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March 22, 2016

Visual Collaboration in the Next Generation Workplace

By Special Guest
John Vitale, SVP of Product Management for Yorktel

The influx of millennials into the workforce has forced businesses to reevaluate operations from the top down, and renovate their corporate cultures to accommodate this vital contingency. Emerging from this evolution in thinking is a progressive management strategy dubbed the Next Gen Workplace (NGW). NGW is defined as an environment that enables agile, truly collaborative user experiences, and fosters productivity and efficiency for optimal growth.

Flexible work schedules, coupled with policies like bring your own device (BYOD), telecommuting and workshifting will help recruit and retain top tier talent, a principle NGW objective. Noticeably absent from new office designs are traditional corporate boardrooms, which are being replaced with more open layouts and economical huddle rooms designed for agility and collaboration.

Organizations everywhere must accommodate employees connecting from various devices and operating systems in settings not always conducive to secure communications. Enabling true collaboration requires an enterprise to overcome issues like platform incompatibility.

While BYOD is by no means a new trend, its importance in the workplace has grown exponentially in recent years. Research from Citrix found that corporate attitudes toward the use of personal devices in the workplace have changed dramatically. Currently, 66% of organizations do not have an enforced ban on employees’ use of their own devices for work, compared to 84% that had such a ban in the past. In fact, 55% of those surveyed by Citrix said they now actively accommodate and encourage the use of personal devices for work purposes.

In taking NGW from concept to reality, companies must outfit both employees and workspaces with technologies that allow a distributed workforce to communicate and collaborate seamlessly and without restriction. Nemertes Research noted that distributed workers are more likely to use room-based, desktop or some combination of video conferencing systems simply to provide for more effective meetings with remote staff.

To realize maximum productivity, enterprises must integrate video communications into their unified communications architectures. A wider adoption of standards-based protocols such as SIP, H.264, and WebRTC allows end users to mix-and-match across different video conferencing vendors and brands, and across different endpoint types and networks. By deploying software-based solutions, customers can more easily ensure that new mobile solutions can integrate seamlessly with existing room-based and executive video conferencing systems.

But buyer beware, as numerous videoconferencing services which claim enterprise-grade status fall short on many fronts. Most consume titanic levels of bandwidth, which can cripple productivity in a corporate environment. More often than not, they also lack both the ability to mitigate security risks, and the technical sophistication for interoperability and quality of service (QoS) required of business communications.

When exploring video communications and collaboration platforms, ensure native support for various disparate technologies. To be effective, videoconferencing services must also support of a variety of deployment architectures to prevent bandwidth consumption and bottlenecking which in a business setting, has devastating implications.

In late 2015, Yorktel introduced Univago, a cloud video communications-as-a-service platform, which solves interoperability and quality of service (QoS) problems that prevent BYOD, remote collaboration and other policies to flourish. Easily accessible through a web portal from which enterprises can provision and manage accounts for their end users, Univago natively facilitates communication between existing conference rooms and the most widely used telecommunications platforms such as SIP, H.323, Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business, WebRTC and the public telephone network. Mobile and PC client solutions are included as part of the service, expanding usability. Of note, is that Univago features a unique, cloud hybrid deployment model that maximizes both security and the quality of service, while optimizing bandwidth consumption.

As Yorktel continues to develop new service features on the Univago platform, video communications will become easier than ever to deploy and manage your company’s video communication services, while enabling increased collaboration and productivity.

John Vitale is SVP of Product Management for Yorktel, a global provider of cloud, UC&C and video managed services. Ranked by Frost & Sullivan as one of the top three managed video conferencing providers in the world, Yorktel has served as the trusted partner of Fortune 500 businesses and governments for 30 years. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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