Most work we do now requires some sort of collaboration and, thanks to the cloud collaboration software, has reached entirely new levels of efficiency. But with so many tools and solutions to choose from, it’s hard to get your team dedicated to using them all. A lot of tools we have at our disposal go unused. Video conferences are great for some, but a pain for others.
Visual Collaboration is starting to take over the business world. Companies of all shapes and sizes are taking advantage of the unique benefits visual collaboration has to offer, ranging from cutting costs to ensuring your business is all on the same page with projects, goals, and deadlines.
Video is just one part of visual collaboration, and this whole umbrella brings an entirely new level of productivity that most are missing out on. Visual collaboration overall includes tools like online white-boarding and screen sharing.
But, it’s time to change the landscape of your business, if you haven’t already, to a more productive, user-friendly experience for everyone in and out of the office.
What Exactly is Visual Collaboration?
Visual collaboration is not a singular thing. It’s an idea composed of multiple parts to ensure businesses are working together, regardless of location, to accomplish a common goal.
- Video Conferencing focuses on making video conferences and teleconnections as smooth and as visually appealing as possible for employers and employees. Many people work remotely, so having the opportunity to connect to people and make it seem as if they’re in the same room together is key to making everyone feel more like a team. Our video conferencing showdown goes into great detail about three different solutions businesses can use, depending, of course, on what their needs are.
- Screen sharing allows one user to show others exactly what they’re doing on their computer screen in real time. Think what Microsoft does when you run into a problem with your computer. They take it over and you can see them fix the problem as they go. This has huge benefits to collaboration with presentations, training and even IT support. For more benefits to one of the most underrated collaboration features, check out our more in-depth article on screen sharing.
- Content sharing allows users to utilize visual aids in text-based or even audio conferencing. Just look at Google Docs, multiple users can edit and collaborate on the same document at the same time, instead of discussing changes over the phone and sending multiple copies of the same draft.
- Digital whiteboards have been around longer than you realized. Are you a millennial? Do you remember the first time you used a smart board in school? That’s what a digital whiteboard is. They use a projector connected to a computer to display documents, watch videos, and write on with a special stylus. Digital whiteboards aren’t limited to physical screens in classrooms and conference rooms. There are online digital whiteboards too. Here’s a list of the ten best online whiteboards.
Benefits of Visual Collaboration
Visual collaboration can really bring a lot to the table. Whether it means faster meetings, or saving costs on traveling to different locations, different teams will find different benefits to be had.
Polycom firmly believes in prioritizing this technology for the future. Their recent Polycom Executive Roundtable Event last week stressed the importance of making 4k monitors the norm in the workplace.
The simple concept of digital whiteboarding alone can bring a whole new way of working that teams never realized before, and screen sharing can turn boring phone calls into visual collaboration sessions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the major benefits listed on Polycom’s website.
Increase Efficiency of Remote Meetings
Instead of wasting time traveling to the office, or meeting at another location outside the office, two people can simply connect to each other and jump right into business.
Lower Travel Costs of In-person Meetings
It also costs much less overall to focus on visual collaboration when you need to meet with people who are out of state or in other countries. If your business has a partner in Europe or Asia, and you need to meet regularly, taking steps towards visual collaboration will cut costs significantly on airline tickets, hotels, and cars.
Incorporating Visual Collaboration into Daily Tasks
Sometimes words aren’t enough. Perhaps what’s missing from your powerpoint is a slide where you can connect directly to the source. What if a school’s field trip to the museum gets cancelled because of bad weather? Does that mean the kids don’t get to learn?
What if they could reach out to a tour guide without leaving the classroom? Moments like that can change the direction of the entire year by giving students an as-close-to-real-life opportunity every day instead of just looking at the textbook.
Enable and Engage Remote Workforce More
If a significant number of people work remotely, they might feel more isolated and less like they’re a part of something bigger, which can be very unmotivating. Reaching out to your remote workforce will ensure they’re on top of their work, they feel like they’re a part of a team, and everyone is on the same page.
Capture and Distribute Important Information Quickly
If your business wants to see a product in person, but can’t get out of the office, you don’t want to look at stock pictures all day, set up a video conference to see the product in the real world. With a high quality monitor, you’ll feel as if you’re holding the product in your hands.
How Can Your Business Integrate It Successfully?
Businesses of all kinds can integrate visual collaboration into their daily work lives. The goal of visual collaboration is to make the technology work seamlessly for you. Using it should feel nothing but natural. Here are a couple ways your business can integrate visual collaboration:
When used with a mobile device, you can be on your way to work, at home, in another country, or at the coffee shop down the block, and still be connected to everything going on at work. If you’re on vacation, and there’s a complete meltdown in the office, you can connect to the office in seconds and fix any problems before they get even worse.
Visual collaboration involves easy-to-use technology with a small learning curve allowing people from all fields take advantage. These new technologies like digital whiteboards are designed with the user in mind. Buttons are bigger, touch screen is more sensitive, settings are easily accessible, and integrations make them feel natural.
User experience has played an important role in Avaya’s recent success. See how you can incorporate any of Avaya’s take on user experience by reading our article on Avaya’s Equinox platform.
Some Possible Downsides
Visual collaboration overall improves the workplace in more ways than the ones mentioned already. That doesn’t mean that there are some downsides to adopting the new technology companies like Polycom are selling.
A lot of this new technology is just flat out expensive. Some of the more highly developed technologies can cost up to $50,000. Outside of large enterprises, it’s hard to imagine schools and small businesses being able to make room in their tight budgets for digital whiteboards, 4k monitors, high-speed internet, and IT teams.
Although, some huddle room technology can help keep the cost low for smaller teams, the good stuff is worth spending the capital for. Here, you can read a great article on why huddle rooms should have a 4k camera in them.
It can also cost a ton of money to install everything and then keep it maintained. These technologies are user-friendly, but not when it comes to fixing them. These things need to be kept in mind before going all in.
There’s No Cutting Corners
Polycom stressed the importance of video quality during their Polycom Executive Roundtable Event for good reason. They say, correctly, that people are visual animals, meaning they will remember how good or bad something is depending on what it looks like.
There’s no cutting corners with visual collaboration. If your business wants to leave a lasting impression on other people, the quality of their monitors, cameras, and mics need to make the person or team on the other end believe that they’re in the same room as you.This, of course, means there’s very little wiggle room around the high costs.
Our article on the twelve best microphones for any conference room can help you make a decision on what’s best go with your monitors and video cameras.
Using visual collaboration for your business will soon be a necessary, and expensive, step in order to keep up with competition. Video conferencing alone helps to increase productivity and efficiency around the office, while leaving a lasting visual impression on your employees, customers, and partners.
It’s time to take advantage of the fact that humans are visual animals by upgrading your business communications infrastructure to make video conferencing feel more natural. The emphasis on cameras can be seen in other technology too.
The newest iPhones are being praised for their dual-cameras. One company is reviewing the phone strictly as a camera, because that’s what most people use their phones for now. Users have shared up to 10 billion videos on Snapchat. Making the quality of pictures and movies better will only leave lasting impressions on people.
Like the new iPhones, visual collaboration costs more than you want to pay. If your business cuts corners, it risks losing the wow factor that comes with digital whiteboards, 4k monitors, and powerful video cameras. These are all essential, according to Polycom, for making your business stand out. If the money is there, consider incorporating visual collaboration in your office.