Collaboration solutions need to be kept simple & standard

Conference calls. Meetings and Presentations. We all know them, we all have them. One of the keys to effective collaboration is leveraging the right technology…and making sure it’s easy to use.

Room control technology has become the standard of operations in many meeting rooms, boardrooms and training rooms where presentations and video conferencing activities take place. Traditionally these rooms, and the associated controls and technology, were designed and installed by an AV vendor.

The expectations of these room systems were to provide a solution that consolidates the control devices into a simple touch panel interface. Ideally this interface provides flexibility in operations and adapts to the needs of the end user. Along the way, customized features and micro-adjustments were added by more technical users and the support team, and before you knew it, the systems required technical support for even the most-basic meeting operations.  

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Traditional meeting rooms with presentation and video conferencing capabilities had many functions and management features that were IP-based, but oftentimes deployed using a proprietary AV network (or at best, an isolated AV-VLAN). This was a standard-practice for many years, as traditional AV vendors had limited experience with an enterprise-level network, therefore concentrated their efforts on the local AV, rather than a global Unified Communications (UC) approach.

By isolating these room systems, it became increasingly difficult to access or interact with other communication systems & applications, where UC (Voice/ Video calling, Instant Messaging & Presence) has become the primary driver for team collaboration & workforce efficiencies. This separation between systems affected calling capabilities, remote manageability, technical efficiencies and impacts the overall user experience, which in turn hinders adoption and usage.

Collaboration evolves…

With advances in UC, including Cisco video endpoints and infrastructure, room systems are considered an extension of the collaboration environment.  By approaching rooms and room systems with a broader vision, end-to-end solution for voice & video calling, room control and local presentations can all be managed by the enterprise IT/ UC team instead of the solely-focused AV team or a vendor’s proprietary control system program.

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Keep it simple, standard and start with the user experience

UC solutions need to support the enterprise, while focusing on the user experience.  Regardless of the technical requirements or room size, all Cisco video endpoints provide a common user interface, which equates to familiarity in operation and faster user adoption.  The more a collaboration / video conferencing system is used, the greater return there is on your investment, with reduced travel and increased collaboration capacities.

At SMP, we take an enterprise-wide approach to collaboration.  As a result, all users & endpoints can take advantage of key UC attributes, such as:

  • Accessibility – the ability to leverage key UC technologies which enable individuals to collaborate easily from any network, any device (room video systems, desktop or mobile device) and from any location.
  • Interoperability  with different kinds of devices, video systems and software solutions, both internally and business-to-business.
  • Quality  HD audio, video and content with advanced Speaker-tracking technology, wireless connectivity and room analytics, for an optimized meeting experience.
  • Consistency in operation – a reliable and familiar user experience, regardless of the type of meeting, number of participants or their location, all functioning with the same operational standards.
  • Simplicity in operation  advanced features include automating room controls, based on call status and joining scheduled meetings with One-Button-to-Push (OBTP) calendar integrations.

Consider the user experience instead of focusing on the technology and ask yourself if your business needs are being met today and can support tomorrow’s initiatives?  When planning upgrades, an organization should look at the current level of effort to manage their AV systems, the ease of operations and calling capacity to extend beyond the conference rooms.

Learn more about SMP’s Collaboration and A/V solutions.