Archive for the ‘Video Conferencing’ category

Why does Video Conferencing beat Physical Meetings?

May 25th, 2017

The right answer is because video conferencing has become an essential tool of the organization of work in the digital economy. Yet still important, money-saving concerns have become secondary today.

In the digital economy, the organization of work has been going through disruptive transformations in the last few years. This has changed video conferencing from a mere curiosity to an indispensable tool for everybody. The shifting from the traditional way of working in physical places to what has been defined as “virtual corporations” compels almost every digital worker to utilize video conferencing daily.

Why video-conferencing and not some other technology? Indeed, the benefits that the application of video conferencing has brought to the digital organizations are huge. Let’s quickly run through the main points.

1) Video conferencing helps telecommuting

Without video conferences, teleworking and telecommuting would be very difficult, as it is the only way to reduce the lack of interaction between managers and remote workforce.

2) Video conferencing helps managers to oversee remote collaborators.

Remote working poses new problems, for example checking and tracking remote workers efficacy and effectively. Video conferences allow managers to immediately see what their employees are up to .

3) Video conferencing makes your meeting independent from money and time concerns.

The main implication is that more frequent meetings are possible, and the coordination and control of managers on workers subsequently increase. This is then mirrored in an increase of workforce productivity, the main reason why so many organizations are going more and more virtual and less and less physical.

4) Video conferencing makes your remote communication more human.

Never forget that communication is almost all non-verbal and visual. While in a traditional phone call visual communication gets fatally lost, during a video conference you can fully enjoy the pleasure of a face-to-face meeting.

5) Video conferencing allows users to interact with more people at a time.

The simultaneously interaction with more than one people comes quite easy and comfortable in a video conference, even through mobiles. This feature, which is not present in traditional video calls, is very useful. For example, it enables managers to give directions to their remote teams from everywhere and at any time.

6) Video conferencing allows users to give live demonstrations.

Showing is the best way to persuading, and this is possible through video conferencing. Products like R-HUB`s TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com) allows users to utilize a wide set of tools to make your conferences interactive and to engage your audience, like screen and file sharing, polling and raising hand buttons.

In conclusion, it is quite impossible to think of a digital working environment without a massive usage of video conferencing, as in a world of remote users, remote managers and remote workers; video conferences are the most effective way to communicate.

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What are the Most Popular tools to Manage a Virtual Team?

May 21st, 2017

A quick overview of some of the most popular tools that helps to manage remote workers, from Dropbox to TurboMeeting.

It seems that virtual teams are more productive and efficient than traditional teams. Is that the reason why going virtual has become so popular in any digital and non-digital industry today? In any case, almost every manager will certainly have to deal with virtual teams and remote workers in next future. Therefore, be wise and ride the changes by starting to learn the ropes of virtual team management right by now. A fundamental step is to get an idea of which tools are available on the market for the purpose.

R-HUB TurboMeeting

Let’s start this quick overview with TurboMeeting (http://www.rhubcom.com), a suite of servers for virtual conferencing developed by R-HUB, a company based in San Diego.  A TurboMeeting server is an all-in-one solution that enables clients to perform a huge set of tasks, likehosting video and audio conferences and having access/giving support to remote computers. It is also a good solution for collaboration.

TurboMeeting strong points are:

Its intuitive GUI that is easy to learn and use and that provides you with all the necessary functionalities to interact with your team in real time quickly and efficiently.

Its lightweight and compact size that allows user to get rid of server rooms and server cabinets.

– Its being self-installing and self-updating machines. TurboMeeting servers do not require any devoted IT team and they scale up to 3000 participants per conference  without additional costs, as R-HUB adopted a flat license policy.

It is safe. The on-premise server based technology that R-HUB use is deemed as the most reliable and secure. This makes TurboMeeting a great solution in industries that needs extra care for data protection.

Google Apps

Google does not mean only the most popular search engine of the world. Among the several activities of this famous brand, we find also office and communication tools that are daily used by thousands of clients throughout the world, like Google Doc, Google Calendar, Gmail Chat). They are all applications, which mean that it is not necessary to bring home any piece of hardware.

Google Apps strong points are, in my opinion:

  • There is a free version of each tool that enables users to utilize almost every feature of the paid versions. This makes Google Apps really cheap and in everyone’s reach. Small organizations and start-up with budget constraints will love it.
  • Their design and layout looks very similar to Microsoft office. Google Doc mimes perfectly Microsoft Office, at the point that I had nothing new to learn when I was asked to use it for professional purposes. So, no retraining is necessary for your remote workers.
  • You can use Gmail with your .com domain name, which gives a professional appearance to your email communication.

Yammer

Described as a social network for companies, Yammer is featured by a social media-like atmosphere similar to Facebook. Among its users, we found giants like 7-Eleven, eBay and Groupon.

Yammer strong points:

  • Social media-like atmosphere: Micro blogging, profiles, groups, private messaging, file uploads are some of the functionalities of this tool that applies the principles of Facebook design to virtual work environments.
  • Tested directly from Yammer. Their team is completely virtual and global, being composed of thousands of distant workers spread throughout the planet. Therefore, the team that test Yammer is the same that use it.

