Archive for February, 2017

I.C.E, or the Three Basilar tips to avoid that your Virtual Conferences work as a Powerful Snooze

February 26th, 2017

ICE: This acronym stands for interaction, color and entertainment. Never neglect these three tips, if you wish to engage the participants of your meetings.

As a big consumer of webinars and virtual conferences, one of the first tricks I learnt is that by simply muting my mic I can avoid being detected while taking  a short nap, since I prevent the speaker from hearing me snoring that way. In facts, the big advantage of virtual conferences on real classrooms is that the speaker cannot see you,  and – honestly speaking – many  virtual conferences are incredibly sleep-inducing.

The point to catch is that running a virtual meeting is tricky, as there is no real contact between the speaker and the audience.  So, it is really hard to understand whether you as a speaker are involving participants or not, and in what measure. This problem, which is common to real life meetings, is exacerbated by the nature of the medium: watching a screen is more tiring than listening to a speaker that physically stands in front of you, and keeping concentration on a distant presenter during a virtual conference is difficult because there are more possible environmental distractions that haunt participants’ minds.

How to assure that your audience is engaged during your conferences? It is enough to follow these three basilar tips that the acronym I.C.E stands for:

I as Interaction.

University lectures are boring, and virtual conferences are not university lessons. So, let’s change format and shift to something more involving, like, for example, dialogues; answering your participants or giving them the possibility to put questions is a quick and easy technique to keep them awake.

C as color

Black and white screens are particularly sleep-inducing. So, choose video conferencing products that assure you and your audience colors and a great HD quality, like R-HUB TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com). Additionally, TurboMeeting offers users a whole set of great tools to engage their audience, like polling, raising hand buttons, desktop sharing, file sharing, and many others.

Accompany your presentations with some colorful slides, photos and graphics. A well-designed slide is a powerful mean to get your idea/information across, as the eyesight is the sense that people use most to learn.

E as entertainment

There is nothing as boring as a monotone tone of voice. Thus, it is important to be able to use the full vocal range. It is also important to mix data presentations with jokes and stories in order to give some moments of rest to your audience. In one word, try to give and have fun while giving your presentation.

In conclusion, a good conference is the result of the interaction between the speaker skills and the quality of the conferencing tool that the speaker uses. If I.C.E will help you to deliver good quality presentations, do not underestimate the importance of having the right product on hand among the dozens available on the market today.

If you are interested in R-HUB`s TurboMeeting, and you would like to get a free demonstration or a free trial, this is possible. Please contact R-HUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) for further information.

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Is Visual Content Management the new challenge for providers of Video Conferencing Services?

February 22nd, 2017

Users in general and millennials in particular are fond of virtual contents. This is the reason why the ability to provide clients with good tools for visual content management has become a top requirement of any quality video conferencing product.

According to a survey commissioned by Google, 37% of millennials watch videos on YouTube or other digital channels daily, while this percentage drops to 14% for the old generations. These numbers speak out for themselves: in the future, content is destined to go visual.

This trend is confirmed also by Frost & Sullivan in their 2016 conferencing services research. They forecast  that the video conferencing market is expected to grow at a rate of 10% about per year till 2023, while some new trends that are also connected to the visual segment, like teleconferences, are going to  grow even faster (source: Marketsandmarkets’ global forecast to 2022).

Not surprisingly, in their research Frost & Sullivan mention visual content management as one of the ten leading trends of 2016 in video conferencing industry. The reasons that they give to  back up their assertions are similar to the ones provided by Google: Baby boomers are giving way to a new generation that has learnt to browse through YouTube even before they could stand, and that  grab information mainly through videos and images.

Are the producers of video conferencing services taking the challenge seriously? This means to be able to offer clients instruments like the possibility of recording their virtual conferences and pushing their records on YouTube or similar digital platforms as video format in order to share contents to the public.

Undoubtedly, some few top-ranked producers have already taken the plunge. R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), for example, offers an integrated suite for audio and video conferencing that supports recording, HD video conferencing and even telepresence. Other platforms that presently offer tools to manage visual contents are Cisco’s WebEx, JoinMe, and Skype.

But, surprisingly, some of the most popular brands of the virtual conferencing industry has not yet equipped their video conferencing products with some basilar features for content management like recording. Among them, we found well-reputed platforms like Zoho Meeting and GoToMeeting.

Behind this apparent laziness that could reveal potential problems in the future there are probably technological issues. Visual content management is not as easy to implement as it can seem at first sight. This much is true: Taking the big step requires skills and investments, two requirements that not every producer has, but that mark the lines between who is going to get ahead and who is going to fall behind the competition in the next few years.

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“Users want Single Meeting, Single License”, Frost & Sullivan’s2016 Report says

February 17th, 2017

What used to be audio, video and web conferences in the past has simply become online meetings now.

A key-finding of Frost & Sullivan’s 2016 web conferencing research is user preference for  a single meeting, single license marketing approach. This confirms the intuition behind the design of products like R-HUB’s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com) that are able to offer a complete set of services that goes from HD Video conferencing to Audio conferencing under a single license.

In the past, the market of virtual conferencing was characterized by a big confusion in this respect, as the system of per user licenses that was usually adopted by the pioneering companies of this industry made scaling up expensive and difficult.

This is one of the reasons why the trend has been shifting towards more user-friendly license systems. Flat licenses, for example, allow users to add a virtually unlimited number of participants to a conference. R-HUB has adopted this model for its product lines, with the result that making a conference calls on R-HUB’s servers costs more or less the same independently from the number of participants, may they be 3 or 3000.

Other common license systems that we could consider user-friendly are single site licenses and per seat licenses. The first is now usual in web conferencing and allows clients to add a max number of users with unlimited conferencing; in the second, a fix fee is charged for each user independently from the minutes used.

