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So far John has created 165 blog entries.

The Value and Demand for Room-Based Videoconferencing Continues to Grow

As businesses invest more in the globally-connected workforce, it’s not uncommon to find more organizations with employees in multiple locations scattered across the world. As such, videoconferencing solutions that streamline real-time communications between teams of employees, independent contractors, and managers have never been more-in-demand. While traditional desktop-based videoconferencing has been the linchpin of online business collaboration for years, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and large enterprise organizations alike, have recently begun turning to room-based conferencing solutions for more cost-effective, intuitive, and streamlined collaboration.

A Global Shift Toward Videoconferencing

A recent survey by Wainhouse Resource of Duxbury, Massachusetts found that of 4,700 end users of videoconferencing surveyed, 94 percent believe that the biggest benefit of the technology was increased efficiency and productivity throughout their organizations. On top of that, because video calls typically have a defined start- and end-time, 88 percent reported that discussions were also impacted in a positive way, tending to be more focused and less littered with chitchat. As videoconferencing continues to prove its benefits to connected-businesses, more are looking to adopt the technology in 2016.

The Benefit of Face-to-Face Interaction

While conference calls are great, there is so much lacking in a conversation when you can’t see the other participants—especially when there are 50 or 60 of them. Beyond being able to hold employees accountable (no more sleeping in teleconferences for you!), the connection that co-workers and customers gain from face-to-face interaction is often strengthened by visual cues and nonverbal communication. There’s nothing worse than the silence on the other end of the line after pitching your boss or client a new idea, waiting to hear whether they’re on board or think you’ve just said the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard. At least with videoconferencing you […]

By |May 3rd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

An Epidemic of Stress: Why Your Employees Need to Get a Life

In today’s fast-paced and increasingly technological society, Americans are statistically working harder and putting in longer hours—but at a cost. It appears ‘driven’ just might become the new ‘stressed,’ as many struggle to find work-life balance while their health and on-the-job productivity suffer as a result. If your employees are suffering from burnout, learn why—and how collaborative technologies can help.

Today’s Stressed Out Workforce, By The Numbers

You may have heard chatter in the office about how stressed your employees feel—or may even feel yourself—but the hard and fast data surrounding the plight of the overworked in this country is downright disconcerting. The most recent Gallup poll on American work habits found that U.S. employees work an average of 47 hours per week, and almost 40 percent grind for 50 hours or more.

Here’s another way to look at it: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that daily, the average person aged 24 to 54 with children spends 8.9 hours per day on work and related activities, leaving little time to care for others (1.2 hours) or engage in household activities (1 hour). For many, it appears ‘life’ has been removed from ‘work-life balance.’

The Effect of Stress On Productivity and Performance

A study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 29 percent of Americans are “quite a bit or extremely stressed at work” while a substantial 40 percent say their position is “very or extremely stressful.” An abundance of stress can lead to poor employee physical and mental health as well as an increase in turnover, absenteeism, and poor performance.

Whose Problem Is It?

For parents of small children, expecting mothers or caretakers of elders, some companies have tried to lessen the work-life burden by offering […]

By |April 13th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Boost Innovation and Productivity with Video Collaboration

Collaboration has long been a key to business success. As the global economy continues to expand and the number of remote workers rises every day, finding efficient ways for teams to collaborate—whether across town, states, or international borders—becomes increasingly important.

Seamless communication leads to more effective collaboration and the ability to bring products and services to market faster. Video collaboration tools help prevent misunderstandings that can occur through telephone or email communications, while boosting productivity and the potential for businesses to innovate.

Video Collaboration: “See” How It Can Help Your Business

The average businessperson sends and receives 122 emails per day and spends 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings, according to some reports. And that’s not counting the time spent traveling to and from those meetings.

There are also plenty of times in a typical workday that the potential for optimal innovation and productivity is diminished due to distractions. In a Salary.com report, 89 percent of office workers admitted to wasting time each day, with 61 percent saying they waste at least 30 minutes.

Today’s popular open office environments exacerbate the problem. While open office environments encourage collaboration, studies show they reduce productivity. In fact, 41 percent of workers recently reported that they could not concentrate in their open office environment, leading to an average loss of 86 minutes per day.

Companies that embrace video collaboration tools can help their employees get those valuable minutes back. Many set up informal huddle spaces with video collaboration tools to boost productivity while minimizing distractions, or dedicated video conference or telepresence spaces to improve concentration. Today’s immersive telepresence technologies help conference participants focus on the person speaking, rather than background distractions like a bustling office space.

With varying levels of required investment, integrating video […]

By |April 7th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Will the Latest Collaboration Technology Render Email Obsolete?

Imagining a workplace without email seems downright impossible. For almost three decades, email has been the top method of communication between employees, business owners, customers, and clients. This gives us hundreds of messages, cc’s, forwarded information, and shared content—all in the course of one typical day.

But the technological realm is evolving toward newer modes of communication, capable of exceeding current standards of internal communication without wasting worker time or energy. In fact, the latest collaboration technologies could overtake email in terms of efficiency, usability, and productivity.

