From Video conferencing to Emails: Character of a Modern Business is linked to a Greener, Better Tomorrow

“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”-Leonardo Di Caprio spoke these riveting words during this Oscar accepting at the academy this year. 2015 recorded as the hottest year in the history of the modern world, scientists and experts calling for a united stand of the leading Governments of the world to tackle the problem collectively.

Is Climate Change real?
Irrespective of which side of the argument you are on “Climate change” is indeed a real threat, and there is evidence that the world is facing ramification as a result. The wildfires of Australia or extreme drought conditions in Africa last year have been attributed to climate change. Heatwaves that swept every continent in the world last year is yet another proof that climate change is happening, and there is an impending need to address this problem on a global platform.

 

How is Climate Change linked to Business & Industrialization?
The world has evolved from an agrarian based economy to an industrialized one to a more technology-driven one. During the industrial period, energy consumption was the mainstay of the economy. Although this ear brought with it riches and gave rise to a consumerist society, the industrial revolution is often cited as the mean reason for the downward spiral of earth’s relationship with ecology and humans.

A Drive towards Sustainable Business Trends
As the world’s leaders met at 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference inParis to reach a global agreement to reduce climate change, time has also come when entrepreneurial leaders of the world have to think about most sustainable ways to conduct business.

Thankfully, in the modern ear, business owners are more mindful of this and are aware of how business operations can harm the environment. Owing to several small and medium sized enterprises are adhering to norms and work culture that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. For instance, emails to a large extent have eliminated the use of papers in office spaces. Advancement in technology has also enabled businesses to minimize the use of paper as e- documents, e-bills, etc. take precedence.

Even work culture and place of work are undergoing an overhaul to reduce carbon footprints on the planet. There is an increasing drive towards designing eco-friendly buildings and office spaces that focus on water and energy conversation. The design philosophy of these buildings promotes rainwater harvesting, maximum incorporation of natural lighting and use of recycling materials. Green buildings and architecture are gaining popularity and eventually the cost involved in constructing such spaces will come down.

The onslaught of technology has not just driven greater business prospects. It also has allowed businesses to function in a more sustainable way. Modern businesses have no limitations and people work across geographical boundaries in the most efficient manner. Thanks to this advancement, business video conference services like BlueJeans, allows individuals and business associates to connect with one another without a glitch.

This method of communication also works well for people who perform professional duties from the comfort of their home. In the coming years, this trend is also expected to catch up. In most major cities in the world, peaks hours of the day which is usually the time when people are getting to or getting off work adds to pollution in the city. If only more and more people work from home rather than commute to work in their cars or public transport, the emission of carbon in the environment can be significantly reduced.

Businesses could save over $33000 per year by video conferencing according to new report

Businesses with teams across the globe could bolster their balance, ditch the travel expenses and use video conferences instead according to new research.

Video conferencing offers a cheaper alternative to meetings but businesses are still wasting thousands every year flying people around the world.

Perhaps they do not realise that technology has moved on to such an extent that it really does offer a viable, reliable and high-quality alternative.

Cloud-based online meeting platform, LyteSpark has carried out research showing that we do not need to bust ourselves with all of this business travel.

The company analysed the average cost involved to travel from the UK to 20 business hubs around the world.

It noted costs for return business-class trips, taxi costs to and from Central London and Heathrow, airport transfers to and from the hotel, taxi costs to and from the meeting, an overnight stay in a 4 star hotel and the cost for a three-course dinner.

The monthly cost was calculated on the basis of one trip with the annual cost calculated on 12 trips a year.

It then compared these costs with the monthly cost of using its own online meeting platform.

The research showed that businesses could make a significant saving of over $5,584 on every trip from the UK to San Francisco, Silicon Valley’s capital – the costliest trip to make globally.

In other words, a trip to San Francisco is 116 times more than using video conferencing. Los Angeles is the second costliest business district to visit at $5,351 per person per trip.

In South East Asia, Singapore is the costliest city to visit drawing up a total bill of $3,729, while Tokyo comes in a close second at $3,366.

The research revealed that British businesses with teams and clients across the globe could save, on average, $33,200 per year on business trips abroad if they use online meeting platforms.

These savings should be a wake-up call for any sized business. It may seem obvious that every penny counts to the business and its bottom line.

Meetings in person are sometimes be vital, however they are not necessary on such a regular basis.