The “single meeting, single license” system is anything else than a single site license that allows clients to utilize all forms of conferencing – audio, video and web. Its convenience for customers is connected to the fact that today’s conferences are much more complex and integrated than in the  past, and it is important to have a tool that can work indifferently in several modalities and through several media.

In other words, we are moving from a concept of conferencing service where web/audio/video conferencing were three distinct services for users to a concept of online meeting where these three media are available at the same time, under the same license and in the same service, so that clients may shift to the medium they need that moment as they please. Will producers be able to take up the challenge and modify consequently their approach to licensing? We will see.

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Virtual Collaborative Team spaces, a new trend in Conferencing Market

February 17th, 2017

The growth of remote teams makes tools for remote collaboration more and more demanding in the market, at the point that virtual collaborative team spaces have been listed among the ten most important trends of 2016 by Frost and Sullivan.

Not so long ago, virtual conferencing was strongly associated with the idea of one-on-one or multiple conversations and tools were consequently designed with this specific purpose in mind.  An outstanding example of this approach is given by Skype, which is still among the number ones of the apps for remote conversations.

However, the seeds of changes have been sown even in this fast-growing sector. According to the latest research of Frost and Sullivan on conferencing market, collaborative team spaces are among the trends that could lead to deep changes in the future.

What is a collaborative team space? As the name says, it is nothing else then the natural evolution of old web conferences into a new instrument through which teams can collaborate remotely with ease. For this purpose, traditional tools must be strengthened with additional applications that go from file sharing to the possibility of leaving notes or posts for other team members. It is also important to be able to assure users a high level of integration with other communication tools, like programs to manage emails.

Some examples of a collaborative team spaces are R-HUB`s TurboMeeting, InVision and Cisco’s Spark. They all offer a wide range of functionalities that are purposely tailored for remote collaboration, and the possibility of a good integration with applications like Outlook.

A team that should decide to adopt TurboMeeting would have many useful instruments like desktop control and desktop sharing. Another benefit is that, being TurboMeeting a complete suite, it provides clients with a wide set of services that are not always available on products for remote collaboration, like pc remote access and support, audio conferencing, and the possibility to host webinars. In this way, it is possible to cover almost all the conferencing needs of a company, which could be invaluable especially for small businesses.

Naturally, the growth of collaborative team spaces is strictly connected to the growth of remote collaboration. Under this aspect, statistics seem to confirm the trend. According to an online survey (https://www.wrike.com/blog/the-past-present-and-future-of-remote-collaboration-where-does-your-team-stand/) , 83% of employees spend at least an hour or two working remotely every day. To have an idea of remote collaboration expansion, consider that almost 47% of surveyed workers stated that today they spend much more time working remotely than 2 years ago.

It is also important to remark that remote collaboration is less dependent from globalization than readers could think. Even businesses that work locally could find remote collaboration interesting. The reason are several: for example, it is possible to reduce operating costs, like the ones for offices and meeting rooms, and have a way to integrate the local team with distant experts that give help or contributions on specific problems.

In conclusion, collaborative team spaces are a new and important trend in conferencing market, and the ability to design great solutions for this specific segment will certainly be one of the challenges that web conferencing service producers will have to face next years.

If you are interested in remote collaboration and working, please visit R-HUB web site http://www.rhubcom.com where you will find many interesting resources and posts on this topic.

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Get your Audio Conferencing tool for free

February 15th, 2017

Audio conferencing is heavily utilized today not only for business, but also for private use. In this post, we will see how to get your audio conferencing tool for free.

In an interconnected world, the quick growth in popularity of audio and video conferences does not come as a surprise. No matter if the purpose is to organize a dining with friends or hold a meeting of the board of directors of a global company; this technology will prove to be very helpful in most situations.

Now, the question is whether it is possible to get it for free. The answer is yes, as many providers of audio and video conferencing services often offer free versions of their products, yet limited to private use or free trial periods of 30 days.

For example, the servers of the suite R-HUB`s TurboMeeting include a great free audio conferencing service, Turbo Conferencing. It allows you to host audio conferences for any kind of devices – from traditional landline telephones to mobiles, pcs and tablets – with calls from 28 countries. The quality of audio is ensured by the choice of reliable carriers, and phone providers are not charged in order to avoid that they refuse your calls.

It is possible to schedule, record and publish your conferences anywhere you wish.  Especially audio conferencing service providers will find TurboMeeting particularly interesting, as it is able to offer a high level of seamless integration with your existing systems and functions.

For further information, visit R-HUB web site (http://www.rhubcom.com)

UberConference (http://www.uberconference.com) is characterized by a well-designed GUI with strong visual features that allow you to know every moment what your participants are doing (for example, speaking).  The cons are the severe limitations of the free version: recording is not allowed and the max number of participants is limited to five. If you wish to have something more, it is necessary to upgrade to the Pro version and spend 10$ a month.

FreeConferenceCalls (http://www.freeconferencecalls.com) has a name that says it all. Through this tool, hosting conferences for free is really possible and there are not nasty surprises, as when you have to pay for some important additional features like recording. The limit of participants per conference is 96, which goes up to 1000 in the HD version that is available also for iPhones and Android.

Another useful tool for audio conferences is Speek (http://www.speek.com). Being a completely browser-based application, you do not need to download anything, and there is no pin access code. It is free for up to five guests per conference.

Last of the list is JoinMe(http://www.joinme.com), another browser-based app  for collaborating online that offers many useful features like file sharing, whiteboard, chat and meeting recording. It is easy to use, and the max number of participants per meeting is quite high (250 in the free version).

In conclusion, finding an audio conferencing tool for free is easy, independently from the technology that you prefer.  Simply start browsing through the web, and many other will pop up, each one with its free version.

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