5 Reasons High-Performing Teams Need More than Just Videoconferencing

Upgrade your current videoconferencing systems now.

There is a confluence of events driving a shift in the way teams work together, and these trends are pushing leaders to re-examine how their workforce is equipped to optimize performance and engagement. Here are five reasons why your teams need more than just videoconferencing in your meeting rooms.

1. The Exponential Growth of Data

There is a greater quantity of it and there are more different types of digital content than ever. Images, maps, data (structured and unstructured), analytics, web sources, and live feeds are all being considered when decisions need to be made and work needs to get done. Teams at all levels in the organization need free-flowing access to see and share information simultaneously, so it can be compared and analyzed side-by-side.

2. The Multi-Location Workforce

The workforce is increasingly more mobile and more distributed. The most effective organizations bring teams together based on their ability to contribute to a project or situation, and not based on their location. Therefore, global teams need the ability to seamlessly contribute information to a shared digital workspace in real-time. The notion of working side-by-side on a project has new meaning when teams are distributed; workplace technology needs to keep up so that everyone has equal access to contribute simultaneously.

3. The Millennial Wave

Today, 40% of the workforce is made up of millennials. Within 10 years the number will rise to 75%. This generation of digital natives is not bound by the limitations of traditional workplace paradigms. If they’re not able to contribute to a meeting, they’ll disengage. If the technology provided is having issues, they’ll find alternatives. If they’re bored in the workplace environment, they’ll go elsewhere. They need collaboration technologies that are truly intuitive, exhilarating, and enabling. They need technology that works easily every time. And, they need to use their preferred device and use it from anywhere.

4. The Evolution of Conferencing

Phone calls have given way to video calls as apps like FaceTime and Snapchat (and selfie culture in general) have made people more comfortable on camera. The video teleconferencing systems proliferating in workplace meeting rooms of all sizes may be getting good use, but they’re actually getting in the way of getting great work done. Those single-stream fixed feeds (e.g., one for video, one for content) are locked into place, providing little flexibility or utility of the display screen real estate. Yet the solution exists that enables multiple participants to contribute and control content on the displays from multiple sources and locations at the same time. When this happens, meetings flow more naturally, insights are surfaced more seamlessly, and collaborators can focus on the work at hand. More is accomplished in less time when the team is focused and equipped with the right technology for teamwork.

5. Time is Money

Workflows accelerate to achieve new business gains when teams are properly equipped for collaboration. No one wants to leave money on the table. Now's the time to think beyond basic videoconferencing for a more advanced collaboration solution to enable multi-stream, multi-location workflows for the new digital era. This is an unexpected virtue of our flagship product, Mezzanine: it honors the investments already made in screens, networks and video-teleconferencing systems. Mezzanine is a software solution that is virtually hardware agnostic: It wraps around existing VTC systems to provide an unparalleled environment for visualization and content collaboration. Its proprietary gesture interface–one of several concurrent modes for controlling content on screens–literally wraps around displays. The new smaller footprint of the Mezzanine 200 Series also brings the appliance into the meeting room as an option for swift deployment. And because Mezzanine is sold by the "room" and not the "seat," there is no roster of individual licensees to upkeep. If you’ve already invested in popular videoconferencing technology, you can transform that basic capability into a fully-integrated, future-proof collaboration hub for your data-hungry distributed teams.

Working with Watson

The goal of each Watson Experience Center—located in New York, San Francisco, and Cambridge—is to demystify AI and challenge visitor’s expectations through more tangible demonstrations of Watson technology. Visitors are guided through a series of narratives and data interfaces, each grounded in IBM’s current capabilities in machine learning and AI. These sit alongside a host of Mezzanine rooms where participants further collaborate to build solutions together.

The process for creating each experience begins with dynamic, collaborative research. Subject matter experts take members of the design and engineering teams through real-world scenarios—disaster response, financial crimes investigation, oil and gas management, product research, world news analysis—where we identify and test applicable data sets. From there, we move our ideas quickly to scale.

Accessibility to the immersive pixel canvas for everyone involved is key to the process. Designers must be able to see their ideas outside of the confines of 15″ laptops and prescriptive software. Utilizing tools tuned for rapid iteration at scale, our capable team of designers, data artists, and engineers work side-by-side to envision and define each experience. The result is more than a polished marketing narrative; it's an active interface that allows the exploration of data with accurate demonstrations of Watson’s capabilities—one that customers can see themselves in.

Under the Hood

Underlying the digital canvas is a robust spatial operating environment, g‑speak, which allows our team to position real data in a true spatial context. Every data point within the system, and even the UI itself, is defined in real world coordinates (measured in millimeters, not pixels). Gestures, directional pointing, and proximity to screens help us create interfaces that more closely understand user intent and more effectively humanize the UI.

This award-nominated collaboration with IBM is prototyped and developed at scale at Oblong’s headquarters in Los Angeles as well as IBM’s Immersive AI Lab in Austin. While these spaces are typically invite-only, IBM is increasingly open to sharing the content and the unique design ideas that drive its success with the public. This November, during Austin Design Week, IBM will host a tour of their Watson Immersive AI Lab, including live demonstrations of the work and a Q&A session with leaders from the creative team.

Can't make it to Austin? Contact our Solutions team for a glimpse of our vision of the future at our headquarters in the Arts District in Los Angeles.

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