Dropbox

Dropbox is not exactly a collaboration tool, being purposely and specifically designed to share files of any sort thought the internet. It’s free, which makes it a popular solution despite its evident limitations, like the impossibility to implement read-only permissions for certain users.

Basecamp

This on-line collaboration tool is expressly designed for virtual team managers. Basecamp is not only about sharing information; it offers all the necessary functionalities to carry on with your team projects.

Basecamp strong points:

  • Purposely designed to manage teams. Basecamp allows you to perform almost all daily tasks that are necessary to manage your team. This allows you to stop using dozens of different applications to fulfill each individual managerial task.
  • Very rich in features. It is possible to share documents and files, to arrange virtual and real meetings, to set deadlines, to create to-do lists for your team members, and more.
  • Ease of use. You can see at glance what needs to be done and who is responsible for that.

If you are interested in tools for working from remote, you are going to find more resources on R-HUB`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

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The secret of Successful Management of Global Virtual Teams explained in five steps

May 18th, 2017

Interaction through screens is in many regards totally different fromcommunication during the traditional meetings in the boss office. Globalism and multiculturalism makes the thing even more complicated. So, building a new culture on working remotely is the golden path to success for virtual team managers.

According to the 4th Biennial Global Virtual Teams Survey Report (https://www.rw-3.com/blog/trends-in-global-virtual-teams) , a surprising 58% of respondents consider his or her team leader incompetent and not adequate to lead a multicultural team. Conversely, 96 % of respondents that were identifiedas leaders regard themselves as good virtual team managers. There is an outstanding discrepancy between the perceptions of the two groups of respondents, which should lead us to reflect of how challenging and tricky managing global virtual teams is.

For this reason, this task should be never underrated. Managers must accept the fact that interaction through screens is different from the traditional meetings in the boss office. Therefore, when the time to shift to virtual conferences comes in your organization, it is necessary to build a corporate culture on working remotely that takes into due account the differences between virtual and real life communication.

Luckily, today’s managers can learn from almost a decade of experience of pioneering firms that havebeen utilizing virtual teams before them. In the following of the article, I am outlining some guidelines derived from common experience to build a successful strategy for virtual team managers that can be applied right by now.

First, Set the necessary standards which your team members have to comply with and the workflows of the common, repeated tasks.

When entering a new team, everybody brings with oneself one’s own way of doing and working. In real life, firms train their staffs to their missions, values and procedures, in order to standardize their workforce. In virtual life, the problem is pretty much the same. The discomfort is that your collaborators are remote. However, you need to set standards and procedures and train your team to comply with them even when working through screens. Instead of residential training periods at the headquarters, you will provide your remote collaborators with webinars and remote training.

Second, Decide which communication tool to use for what.

The lack of attention on petty details often causes big disasters. One aspect to take care of is how to use each individual communication tool that is available for your team members. In fact, usually remote workers utilize multiple media to communicate with you and each other that range from emergency phone calls to skype chats and virtual conferences with the whole team. A best practice is to decide which communication tool to use for what, in order to avoid confusion and unify processes.

Third, Have regular meetings with the whole team.

What really makes the difference between virtual and real teams is the difficulty to keep the cohesion and the sense of identity of your remote workers. For this reason, the meetings of the team as a whole are extremely important, as they are only way to create a sense of participation to the organization. Have them periodically and frequently. Use product like R-HUB`s TurboMeeting that provides you with a rich set of tools to make your virtual conferences engaging and interesting.

Fourth, Use project management tools.They will help you to easily manage deadlines and to schedule the steps of each project. Other tools that have been proved to be highly effective in managing remote workers are applications like Google Drive that allow you and your team members to share documents and work on them all together.

Last but not least: Set a working language and be very clear. Virtual communication is not as immediate and natural as real life. Another issue is that there may be a lapse of time between a question and an answer, like in the case of email exchanges. This makes communication in virtual workplaces even less intuitive. Another great problem is the multicultural and linguistic differences.  This is the reason why it is important to get across clear messages in a virtual environment. Don’t take anything for granted, and repeat silly but important details as deadlines, times of online rendezvous, scheduled tasks, directions to log in and participate to virtual conferences.

In conclusion, the secret to successfully manage a global virtual team is nothing less than the adaptation of the traditional management techniques to the specificity of communication in a virtual environment. To discover more about this topic, please visit R-HUB`s blog at http://www.rhubcom.com

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Some few Server based solutions for Video Conferencing that ensure the Highest Security level

May 17th, 2017

On-premise servers are still the best solution for video conferencing because of their technical reliability and security. Here comes a short review of some of the best products available on the market today.

Despite the fast technological development of the last years that has made cloud services and browser apps for video conferencing very popular, on-premise server based solutions are still the best for those businesses that have to respect strict security protocols.  From finance to the government, the range of industries that have to comply with strict regulations on data protection is wide.  Luckily, the number of producers of the necessary technical equipment is not as slim as you can expect.