Alex Hunte, co-founder, LyteSpark said: “State-of-the-art online meeting platforms are no longer clumsy and complex. They are now designed to be intuitive, ensuring they are merely an extension of day-to-day communications.

Nobody has to wait days or weeks to discuss pressing matters which can now be resolved or actioned within minutes.

Lifesize Takes Aim At Huddle Room Video Conferencing With Icon 450

Lifesize, a video and audio telecommunications company based in Austin, Texas, is hoping to solve the problem of extending video collaboration to huddle rooms – and its solution is supposedly the new Lifesize Icon 450 HD camera and phone system.

The huddle room has become a hot topic in the world of video conferencing, with virtually every company getting in on the action – which includes the likes of Crestron and Polycom. Lifesize says that its system is the easiest its ever created however, yet still affords much of the power users have come to expect from its products.

To meet the expectations of the company’s ambition, Lifesize says that it has improved the camera design to address the specific nature and challenges of huddle room spaces. In fact, the Icon 450’s smart-framing sensor is designed to intelligently adjust its sharp, wide-angle camera lens to automatically capture and include everyone in the picture.

The plug-and-play Icon 450 is powered by Lifesize’s cloud-based conferencing service and promises users a seamless, high-quality meeting experience. Leveraging Lifesize’s enterprise-ready interoperability, the combination of the Icon 450 and cloud-based application can automatically launch meetings from Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Work, conference with Skype for Business users and connect employees and guests from their phones or internet browsers — all with a single touch of the Lifesize Phone HD, a meeting room command central for audio, video and web conferencing.

The combined Lifesize Cloud and hardware offering also gives users a unified, consistent communication experience across platforms and devices to simplify the user experience. Lif

“For most businesses the conference room is still the central point of meetings and team collaboration, so the ability to effectively connect users to the conference room is critical,” says Craig Malloy, CEO of Lifesize.

“For more than a decade, Lifesize has been a pioneer in crafting revolutionary video communication technology that allows both end users and IT administrators to spend more time on productive work and less time on troubleshooting.

“The Lifesize Icon 450 combines our rich history in conferencing devices with our powerful cloud-based service to provide a seamless video communication experience for users in today’s most popular conferencing location — the huddle room. This is truly a mark of our unique value proposition among video conferencing providers.”

The Lifesize Icon 450 includes a sharp, wide-angle lens that offers an 82° horizontal field of view and a 59° vertical field of view. It also comes with 24/7 Extreme Support from Lifesize’s customer success and support team.

Installers wishing to specify for the Lifesize Icon 450 can do so from today, with pricing starting at $4,999. That package includes HD camera, Lifesize Phone HD, Lifesize remote control and cables. Users will need to subscribe to the Lifesize Cloud to get the most out of the system however, which has prices starting at $29 per month per user.

Speaking at the launch of the Lifesize Icon 450, Michael Helmbrect, chief product and operations officer at Lifesize, answered a detailed Q&A.

What is driving cloud video conferencing today?

“A big factor is cost. On the one hand, the cost of travel and related expenses of getting people together for meetings is a big issue. On the other side of the coin, the cost for a state of the art video communication system is becoming more accessible for all types of companies.

“Another significant market change driving adoption, is the nature of today’s work force compared with 10 or 15 years ago. Knowledge workers are more dispersed and mobile and expect always on, always available connections. Video conferencing enables much better efficiency, communication and collaboration than the more traditional types of communication like email or audio-only conference calls.

“As a result, many companies are extending the technology beyond the boardroom and executive suite to conference rooms, huddle rooms and individual users. Companies can reduce their operational costs and enhance productivity and collaboration. It is also really about the performance and productivity that video conferencing offers for all sorts of use models and the changing types of work environment nowadays.”

Do you see any differences in adoption by region or vertical markets?

“Not really. We’re seeing adoption of video conferencing around the world as people start to realise the benefits of visual interaction and collaboration. It’s pretty universal and is ideal for allowing people to connect in a more natural way across a number of geographic locations. And, it’s being used across all sorts of vertical sectors – education, health care, manufacturing, technology. Virtually any company that needs a collaborative workforce benefits from enterprise-ready video conferencing.”

What are the benefits of cloud video conferencing vs other collaboration solutions?

