. In the end the channel strategy runs it´s course and for most this means lower profit margins, more neighborhood competition and less satisfied customers and partners.
Lets look at this from two sides of the coin 1-Channel Partner and 2-The End User.
1-The Channel Partner can very well come from any of those segments of the "Pie" however they are or should be most focused on the following areas:
a-Increases in Average Revenue Per
b-Strong product Mix
c-Cost of Sales
d-Increased Hit Rates
e-Increases in revenue per customer
g-Increases in sale of core product
h-Increases in overall Gross Profit
Each of these points one can go in depth on to discuss and is somewhat dependent on the make up of the sales staff. Not all videoconferencing reseller channels have a specific core product other than a specific product group made up of several brands. However with the market entry of VideoConferencing as a Service (VCaaS) these new clouds are helping sell core product. Easymeeting.net goes as far as offering suggestions of hardware bundles for desktop and conferencing rooms which goes in line with selling "core product" strategy and consideration.
One of the great challenges has been scalability and not necessarily only from a product perspective but from a sales and tech support perspective. Yes Polycom, LifeSize, Cisco etc... have global support centers from a tech perspective but not all have the scalability to support channel partners with little experience in selling videoconferencing products. What the main players have done is put the sales teams through training sessions however the customer needs and the technical requirements in order for video to work on a said network change as fast as the technology itself. There is not a day that goes by that I do not personally receive a question regarding something from a tech or use perspective that I have never heard before. A year in technology is a lifetime in other businesses. One has to consider how their sales staff will be supported locally and globally on deals.
The customer and what they are looking for and what benefits videoconferencing can provide are as numerous as blades of grass in a farmers field. Those ranking at the top can be summarized in one larger grouping - this grouping I call "Better Time". Save time, money, increases in collaboration and productivity, cutting the carbon footprint and a positive return on investment in months or even weeks are key. Add seeing body language while having a video call as very important. 60% of the way "you" are received is based on your body language only 6% based on what you hear. 94% in all is based on what one sees. Hummm so how important is a teleconference now?
Customers once bought on the notion of purchasing videoconferencing need to know in relatively simple terms "how does this support my company when I grow?"...and "how fast and easy is it to add more users?"... Can I use my laptop, MAC, smart phone and tablet or bring your own device "BYOD" ?
Channel Partners are looking for added and increased revenue streams while customers are looking to make an investment in something that will save them time and money while at the same time giving them an immediate ROI making them a champion internally. When selecting a videoconferencing service it is important to look at all of the points from a to n and all of the sub-points. Risk Reduction alone is a key factor in selection of new product for your portfolio. With VCaaS services there is no CAPEX (infra investment & development) needed as this is already made available by your VCaaS provider.
For Channel Partners and Customers there is an old addage that says "aim small, miss small" and this is something that Channel Partners and vendors across the globe have missed out on. It is better to get some business than no business - not every customer needs everything now... let them start small, show the benefits on a smaller scale and grow with the company. Customers start small, adopt into your internal communications practices and watch your investment pay for itself.
-Try it out 14 days
One of the biggest questions surrounding videoconferencing is not what the benefit is but the real return on investment and how to capture that information in real time. Since the beginning of "videoconferencing time" when the first systems were delivered to large enterprises as the latest, greatest in new communications technology videoconferencing has always been sold with the perceived benefit being "reductions in travel expenditures..." as more players entered the market the argument had to be re-enforced with additional arguments that still range from "increases in productivity, distance learning, better collaboration, and increases in productivity". However a well skilled "naysayer" to making the capex (capital expenditure) was and has been "well we need to increase bandwidth" and "it has to work over existing infrastructure/internet but if we need to boost our MPLS to support it... forget it...!" and so. Easily brushed off. Then add the fact the videoconferencing CAPEX has been made by an IT manager and the system is solely for "key meetings" use and the majority of companies never realized a positive ROI as the real beneficiaries have never been trained or allowed to use the system.
Over the past few years several providers from usually outside of the industry (non videoconferencing vendors) have offer measuring tools that show how often a system is used, even how many miles/kilometers have been "not traveled" and prior to the world economic crisis -Co2 emissions / carbon footprint data directly connected to you, the user not traveling on that plane. All great tools, all with some degree of success in proving return on investment (ROI) but none have really been able to funnel all of this information in one vertical portal (vortal). The folks behind easymeeting.net have thought about this and created their own corporate portal which is a tool that allows users, travel managers and of course CFO´s to monitor use of their videoconferencing systems. By comparing usage data from period to period one can see how often videoconferencing has been used and then can easily match it to their monthly travel expenditures report. Time Well Spent!
Additionally there are "soft ROI" features that should be considered. These are not necessarily those type that give an immediate bottom line savings but help support a long term ROI strategy for a company. The corporate portal affords in addition to drill down usage statistics, FAQ´s and Support information, frequently used videoconferencing numbers / systems by system and location as well as an announcement message board for users to post important messages and reminders. The corporate portal also affords a WebTV archive. WebTV is the recording service offered to easymeeting.net customers and the archive allows the user to store important video presentations. The connections center gives in depth information on sharing presentations and documents and more.
