Enterprise collaboration comprises a mix of hardware, software and services. For companies evaluating visual collaboration platforms that use multiscreen and gesture-based interaction, an important consideration will be how the system fits in with existing audio/video technology and the telephony systems in their conference rooms. Of course, finding a solution that works with your unified communications and collaboration hardware will be critical. Finding solutions that will work with a wide range of conferencing hardware, software and services will give conference rooms permanence and stability, even if the endpoints and backend conferencing systems change.
Many of the companies that supply these solutions sell through channel partners that specialize in selling, installing and servicing A/V equipment, so they should have the experience necessary to either make use of existing equipment or can recommend what changes should be made to a conference room to provide the best experience. For example, you should expect to replace older multidirectional conference phones with equipment that can take advantage of separate microphones and speakers located in multiple locations around the room.
From a practical enterprise collaboration perspective, meeting facilitators will be moving about the room and using gesture-based input to page through content while facing a screen or wall. Therefore, there will need to be microphones in the wall or on the ceiling near the screen, in keeping with how an organization plans to use the technology (as described in the first part of this three-part series).
The second part of this series detailed how to integrate solutions with existing collaboration applications and tools. In addition to enterprise collaboration software, companies should evaluate how the solution will integrate with their management tools and conferencing technology. For example, solutions can integrate with policy-based management tools so that configuration settings and software updates can be managed remotely.
Furthermore, solutions may include audio conferencing hardware that provides a better experience than older systems and works with third-party room management and telepresence solutions. For example, an organization that uses Audinate’s Dante Domain Manager to manage audio over the network or Intel’s Unite A/V room management system should look for solutions that will integrate with those management tools.
In addition to working with an existing telepresence system, other advanced features found in video conferencing solutions, such as camera tracking, may be supported by a visual collaboration platform and would be worth looking at.
Finally, these visual collaboration platforms can also work well in higher education, as well as classroom-based training. For colleges and universities, as well as companies with extensive training needs, it will make sense to evaluate these solutions with tools that help capture lessons and training across media and channels. For example, video and audio capture platforms such as Panopto and the Matrox Monarch streaming and recording appliances provide a way to record video, audio and presentation content and convert it to courseware. If you are using these or similar solutions to build online learning content, testing these immersive visual collaboration platforms makes sense.