“A cloud-based solution makes it easy to deploy and use video conferencing both across any platform – desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The cloud approach gives users an easy to use, consistent communication experience across platforms and devices. For the IT administrator behind the scenes, this means less time spent on deployment, training and management, which translates into lower cost of ownership. Security is an issue, too, but all of Lifesize’s cloud-based solutions are built with security in mind.”

What is the biggest challenge with adoption of cloud video conferencing?

“It’s really about changing behaviours. People are creatures of habit and often stick with a familiar way of doing things. We see that a lot, but as soon as people experience video communication, they quickly become fans. I think there is probably a perception that video conferencing is too expensive or too complicated for a small or medium sized company, but that is an easy objection to overcome because it’s simply not true anymore.”

Why should customers choose Lifesize?

“The combination of award-winning plug-and-play HD video and phone systems for any meeting room and an easy-to-use cloud-based conferencing application makes Lifesize unique. Survey after survey of IT people and end users show that ease of use is the most important adoption consideration. Lifesize’s whole strategy revolves around making it a very simple, intuitive experience to install, use, extend and maintain.

“Unlike other solutions that have migrated from the consumer space or are scaled down in some way, Lifesize is enterprise-ready. We are built from the ground up for IT and the enterprise. Our technology is robust, secure and scalable to meets any organisation’s needs and ongoing growth. We are maniacal about customer service – it is one of our company’s core values and our customers consitently cite that as a benefit of working with us. We back our service with a financially-backed SLA (more information here). When people look at ROI and TCO, Lifesize is clearly a leader in the space.”

What is new at Lifesize?

“We continue to add more functionality to the core product line, as well as integration with other popular communications tool. For example, we’ve added a calendaring feature that syncs with popular applications like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Work.

“We continue to enhance the user interface to make it a more intuitive and easy to use control point for integrated communications. And we’ve just introduced a new camera, Lifesize Icon 450, aimed at smaller conference spaces or huddle rooms. It features a smart-framing sensor that intelligently adjusts its sharp, wide-angle camera lens to automatically capture and include everyone in the picture. And it’s all part of an integrated, full-featured solution that includes directory-based calling, one-on-one and group calls and chat, instant and scheduled meetings, and high-definition recording and sharing.

Do you have some good examples of how people are using your cloud video conferencing?

“It really runs a wide-range range of the size and types of meetings, and interactions that organisations can have. From company-wide meetings, to small groups and 1:1 point to point calling, we’re seeing more and more adoption.

“We’re also noticing that more companies are using it externally – with their customers and partners, and in customer support and education models. We see some innovative uses in certain industries like healthcare. Care givers and doctors can diagnose and even treat patients remotely via video conferencing, which opens up a lot of new possibilities in this sector.”

BlueJeans Network offers first many-to-many video conferencing at scale for Facebook Live

Brands can use the new high-res service, supporting up to 100 simultaneous video feeds, for fan events, Q&A sessions or product launches.

Video communications provider BlueJeans Network is out with a service that it says is the first to turn Facebook Live’s one-way video broadcasting into a many-to-many video platform at scale for brands and other businesses.

The Mountain View, California-based company, which specializes in high-quality video conferencing for businesses, is now offering BlueJeans for Facebook Live on a 30-day free trial for selected companies that request an invite.

Chief Marketing Officer Lori Wright told me her company hasn’t yet figured out pricing, and will do so after they get a better read on the type of demand.

Applications could include brand launches between celebrity spokespeople and selected customers, fan events, question-and-answer sessions between audiences and creators like filmmakers, interactive town halls and so on. BlueJeans notes that The Sundance Film Festival, the TED conference, and Chelsea Clinton are among the users of its platform, and that it has about 4,000 business customers worldwide.

Up to a hundred people can participate in a single session simultaneously, which is controlled by the moderator. The person speaking is automatically switched into the largest or the highlighted view. A variety of matrix-formats are available, including Brady Bunch-type or a switchboard format.

The resulting broadcast stream, Wright said, can be seen by virtually any number of Facebook’s 1.3 billion members, made possible through BlueJeans’ own content delivery network and six global data centers. The video conference can support up to 1080p high-res video, depending, of course, on the quality of each participant’s camera.

While Google Hangouts is a possible many-to-many alternative for brands, Wright pointed to several differentiators.

