Inavate + Barco: VC for everyone everywhere

Increased demand for VC has seen it proliferate from the meeting room to other parts of the workplace. Tony Sandberg discusses how Barco ClickShare can help this expansion of VC without degrading the user experience.

It is not a stretch to say that videoconferencing was one of the big winners of 2022. VC stepped up to the plate to keep operations running during the worst of the disruption caused by the restrictions and regulations put in place to battle the spread of Covid-19 and as the world moved out of the pandemic VC became a cornerstone of hybrid work by connecting the workplace and the remote location.

Videoconferencing remains a critical part of the conversation today as hybrid working routines take form and shape. The increasing demand for VC from workers and employees has meant that workplaces are becoming more ‘tech-dense’. Videoconferencing is no longer just confined to designated ‘meeting rooms’ and is being added to a whole range of spaces from lobbies to cafeterias.

Tony Sandberg, Vice President of Sales, Meeting and Learning Experience, Asia Pacific, Barco, says: “VC is definitely moving beyond the meeting room, and we are seeing new types of VC-enabled spaces such as huddle rooms, phonebooths, open collaboration areas and more come to the fore. We can see this happening at modern workplaces and even at Barco’s own office in Singapore where VC spaces are increasing. Driving this democratisation of VC is the increase in its use and an evolution in how it is being used.”

Sandberg continues: “There are standard meeting rooms and using them comes with an associated workflow; you need to book the room and this needs to be synced with your calendar and wider IT services. These traditional meeting rooms are and will remain a part of the workplace. But with the increased demand for VC and its evolution in how it is now used for communicating, you need an option that is more flexible. And that is where the expansion of VC and the creation of spaces such as huddle rooms, phone booths and open collaboration areas comes in.”

Delivering VC systems for these myriads of spaces can be challenging but Sandberg has advice for AV professionals: “The most important consideration now is the user experience. The UX must be familiar to users, it must resonate with them, and it must be something that they are able to effortlessly navigate. From the perspective of the AV professional with many different types of spaces it becomes more challenging to standardise the videoconferencing UX. Of course, you can standardise the experience with the choice of the VC platform but there is also the option to standardise with the choice of the hardware device users are using to access the VC platforms namely the laptop.”

He continues: “To a certain extent, VC has already been ‘democratised’ and there is a standardised experience that we can leverage. Over the course of the disruption caused by Covid-19, people became very familiar with and accustomed to VC on their personal devices and laptops. If we go down the route of BYOD or BYOM, we can create systems that provide exceptional experiences.”

This is where the Barco ClickShare comes in. ClickShare can turn any meeting space ‘hybrid’ by providing users a way to bring their personal devices into the mix while still leveraging the systems and AV technology deployed in the space. ClickShare seamlessly fits into meeting spaces that are going down the route of a dedicated VC platform or those that choose to remain platform agnostic.

Sandberg adds: “If we look at technology through the lens of the new VC requirements, Barco believes that you have to support the platforms that the users are demanding. ClickShare is VC platform agnostic. If you are planning and designing your workplace right now, ClickShare is the optimal solution to create systems that meet user demands and requirements. And if you are looking to upgrade or retrofit spaces, ClickShare presents a route that is easy to implement without breaking the bank.”

The value proposition of ClickShare to a workplace being designed and created from scratch is undeniable. It is the simplest route to take the user’s personal device or laptop and let it be the central component of the VC experience. To add, it also brings a range of collaboration tools to the table as well. ClickShare is as viable when it comes to upgrading or retrofitting spaces to be VC-enabled since it requires minimal infrastructure to setup. If you have data and power available in a space, ClickShare can slot in and make it VC-enabled. ClickShare can be configured to operate with its built-in, private WiFi if need be, taking the bandwidth load away from the corporate WiFi network. Throw in a selection of display and videobar from the plethora of options available on the market and you have a space ready for videoconferencing.

Proving that Barco’s focus on UX is not just lip service, ClickShare also significantly improves VC outcomes. Meeting equity in particular is something that Sandberg highlights: “Barco has developed ClickShare Conference which further enables BYOM and collaboration. We’re really looking at making meetings more equitable and ensuring that the participants from the remote location are not left out of the conversation. For example, one of the features available is Conference View which allows for presentations and participants to be viewed simultaneously while sharing content. This ensures that you don’t miss out on non-verbal cues and reactions. And we’re going to be enhancing the feature suite to further meeting equity for all participants as we move forward.”

Security is also a core focus. Barco ClickShare comes with ISO 27001, 27017 and 27018 certifications meeting international standards for security. Providing further peace of mind for clients is Barco’s Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) which is dedicated to monitoring privacy and security risks. The team’s work ensures that ClickShare remains secure as threats and possible vulnerabilities emerge. With the expansion in VC-enabled services, Barco also has the people responsible for the operation of meeting spaces in mind. Sandberg details: “For managing and monitoring, we have a cloud-based service called XMS Cloud that can be integrated with other platforms, to get an overview of the ClickShare units deployed at a facility along with pertinent data about their status. XMS Cloud also makes updating firmware as simple as a single click, so it ensures that the system keeps running in optimal condition.” The XMS Cloud Management Platform offers a solution for IT managers deploying or owning a large install base of ClickShare wireless collaboration devices. It provides an easy-to-use interface for remote and reliable device management to guarantee the user experience and brings useful analytics to drive the digital workplace.

Bringing the discussion to a close, Sandberg returns to the important topic of experience: “The number one rule for any VC-enabled space is that it shouldn’t be complicated, users should be able to start their calls and their meetings easily. And this should really dictate the user experience, whether it is for a meeting room that needs to be booked in advance with a schedule or whether it is an ad-hoc meeting that is taking place in a flexible meeting space. Barco ClickShare can help make sure that this rule is followed.”

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