In the early era of telecom and business communications, voice was the only channel available for employees and clients to connect. But in today’s business environment, where companies of every size and industry are increasingly employing globally dispersed teams, the advancements in video are letting companies communicate better than ever before. High-definition video communications, in particular, are proving to be beneficial for modern enterprises today because of its ability to effectively bring people together no matter the location—but without the cost and hassle associated with business travel.
In this article, Bin Guan, the Chief Technology Officer at Yorktel, explains why enterprises should include a video solution as part of their communication solution and shares how Yorktel’s video collaboration platform, Univago, is helping to address the ever-changing communication and collaboration needs and requirements of the next generation workplace.
Video Communications for the Modern Enterprise
When it comes to communicating and collaborating with employees, co-workers, or clients, face-to-face interactions will always remain as one of the most crucial communication methods. However, meeting in-person is not always possible, especially when time and cost are considered. This is why more companies in today's business world are choosing the next best thing: video communications. Faster than email and more personal than instant messaging and phone calls, video communications is gaining widespread popularity because of the benefits it delivers to organizations.
Guan said, “For many, the appeal of video communications is money saved from travel related expenses; cost reduction that increases profit margins is music to the ears of CFOs worldwide. However, the true value of visual communications is its ability to foster workplace productivity and workforce agility.”
“Work is no longer a destination; it’s an activity based on one’s ability to collaborate with colleagues from wherever, on whatever device, and whenever they choose,” Guan said. “Today’s workers use multiple devices for work, while at the same time spending only two-thirds of their workweek at a desk. Simultaneously, there is a trend toward workshifting, where people shift work to more convenient times and locations.”
These trends, along with the overall changing perception of work, dictate the need for a robust, flexible, and cost-efficient communication solution that enables face-to-face engagement. In essence, this perfectly describes video communications.
How Businesses Can Use Video
Communicating via video hasn’t always been as easy, convenient, or affordable as it is today. In the past, participating in a video conference often meant booking the event days in advance, assigned to a room specially equipped with conferencing equipment and devices to handle the call. Plus setup also took an IT department and more time. But with the various advances in cloud technology and video communications, today’s video experience has significantly improved and can be done with just the click of a button. “Video and audio quality are much better than in years past, pricing has come down significantly and the standard user interface is easier than ever to use, elevating the user experience to unprecedented heights,” Guan said.
Guan identifies numerous cases for video today:
- Recruitment - Human resources departments can interview potential candidates via video as well as expedite new employee onboarding, training, and more.
- Employee flexibility - As more millennials enter the workplace, companies are evolving to accommodate the needs of these next-gen workers who value flexibility in the workplace--made possible only through video communications and collaboration.
- Contact centers - Integration with contact centers is increasingly prevalent as businesses strive to deliver an omnichannel customer experience.
- Law firms - Law firms have also started to embrace video in various scenarios, such as conducting remote depositions, and for financial planners, video allows them to communicate with high-net-worth clients at their convenience, from anywhere at any time.
- Healthcare - Healthcare providers’ adoption of video is perhaps the most notable of all; telehealth applications are fast becoming a valuable resource for clinicians, hospitals, nurses and other caregivers to deliver quality patient care, remotely.
How to Choose the Right Video Communications Solution
In order to reap the advantages of video communications, it is crucial for businesses to choose the right solution. Guan offers the following tips:
- Determine use case and user environment - There are so many video solutions available in the market today. And in order to choose properly, it is essential that businesses first identify their unique needs and requirements. According to Guan, “Any deployment must begin with an assessment to gain a comprehensive understanding of who will be using the technology and for what purpose, network and integration requirements, as well as budget parameters and management priorities.” It is also important to ask important questions, such as what applications employees will need, where they will typically collaborate, what endpoints they’ll be using, how much communication with external parties will be needed, and more.
- Consider support for disparate technologies and compatibility with B2B and B2C platforms - Integration with other platforms is another important factor to consider when exploring the market for a video communications and collaboration platform. “Videoconferencing services must also support a variety of deployment architectures to prevent bandwidth consumption and bottlenecking which in a business setting, has devastating implications,” Guan said. “Cloud-based solutions, consumed as a service, offer both scalability and OPEX pricing, compared to legacy alternatives that not only lack flexibility but also require significant capital expenditures in on-premise equipment. Industries such as financial services and healthcare require solutions that adhere to security protocols, ensuring regulatory compliance."
- Factor quality of service and costs - Guan stresses these factors, stating: “In addition to evaluating the platform, careful examination of quality of service included in the purchase, as well as costs for needed support, is paramount.” Simply choosing a platform with all the best features isn’t enough. It is also important to partner with a provider that is able to differentiate themselves from ‘drop-ship’ competitors by offering both user onboarding and post-deployment support.
Why Univago Shines in the Video Solution Market
Yorktel, a leading provider of video-centric collaborative services and solutions, believes that one of the best ways to improve workplace performance and productivity is by integrating video collaboration in a company’s business workflows. And Univago, Yorktel’s hosted video collaboration platform-as-a-service, aims to be the solution that can help businesses take their video communications and collaboration experience to the next level.
Launched in 2015, Univago seeks to make video communications more convenient, intuitive, and more meaningful. The platform consists of three core services for the enterprise: Virtual Meeting Rooms, Interoperability Gateway and Virtual Receptionist.
|Virtual Meeting Rooms
Also known as a Univago URoom. It is a personal on-demand virtual meeting room available 24/7. It can bring together up to 30 participants in one meeting, regardless of their location, application or device.
||This service allows users to use Yorktel’s Cloud platform
as an interoperability gateway or external B2B gateway to facilitate direct communication between disparate video collaboration protocols, such as between legacy room systems, WebRTC clients, and Skype for Business.
||Univago’s Virtual Receptionist provides a secure path for a specific address in a company’s network.
Below are the highlights of Yorktel’s Univago solution which make it ideal for teams that wish to take their collaboration to the next level:
- Affordable pricing model - The platform’s subscription-based pricing model requires neither capital expenditures nor investment in on-premise hardware.
- Multiple deployment options - Univago is available in multiple deployment options: a pure-cloud, hybrid, or on-premise deployment.
- Compatibility with various platforms - Univago is compatible with any standards-based (H.323, SIP, WebRTC, PSTN.) video application, service, or telephony platform, and can connect users on Cisco Spark, Skype and Skype for Business, browser-based platforms running on Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox, as well as those dialing in via standard telephone lines.
- Customization - Users also have the option to customize the look and feel of the Univago web portal, visual prompts, and Virtual Receptionist with their company’s logo and color scheme.
- 24/7 support - Every Univago subscription includes 24/7 access to Yorktel’s global service desk, making sure users have all the support they need for a successful video communications experience.
Univago is also expected to roll out several new features and functionality soon, including recording and streaming, Japanese language support, and new meeting features (new participant layouts, site names, and moderator controls).
Visit Yorktel’s website to learn more about their range of solutions and services and how they are simplifying video communications for today’s modern enterprise.
Yorktel is a New Jersey-based company providing unified communications and collaboration, cloud, and video managed services for some of the largest business and government agencies in the world. For over 30 years, Yorktel has been designing, integrating, and managing world-class video solutions to help organizations enable visual communications anytime and anywhere. Univago, Yorktel's video collaboration platform as-a-service, is designed to help companies work smarter and simplify collaboration.