The most obvious, of course, is that BlueJeans for Facebook Live appears in the Facebook timeline as a live event, and then as a recording for on-demand viewing. Wright also said BlueJeans requires 300Kbps to 1.2 Mbps transmission speed, while Hangouts, which only accommodates up to 25 participants, needs 3.2 to 4 Mbps.

Video Conferencing 101: How Not To Be A Vidiot

The latest video conferencing technology is drop-dead simple to use. It’s as easy as pushing one button to join a video conference. Yes, you heard it right: one single button to connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime wth pristine quality.

So the technology has arrived but how fluent are you in the language of video conferencing and mastery of online meeting etiquette? Much like perfecting your golf swing or getting a swim cap on your head properly, becoming well-mannered on video conferences requires awareness of a few important nuances. Some are so subtle that it doesn’t matter much, like knowing exactly when to look directly into the camera to mimic eye contact, or choosing to nod your head instead of saying, “uh-huh.” Others are more significant.

In the Enterpreneur article, “Is There Proper Etiquette for Videoconferencing?,” Ross McCammon, Articles Editor for Esquire magazine, states, “Video conferencing is one of those things that we all generally endorse but is still new enough that we haven’t fully adapted to it.” That observation was made in 2011. Now, in 2016, video meetings have moved beyond a hot new trend to an everyday part of work life, and video etiquette has become even more important with a greater number of remote workers.

“The workplace is no longer defined by one centralized location. More employees are working remotely and high-quality video conferencing solutions from companies such as Polycom have become an integral tool for those workers to remain connected with colleagues globally,” said Jacob Morgan, best-selling author, speaker and future of work consultant. “With platforms like Facebook buying in to the video market, video conferencing is becoming more ubiquitous.”

We’re past the Wild, Wild West of video conferencing stage, but we haven’t all arrived at the stage in which we all follow the same code of conduct. For video veterans, this is a time to reach out and help your neighbor in need of video decorum. For video novices, this is a time to learn how not to be a Vidiot (video idiot).

Video etiquette goofs happen
First, allow me to acknowledge that mistakes happen. Just as the proverbial cobbler’s children have no shoes, video etiquette goofs happen to even the most technologically savvy—even those who work at Polycom, the maker of industry-leading video conferencing solutions with a remote work friendly culture.

As a five month employee of Polycom using video collaboration technology daily, I still occasionally forget to unmute the microphone, enthusiastically speaking for a while before realizing the other meeting attendees can’t hear me. But these things happen, just as most Americans regularly walk out the door without their car keys. Or when we have a brain hiccup and can’t remember the word for oven so we call it a “baking station.” These things happen.

Jokes. Wait for it…
For instance, jokes. McCammons says that jokes are about 30% less funny on video conferencing. I have more to add on that.

When video conferencing in real time, your voice takes about one second to reach halfway around the world—not bad! You learn not to be disappointed when no one laughs at your joke immediately. The first time I told a joke on a video conference call, I assumed the joke fell flat because no one laughed immediately. As I began to internally comfort myself from the embarrassment of delivering an unfunny joke, everyone laughed. It had just taken a second to land. Now I deliver the joke, wait a beat, and let the laughs roll in. If my joke is still not funny when it lands, I blame audio problems.

Vidiocy on a global scale
The beauty of video conferencing is that it brings worldwide colleagues together into one virtual room, defying even the furthest of distances. As with any international collaboration, you learn to be attentive to regional norms. For instance, having your pet in the room is generally okay in the UK, France, and Germany. Your Labrador Retriever Mr. Bojangles may not be as welcome on camera when you’re working with colleagues in India and Poland. Polycom commissioned a global survey of 1,205 business decision-makers in 12 countries, and found enlightening results you can read about out in Your guide to video conferencing trends and etiquette.

Great tips, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a sort of video conferencing sergeant standing over your shoulder to drill the video conferencing violations out of you?

Introducing Polly Calm
Meet Polly Calm, the video-centric Emily Post (no relation to Huffington Post). She’s frank, she’s funny, and she’s on a mission to save you from being a Vidiot. You may love her, you may hate her, or you may love to hate her, but one thing’s for sure: people need her. Through a six-episode video series, Polly Calm will share important tips and tricks designed to educate even the most seasoned video conferencing professionals on proper video etiquette. Polly Calm will prepare everyone, from interns conducting their first video job interview to C-level executives leading business meetings, to make a great impression.

Please enjoy the first video at www.polycom.com/polly, and look out for five more episodes to be released week by week.