Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video Conferencing: Things are Changing.errrrr Changed

Scene 1 Company: ABC International Inc., US Based, Head Office in US, 100 branches all over the world divided in 5 regions, and having 5 Managing Directors and 335 Directors. Event: Board Meeting of ABC International Inc. being held in US. (Board of Directors Meeting) This meeting is held every year during the month of February. US office sends return tickets for all the 340 Directors in their respective countries.

All Directors have to fly off to US office to attend this meeting. And every year the US Huge conference Room used to be jam packed during this one day affair. For this one day affair each of the directors had to travel from their respective countries. But this year it is different. Board Meeting is started in time, but there are hardly five persons sitting in the US Huge Conference Room. 

Thanks to the IT efforts of respective regions and the sanction by US office to set up Video Conferencing Facility in each Director’s Office. Just one time investment resolved this issue of tiring travels etc. Each of the Directors are sitting in their respective Conference Rooms, with their Video Conferencing on and the meeting is in full flow.

Scene 2 An MNC is hiring people for their new software development office in Bangalore. They plan to conduct interviews to hire 50 programmers at various levels from the major cities all over India. Thanks to their Video Conferencing setup. No investment for candidates to travel to Bangalore. 

With the help of a national video conferencing service provider, they called respective candidates to the respective video conferencing service provider’s offices with video conferencing setup. In one day they were able to select required persons from all over India. Candidates had to appear as they are appearing for a local interview as they just had to go to an office within their city having video conferencing facility and connected to Bangalore MNC company.

Scene 3 A free lancer Engineer aspirant to start his own company, has fixed a meeting through video conferencing with an Italy based Manufacturing giant to show his samples developed as per their specifications and to have a final go ahead for mass production. He went to a local video conferencing service provider, connects to Italy, and comes out happily as his samples are approved and the company has promised to commercially assist him to start his venture. In few hours a free lancer engineer has become an MD of a company tied up with an international giant.

These are not stories, this is what is happening in world today. Video Conferencing is conferencing between two or more than two parties physically sitting at different locations but virtually sitting in the same hall/room irrespective of distances. It is the corporate version of webcam chat we do over internet using some kind of messenger, webcam, and an internet connection. Now since this is a business solution, it is different to the video internet chat in terms of cost, solutions, and components selection. 

Video Conferencing has become popular worldwide as a business solution and has become legally permissible to conduct Board Meetings, Interviews, It is done with the help of 3 things: Carrier – or media that connects VC (Video Conferencing) system – or electronic device that connects to distant location with the help of carrier Monitor – to see the persons sitting at distant locations and make them virtually present in the meeting 

1. Carrier: It is the pipe of bandwidth that permits you to connect to the other end by dialing or permanent end to end connectivity. Like ISDN, Leased Line, VPN etc. 

2. VC system: This is a device that you have to purchase which enables you to conduct Video Conferencing. Major worldwide players are Polycom and Tandberg. This system connect to your Monitor and Carrier outlet thereby forming a full Video Conferencing System. 

3. Monitor: This can be a TV, Plasma or LCD Screen.

Preparation for a VC Once you have purchased the equipments and have a set up at your place. It is very important to learn well about all the equipments from respective vendors extensively. For TV, it is ok, every one knows how to handle it and use it. But if you are using a Plasma or LCD, do understand well how to use its remote as well as the buttons on the instrument. Understand that the people who are sitting for VC will mostly the top notch people having top priority for their time and the time of their counterparts sitting at the other end. 

Similarly for the VC instrument, follow the same criteria. Have a list of technical contacts of the respective vendors with proper guidelines somewhere near the set up so that any one in trouble can call them in no time. Ensure that you arrive at your set up at least 45 minutes before the actual start of the conference so that you can perform your tests and trial runs. If you are responsible to run the show without fail on the technical front, somebody else would be the anchor person for running the Conference. 

Ensure who so ever is responsible has done his/her role by distributing the agenda and objectives to all the participants in advance. Ensure that the setup according to your conference room has the camera at appropriate distance so as to cover all the persons attending VC. Avoid using auto sensor feature of your camera if which sense sound and focus accordingly. The camera and the screen should not be at different locations of different sides. Otherwise it will appear at the other end that all the persons are looking somewhere else. So to avoid a fuss or a flop show, the process owner (who has the responsibility to run the show successfully) must have enough hands on experience before conducting even his / her first live show.

The VC in progress Have a normal guideline for VCs which is circulated to all the relevant officials. Paste it in your conference room also. Ensure that these guidelines should cover points related to discipline (like keep your mobiles in buzzer or silent mode, talk one person at a time, be punctual, keep your tone and volume of speech appropriate – this will depend on your mike setup too, whether you are using extra mikes etc., keep your eyes and face towards camera and screen – prefer camera on top of your screen so that both the purposes are solved.

1 comment:

Shellydesuza said...

Software Video conferencing is a boon to business organization which travel expenses. To see full implementation it definitely needs Government support.