Eliminate Traditional Email Inefficiencies

In 2015, 122 business emails were sent and received per user per day. This figure continues to grow and is expected to average 126 messages by the end of 2019.

So it’s clear that email will never completely go away. Rather, modern businesses need to focus on making the process more efficient. Sifting through inboxes, scanning messages you’re cc’d on, searching emails to retrieve lost information, and organizing correspondence into electronic folders is a major time sink.

Moreover, accidentally replying to mass emails can result in data breaches or confusion, and the only way to create and share content is inefficient through this platform: Saving, altering, and uploading documents, attaching them to emails, and sending them to coworkers is a risky process. Recipients may not see the message and attachments immediately, and even if they do, they may misinterpret what needs correcting. Indeed, the current email system drains employee time—and if these issues aren’t corrected, new technology will take its top spot.

Explore Alternatives to Email

In fact, new technologies are already responding to these problems and making entrepreneurs question why we so heavily rely on email. For example, new cloud platforms for communication not only streamline these processes; they encourage […]

By |April 4th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Sales Slumping? Web Conferencing Can Help

For B2B businesses, time is money, and deploying the right tech for your business can mean more of both. Time wasted doing tasks better left to advanced applications means time lost nurturing leads and closing deals. Investing in web conferencing tools can change that, leaving you time and resources to better run your business – and generate higher sales while doing it.

Distinguish Video from Web Conferencing

By now, most B2B businesses understand how video conferencing can provide more employee mobility and better communication, but incorporating web conferencing not only allows better communication among employees, it can significantly improve sales.

In a web conference, users share content through the Internet, generally using audio and visual effects; its purpose isn’t peer-to-peer interactions, which are crucial for B2C companies. Think of it this way: A video conference allows you to look someone in the eye; a web conference lets you look through the same eye at the same content – a powerful tool if used well.

Web Conferencing to Boost Sales

Web conferencing involves screen sharing and co-browsing platforms, both of which facilitate better engagement – and better engagement organically leads to higher revenues. Screen sharing allows an observer to keep tabs on multiple screens at once, letting users see each other’s actions in real-time. Co-browsing – another element of web conferencing – enables teams to navigate the Internet at the same time, showing multiple individuals the same screen as they research. Use of co-browsing increases collaboration among teams, and there is no room for miscommunications relative to websites. Both of these functions mean better clarity and a shortened sales funnel.

Investing in technology that will lead to better quality leads means stronger sales. In fact, early tech adopters have a 50 percent […]

By |March 29th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

New Style IT: Are Your Employees “Tech Empowered?”

Today, IT is at the forefront of the business universe, no matter your industry or your size. Technology is everywhere – empowering employees, increasing productivity, and streamlining collaboration and project completion – while making more traditional “old fashioned way of doing business” virtually obsolete.

So, the question isn’t is technology a priority in your organization, the question should be are your employees tech-empowered. Embracing the New Style of IT is the only way to stay ahead of the technology learning curve. Ensuring your employees are “tech empowered” can lead to flexible, efficient collaborations, and simplified functionality. To encourage tech-empowered employees, master the four categories of current tech trends, and then actively incorporate them into your day-to-day operations.

Master These Major Tech Categories:

Mobility

In the 21st century, no tech-savvy employee wants to be confined to a cubicle for 40+ hours a week. Employees today, especially the younger set, realize there are alternatives to the typical workplace environment. They can now work from a home office, from a coffee shop, or on an airplane, giving them complete freedom and mobility. Innovations in enterprise collaboration techniques allow employees to use myriad devices and apps to create comprehensive, collaborative shared workspaces—ultimately encouraging teamwork and increasing overall efficiency.

Collaboration

With dozens of collaboration apps on the market, more and more employees are reaping the benefits of working as a team while away from the office. Employees are discovering new methods of streamlined collaboration techniques, such as virtual whiteboards and hybrid video conferencing. Easier collaborative efforts directly result in increased productivity.

Cloud Applications

Adopting the cloud will allow your business to integrate new technologies into your old systems with relative ease, making the transformation as painless as possible for employees. Most cloud solutions offer high […]

By |March 16th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

The Evolution of Enterprise Collaboration

The term enterprise collaboration is fairly broad, but it generally describes the ways in which people work together in our new digital and mobile driven business landscape. Both inside and outside of the office. The autonomy Millennials and Gen-Xers demand from their careers has spread to the business world as a whole, and today digital connectivity makes collaboration easy, allowing people the freedom to work from anywhere—no longer feeling tied to an office, no longer being required to work the traditional 9-to-5, Monday to Friday job. Enterprise collaboration is the new goal of every dynamic business. In today’s workplace, employees can instantly connect via Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices giving us a new way to work. Let’s take a look at the evolution of enterprise collaboration.

The Mobile Employee

A recent article in SearchUnifiedCommunications.com makes it clear that though mobile employees are a definite trend, and one that will continue growing, according to Nemertes Research, “these kinds of workers typically represent no more than 20% of a typical workforce.” That said, the key phrase is “continue growing” – mobile employees have unique needs, requiring IT groups to have their fingers on the pulse of network and device security and application performance across wired and wireless networks. They also must be prepared to support user-owned devices, ensure there is sufficient wireless network availability, and that huddle spaces and small conference rooms are equipped with good quality video conferencing tools. Collaboration, though, means more than just video-chatting with a teammate.

