THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – No matter what your particular line of work may be, a company’s output is only as good as its employees…and your employees’ output is only as good as their ability to communicate. Being able to collaborate effectively – among employees, among teams, among customers and business associates – is an absolute key to producing the results you want in the fast-paced world of modern eCommerce. Here are five tools and tricks to get the best possible collaborative results out of web conferencing.
- Video Conferencing for Face-to-Face Collaboration
Let’s start with the basics: why use video conferencing in the first place? Video conferencing has a reputation for being expensive to set up and difficult to use, especially if you’re attempting to network between multiple different callers. Fortunately, the modern state of video conferencing has come a long way since the early days of complex connections and low-fi video, and establishing a conferencing set-up on site has never been easier. It’s no longer a huge investment of time or money to establish Inexpensive business video collaboration with Blue Jeans or a similar provider, and good video collaboration has a huge return on investment.
Video conferencing is a step up from collaborating through emails, or even over the phone, providing that feeling of being right there in the room: working with a person, not just the voice on the other end of the line. Customers and clients develop a more personal connection with collaborators through face-to-face contact, and video conferencing can give you that face-to-face contact from anywhere in the world.
- Consider the Cloud
The vast majority of modern offices have already embraced cloud computing. Google Drive and Dropbox are the new standard, replacing those endless chains of email attachments that could be such a huge time sink to sort through. Cloud-based computing extends to web and video conferencing as well: services like Blue Jeans can host calls entirely online in a web browser. Cloud calls save bandwidth for both you and your client, as well as being very easy to access: anyone can be brought into a call just by sharing the link. Which leads us to the next tool for online conferencing:
- Virtual Meeting Rooms
When video conferencing was first starting out as a format, multipoint calls (those with three or more participants) could be a real nightmare to run. Fortunately, cloud-based conferencing has made multi-point calls much easier, thanks to browser based calls and broad compatibility. We mentioned that services like Blue Jeans let you link callers into a browser-based meeting room, but Blue Jeans will also let clients using a different service (Skype or Cisco, for example) join a Blue Jeans–hosted call. In addition to getting multiple parties on the same call, all able to interact in real time, virtual meeting rooms guarantee security for both you and your clients’ peace of mind.
- Screen Sharing
Virtual meeting rooms are incredibly useful for getting multiple people on the same call, for check ins or meetings with clients, but what about teams of collaborators working on a project? They’re still going to be better off meeting in person to exchange information, right? Not necessarily.
Screen sharing is a newer feature provided by many video conferencing services, to take your web conferences from video meetings to true video collaboration. Screen sharing allows two way transfer, so you can use it to show product demos, give presentations, or display spreadsheets and other information: quick, fluid, up-to-the-second sharing for the best possible transfer of information.
- The Electronic Whiteboard
We mentioned that cloud-based collaborative editing programs like Google Drive are already standard in most work places. Electronic whiteboards are a way to bring that kind of collaboration to a web conference: a blank slate everyone on a call can work on to exchange ideas and workshop documents or designs. They are an especially useful tool for multiple teams collaborating on one project, or for a client to provide feedback on a document or design. Like screen sharing, electronic whiteboard documents update instantaneously, giving you fast, efficient transfer of information and ideas. No juggling email attachments or waiting for notes or feedback: electronic whiteboards are every bit as efficient as gathering everyone around a table, even if everyone at your virtual table is on a different continent!
Web conferencing is one of the most valuable tools a business can have in its arsenal. Pick the right service, with the right features, and you’ll be prepared to communicate more fluidly and more efficiently than any of your competitors on the playing field. Services like Blue Jeans give you a huge advantage in communication, collaboration, and information exchange: make them a part of your business plan today.