Let’s start our review with R-HUB (http://www.rhubcom.com ), a producer of on-premise servers for video and audio conferencing, telepresence, remote support and remote pc control based in San Diego, California. Their suite Turbomeeting is a great example of an all-in-one solution through which it is possible to host audio and video conferences up to 3000 participants. Their strength is the ability to offer a product that has all the pros of software applications without the cons of traditional hardware.  Indeed, TurboMeeting servers are self-configuring and self-updating, and they do not need any devoted IT team.

Space-saving is another important feature of this product. Being very small and silent, TurboMeeting servers can be put on a shelf of a bookcase, and cabinets and devoted rooms to store them are no longer necessary. Their GUI offers all the functionalities to engage your audience, from the raising hand button  to document and screen sharing. Last, R-HUB`s flat license policy allows you to add a virtually unlimited number of participants to your conference without additional costs.

Cisco is a very well-known IT giant that owns WebEx (http://www.webEx.com) , one of the most popular products for virtual meetings around. The strong point of WebEx is its flexibility, as it is available as software. Highly scalable, WebEx is that kind of solution that could serve your firm all lifelong. Slightly less powerful than TurboMeeting, it can host up to 2000 participants and it is very rich in functionalities. Their cloud based solution is particularly interesting for those organizations that need a good product for remote collaboration, as all the necessary functionalities to hold a great virtual meeting are present, from screen sharing to polling; it is not a case that they have hosted over 1.8 billion meeting minutes per month.

However, it does not come for free. A business plan for WebEx software for virtual conferences up to 100 participants costs over 1000 $ per year.  To make a comparison, consider that R-HUB`s server prices  range from 995 $ to around 2000 $, and you can host up to 3000 participants.

Lifesize (http://www.lifesice.com) is another product that gives you the option between traditional infrastructure (it means on-premise servers) and software/cloud solutions. Their strength is that they are present in about 100 countries, which is important for any global business. The cons are that it is necessary to have an IT team to manage this product, which implies a sharp rise in costs.

In conclusion, there are several products available on the market for a business that is in need of an on-premise server based solution for video conferencing for security reasons. Producers like R-HUB has been able to address the issues that were traditionally linked to this technology,  so that they  can offer  inexpensive, highly competitive  and easy-to-manage servers that suit well any kind of organization; Other manufactures, like Cisco, are more oriented to offer a multiple service that leaves customers the freedom to choose between software and hardware.

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Three great Video Conferencing solutions with Screen Sharing

May 16th, 2017

Screen sharing is one of the way through which experienced speakers engage their audience. Unfortunately, this precious tool is not available on every web conferencing product. Let’s discover some of the video conferencing solutions that have implemented this important function.

My first webinar was really challenging, as I had to fight against an irresistible need to avert my eyes from the screen. My problem was not paying attention to the speaker, but what cognitive psychologists and doctors define as fatigue from screen. Staying watching your desktop without any interaction is much more stressing than working at it. Crafty speakers know this problem, and this is the reason why they try to engage their audience in several ways that range from asking questions to sharing screens. The result is that not only participants get more involved, but they also remind easier the contents they listened to.

So, it is important to have a web conferencing tool at hand that offers a wide set of functionalities purposely designed to engage your audience. But what to choose among the plethora of products on the market? In my opinion, three solutions are really unbeatable.  Here they are:

R-HUB`s TurboMeeting servers (http://www.rhubcom.com) .This solution is the golden mean between top quality – but expensive – products like Cisco’s and popular apps as Skype. It offers all the reliability and safety of on-premise server based solutions without its typical flaws. So, no needs of devoted IT team, as R-HUB`s machine are self-installing and self-updating, and server cabinets (R-HUB`s servers are so small and silent that can be placed on your desk or on the shelf of a bookcase). The number of functionalities that its GUI offers is quite big and it is included polling, raise-hand, file sharing, and, naturally, screen sharing. No question, you will be certainly able to have highly interactive virtual meetings though this product.

Price is affordable, as you can bring home your TurboMeeting server with $995 only.

Cisco WebEx: Many years of the experience of this giant of the IT sector are embodied in it. Web Ex is available in every form you wish, as Cisco can give you its solution as an ordinary desktop application. This makes WebEx highly flexible and able to serve indifferently both multinationals and small businesses. Its features are quite rich, and users are supplied with every necessary functionality to engage their audience.

In comparison with TurboMeeting, WebEx looks more flexible, as you can opt for a version without hardware. However, it is more expensive and its app version is less powerful: TurboMeeting allows you to give virtual meetings up to 3000 participants, WebEx up to 2000 only.

TeamViewer: it is another popular top-quality product that is considered by many experts the direct competitor of WebEx. It offers some unique features like the possibility of running multiple sessions at once and the ability to leave quick notes for your clients. Less expensive than Cisco thanks to its policy of pay-only-one-time license, however its power limits to 300 participants per conference. An important detail is that TeamViewer does not include teleconference, a feature that is present in TurboMeeting.

In conclusion, it is difficult to say what the best among these three products is. R-HUB`s servers are inexpensive and powerful, but you have to bring home some hardware; WebEx and TeamViewer allow you to avoid hardware, but they are more expensive and less powerful than TurboMeeting. Therefore, you’d better focus on your real needs before taking a decision.

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