From White Walls to White Boards to Whole Screens

It was pretty revolutionary when the “old fashioned whiteboard” went from dry erase markers to interactive digital collaboration. But today, people are expecting more. Meeting rooms are walled with touch-sensitive screens […]

By |March 10th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Pinpointing Unified Communications’ Success: Why IT Leaders Have to Shift their Focus

No company wants to invest in a technology only to struggle to find its value or prove its ROI. Unfortunately, though, a recent study by Nemertes Research found that over half—57 percent of respondents to its 45-company inquiry—reported feeling that way about their unified communications (UC) efforts.

For such a high functioning technology with countless potential operational benefits, this information is a bit disheartening. It begs one question: Why? Where are these companies falling short in their quests to leverage the power of their UC investments? The answer might just be found in the way IT leaders approach UC efforts and measure their success in the first place. Let’s take a look.

More Highlights from the Study

For their survey of UC effectiveness, Nemertes Research queried 50 senior IT leaders, most from companies with 2,500 or more employees. Below are some notable statistics from the research:

Thirty-two percent of respondents felt their UC success was neutral.
Twenty-four percent of respondents felt their UC efforts were altogether unsuccessful.
Forty-six percent of respondents said tracking UC usage by employees was their main metric for measuring success.
Ten percent of respondents said they examine network-related issues, trouble tickets, throughput value or other application performance metrics.

Consider that the last time Nemertes Research conducted their Unified Communications and Collaboration Benchmark study, 61 percent of respondents rated their UC efforts as successful. This year’s sharp drop to 43 percent means we need to take a closer look at the UC marketplace and how IT leaders are measuring success.

Why IT Leaders Need to Shift Their Focus

The statistics above are telling for several reasons, especially those that speak to metrics. It’s interesting to note, for example, that survey respondents who described negative UC experiences also reported both low employee usage […]

By |March 1st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

The Legal System: How Videoconferencing Is Bringing the Gavel Down

Communication is essential to the legal industry. For decades, law firms have relied on phones, fax, and email to do business—but is there a better way? Effective collaboration is critical to any industry, but a miscommunication or oversight in this field can lead to particularly dire consequences. Meeting face to face, however, is not always economically or physically possible. Even simply scheduling an in-person meeting can be remarkably difficult.

Videoconferences are an attractive solution to this issue. These platforms allow clients, counselors, expert witnesses, and other legal specialists to meet virtually, saving time and other important resources. With a comprehensive videoconferencing solution, teams can share documents or take notes. This keeps everyone up-to-date regarding changes in a case as soon as they happen.

Put Videoconferencing to Work in Your Firm

This technology can make a significant impact in your law firm. You may imagine speaking with clients or scheduling a quick consultation for an upcoming case, but there are many other perks to videoconferencing. For example: 

You can conduct training sessions across several different practices, connecting participants in real time and allowing them to share ideas and content. This is an ideal way to guide junior colleagues or teams as a whole. This can also help ensure everyone is up to speed on a firm’s or court’s guidelines and industry requirements. Simply launch a training session or similar program, and allow individuals to complete the requirement at their discretion. Furthermore, while a legal team is going through training, personnel can seamlessly communicate with senior members and their peers for advice—through an internal chat function or a quick video call. Alternatively, teachers can host video training sessions across virtual classrooms. Approved guests can join these lectures just as they would […]

By |February 26th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud: What You Need to Know

The adoption of cloud technology has the potential to support operational and organizational efficiencies, with a recent study identifying three key benefits:

Cost savings were identified by 42 percent of respondents.
Getting things done more efficiently (40 percent).
Better allocation of IT resources (38 percent).

But over and above these benefits, the research was also able to establish that the organizations that were actively employing the cloud were seeing much higher revenue growth rates. These amounted to a significant 46 percent increase for on-premises cloud and 51 percent when off-premises cloud technology was used.

Sounds great, right? But when you are considering a move to the cloud, how do you determine which cloud option is right for your business? Many of today’s enterprises need a videoconferencing solution, for example, that can accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce, using an increasingly diverse scope of mobile devices, yet remain private and secure.

Businesses that require constant collaboration or exclusively communicate over the phone or in meeting rooms can still get by with a small onsite data storage system, or “private cloud,” providing they have the IT people in place to run it properly.

Public clouds are just what the name implies: Public (and usually free). A service provider (think Dropbox) makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet.

Companies are interested in hybridization, though, because it’s highly flexible. They can keep sensitive information in their private cloud, while placing more routine, peripheral activities in the public cloud, thereby freeing up even more space in their onsite data storage systems. Hybrid cloud simply means two clouds that share a connection, a community cloud and a private cloud, two public clouds, or any other mixture of cloud technology that brings two […]

By |February 18th, 2016|Blog|3 Comments
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