Security: Most Corporate Portal users require a user name and password as per internal corporate security to some if not all of the areas within the corporate portal. Many leave the main landing page open and simply require security for WEBTV, Connections, etc...
Examples of Success: easymeeting.net has a Fortune 500 strategic partner whom had a mix of hardware based videoconferencing systems from Tandberg to Polycom. With more than 90 global offices they were using videoconferencing less than 4 hrs per month across the globe. Once they became strategic partners of easymeeting.net they quickly became rabid users of the videoconferencing services and portal. As of today they average more than 100 meetings a month in Scandinavia alone! I am sure their ROI has been met! Why? they can monitor the use by location, they have a layer of easy to use services applied to their existing videoconferencing services and have embedded video meetings into their daily communications methodology!
Not until now has there been such a ROI tool with both hard and soft ROI features and one that helps the user have a great experience. If you would like to learn more about the easymeeting.net corporate portal please contact easymeeting.net by clicking here
As communication improves much in thanks to the internet, the world as our parents use to say "is getting smaller" and it is. While there are pockets of global collaboration between schools in the United States and the world the greatest challenge other than time zones has been shockingly enough technology and it´s related costs.
Global collaboration has long been localized in the wealthiest of school systems and this not just isolated to the United States but everywhere. School budgets are being slashed or are not scaling with the growth and needs of the ever changing world. The schools that need it most are found in areas that do not have the budgets or infrastructure in place. These students will be the majority of tomorrow´s tax payers and salary earners. Budgets and such aside...
Videoconferencing in the classroom has always been the most ideal end user for the manufacturers of videoconferencing for various reasons. From "seeding the future customer" to "being in tune" with those whom are most "comfortable with technology" and those whom ahev developed and adopted "e-learning" and "distance learning" into their teaching models. Again comes the budget, the technology, the usability factor and well for many who have not yet experienced videoconferencing the why and how.
Videoconferencing in the classroom is an evolving teaching method, albeit for the few now...but a method that students are forcing school systems to look at further. The students of today have taken their private technology into the school system and later into the workplace. They, the students are using Skype, Facetime and other free video chat tools that are the juvenile variant of video conferencing but a necessary launching pad for the future user of business quality services. According to Wainhouse Research, a leading videoconferencing research firm, about 25% of school systems in the United States now have videoconferencing of some type as a supplement to their curriculums with video education.
VideoConferencing breaks down the barriers of time, location and expense. No longer does one have to plan far ahead to schedule a meeting/call. Visual communication eliminates distance and location challenges - seeing body language. Re: expense as in investments in videoconferencing have come down significantly and via cloud services one can essentially purchase a subscription for the services and even hardware at a low monthly investment.
However as with any corporate user of videoconferencing the effectiveness of depends on the teacher and how well they utilize it. We have all seen videoconferencing system after system sitting on a shelf and full of dust. A relic of yesterday.
So what are some of the benefits other than those already given here?
- Connect remote students to their teacher (classroom or individual student)
- Knowledge Sharing (bring experts into the classroom)
- 2-way Communication
- Foster new interest and excitement into learning
- Re-foster new interest and excitement into age old subjects now considered less interesting (History, Language)
- Create visuals of specific topics (Putting a face on a topic)
- Training (Practice Language Skills)
- Visual Dialogue (See, Learn, Teach language and culture)
There are some drawbacks or perceived ones from poor infrastructure & internet quality creates poor picture quality, echo & audio issues, support and service... I call these perceived ones because with little investment most can be rectified such as improvements in internet (infrastructure) quality, Sound, Audio, Support and Service are now for the most part covered by the new wave of videoconferencing companies. With cloud based services certain providers like easymeeting.net offer service and support in all packages in their subscription models. The video host (operator on video) will help train, connect and support the classroom videoconferencing service so dust will not collect on the system.
That being said what does it cost? Well it depends on what your needs are. Many classrooms use a simple desktop version which consists of a standalone videoconferencing system (all in one) that is ideal for small groups of students which runs from the $100-200 a month range plus a basic services package (depends on size) to conference room types that include displays, mounts etc... from about $400.00 a month and up again dependent on hardware needs. Some use web based or mobile device (fewer of these due to the fact that they are pretty new) and these come in all shapes, sizes and prices depending on the number of users.
One can say it will be commonplace in the next 5-10 years for students to meet same time classrooms in Paris and Morocco while in New York practicing their french, english and exchanging dialogue on what they did, what they bought and where they are going next weekend on video.
If you feel videoconferencing in the classroom is something for you... why not reach out to a videoconferencing company near you for more information. The future is here...embrace the technology that will create a better tomorrow.
The United States has watched the early settlements of the eastern parts have watched the suburbs grow and the cities die. Starting at the close of World War II (1945) with the GI BILL in place downtown´s everywhere became quickly devoid of it´s populus followed by business after business looking to re-establish itself in the suburbia of America.
