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The Demand For Video Collaboration and Huddle Spaces – Part 1

May 25, 2016

In the last couple of years, the UC&C landscape has grown significantly. Prior to that, what existed were a series of point applications with very little integration between them. These point applications were not able to communicate or collaborate between them, requiring users to end a messaging app and move to screen sharing or voice collaboration. With UC&C, the industry has begun to integrate these point applications allowing users to seamlessly move from email to chats to screen share to voice to video collaboration. As a result, employees now have the ability to do much more enriched and impromptu collaboration. And with this, the demand for UC&C has grown exponentially over the last few years.

We sat down with Tely 200’s CEO Todd Abbot to examine this emerging trend and what it means for the enterprise.

Q: It seems like the demand for video collaboration is growing – can you share your thoughts on that?
A: Well when you think about it, it really makes a lot of common sense. 50% of communications is visual. On top of that, companies have an increasing disparate work force of remote offices and a population of workers who are telecommuters. Companies are realizing they need to bridge the distance between the disparate physical world by enabling their employees to stay connected and collaborate via the virtual world.

Q: Would you say you personally prefer video conferencing vs. conference calls?
A: Having managed large sales team all over the world, I have found that I am incredibly more effective via video vs. phone. When I’m on a teleconference or web conferences with my team, customers or partners, I am at a great disadvantage, because I can only hear them during an interaction. Hearing and seeing during the interaction allows me to read the body language cues, just as if we were in a physical face-to-face meeting. It amazes me why more sales and support organizations are not pushing for this enhanced level of communication with their customers.

Q: Another trend that seems to be growing is companies are starting to address the need for group collaboration in the many small conference and huddle rooms that have no technology deployed. Tely 200 in particular seems very well suited for this growing need. What can you tell us about huddle room collaboration and video conferencing?
A: Until recently, unified collaboration deployments for personal devices had enjoyed center stage, which is great for one-to-one communication. But there is a gap when it comes to group collaboration. Only 5% of conference rooms are equipped with video, usually the large rooms for executive meetings. Yet most of the collaboration happens in small groups of 2-3 participants across the employee base. Also a study indicates that groups of 3 solves problem better than the best individuals working alone.
More and more, we are seeing a lot of leading companies that are creating “huddle rooms” or “huddle spaces” so people can collaborate on an impromptu basis. IT has been reluctant to deploy technology into these spaces as the cost has been too high in terms of capital and support costs. Even more importantly, the user experiences have been poor, resulting in very low utilization rates of most video conferencing systems. We are now seeing leading companies bringing technology into these spaces to enable more effective collaboration.

Q: What would you say makes a good huddle room experience?
A: Ideally these rooms should have two screens – one for sharing content, and the other to maintain the visual image of the remote participants. Single screen deployments that relegate the video image to a small window while screen sharing defeats the purpose of video collaboration. Participants need the ability to continue to monitor the physical cues during the meeting, just as they would in a physical meeting.