Nearly 25 years after cities across the eastern half of North America began to "revitalize" which means in today´s glasses "bulldoze" everything in order be more attractive to "modern" businesses. Everything that was bulldozed was a major part of the identity of it´s home. What would Boston be without Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and the Paul Revere House... What would Hartford, CT be without Mark Twain´s House and the old 1793 Bull Finch Capitol building? These few remaining landmarks to the past have helped their host keep a connection with it´s identity but there are far too few that were pushed out of the way to make way for the highway. The vestiges are too many to mention without a tear to be shed.
Desperate measures were taken to try to ebb the flow of businesses and foot traffic from leaving their original host and this is unfortunately hardly understandable through today´s glasses.
Those cities that did perservere and survive like Boston were able to save enough of the past and incorporate it into the future. Also having a positive working relationship with the local university environment only helped keep "feet on the street". Old buildings bring new ideas.
Now videoconferencing how can this help and what does this have to do with small town America? Drawing upon a Letter to the Editor in an old New England newspaper from New London, Conn. (The Day) a letter to the editor commended a local Main Street Group (New London Main Street) for their efforts in revitalizing downtown New London. New London like many of those aforementioned cities that have seen it´s sons and daughter flee to new opportunities still holds a proud populus and a populus of that is proud of it´s history as a leading Revolutionary War Privateering port, a center of Whaling and The Submarine. However not having any other legs to stand on the city struggled after the close of World War II. A "main street" movement started in the United States and has helped dozens of cities and small towns become yet again attractive to businesses and residents.
George White a founder of the critically acclaimed Eugene O´Neill theater in nearby Waterford, CT. which has seen the likes of Michael Douglas, Danny Devito and more ply their trades in the hallowed halls commends the efforts of Main Street ARTICLE.
Their efforts from bringing an outdoor ice rink and supporting local festivals is highly commendable but more is needed. Talk of additional train stops at the historic Union Station to allow New York commuters to visit or locals to commute to New York with greater ease, there is talk of using the port to cut traffic on the highways but yet again more is needed. Investments in incubators and technology which seems yet foreign to the small towns in America that have no close ties or relationships to the institutions of higher education. There is a general disconnect in terms of understanding what is needed and small town America.
Videoconferencing as part of that investment in technology can help.
- Why sit in traffic to commute to meet someone?
- Why sit in traffic to go to work?
- Why sit on a train to commute to work and meet someone?
- Why commute to buy your groceries? why commute to the gym?
Because we are creatures of habit. It is said "You have to see someone and shake their hand to do business?" Is this true? It does help however seeing them on a live videoconference from the comfort of "local office anywhere" appears to be a good alternative. Customers in New York - sit in a car for 3hrs each way for a 1 hr meeting and then commute back. 1 meeting, 90% of 1 day wasted. Is that productive? Oh yes one can log on from the train and make calls from their car but is that "one" really focusing and being productive? I doubt it!
The benefit of videoconferencing is the gift of creating a better quality of life for the user, the family, the environment and downtown small town "anywhere". Videoconferencing is available, easy to use and affordable. Try it, learn to use it and love the return on investment. Your family and community will!
See how you, your business and your community can benefit!
Not only is it Friday, but it's the Friday before a 3 day weekend in the US and much of Scandinavia! But before we all pack up for the day and enjoy our weekends, it's time for our "Easymeeting of the week"!
Easymeeting.net has been working with a lot of different educational programs and Universities over the years and are proud to offer them a better way to connect, and educate! Today, we want to tell you about a distance learning program that has utilized our easyConference services and our webTv's!
Education is one of the most important pillars in every society, and in the past- has sometimes been limited with geographical boundaries, commuting issues, and exspenses. But we want to pass kudos along to one of our customers who have integrated Easymeeting.net services into their distance learning program for many years to connect rural learning centers, classrooms, and community colleges to seminars and lectures at larger institutions that would generally not be available to all of these students.
As if this new way of learning isn't cool enough, I had a flashback to the dreaded Mid Term and Final Exam periods of my life as we worked with the customer this week to identify some of their usage statistics and map out their return on the investment in Easymeeting services.
I may be assuming here, but I would guess that most of us remember final and mid terms as an exhausting experience filled with Red Bull, stress, and trying to remember how your professor described the logic and reasoning behind Statistics, or World History, or Biology(ahhh!).
Well, this distance learning center has made this time in the students lives a little bit more manageable with the Webtv services that they can replay lectures from earlier in the semester, and review sessions for studying purposes. GENIUS. The students are utilizing these tools at a steady rate throughout the semester with spiking results during mid terms and finals when they are in study mode. What is the solution to trying to decipher a semesters worth of notes in your chicken scratch? Watching the lecture again!
Easymeeting.net services provide TIME WELL SPENT in the office, and the classroom!
Good luck to all of the students in the middle of exams, and Happy Graduation to the Grads of 2012! Easymeeting is wishing you all a safe and happy 3 day weekend!
Want to learn more about Videoconferencing? Check out this Whitepaper or sign up for our 14 Day Free Trial!