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Working from home in times of crisis

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By Rene Buhay, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at leading AV manufacturer AVer Europe 

In times of crisis, remote working is increasingly important for a business to continue to function, and with it the communications technology that makes it work.

Telecommuting, distance working, remote working: the reality is that working away from the office is a legitimate and rapidly growing occurrence in business. Remote working is extremely appealing to many businesses keen to capitalize on the flexibility and cost savings it brings, whilst helping build genuine relationships with remote teams and partners. It can also be a crucial part of a business continuity plan, if an office has to shut, or staff are unwell and need to work from home.  Businesses can continue to operate with a minimum amount of disruption if the technology is in place to help staff work remotely.

Rene Buhay

Rene Buhay

The idea of working from home is already extremely popular with employees, and has seen a steady increase in recent years. A younger generation of workers, who have grown up with technology and are accustomed to making connections remotely from early childhood, can carry that experience with them into the workforce. With innovations in communication technology, the lines between workplaces and living spaces are virtually non-existent. Anyone can use cloud-based platforms and a laptop to instant message or video chat with co-workers.

If remote working has not yet played a role in the way a company does work, it undoubtedly will soon. But businesses will need a reliable way to create meaningful and productive connections with employees scattered around the world if this is to be successful. Video conferencing is the answer.

At AVer Europe we have been developing a range of products for this kind of interaction, with hardware certifications for major conferencing platforms like Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom Rooms. Cameras have been designed for every type of meeting room and situation, with products suitable for remote or small groups of distant workers. Options like the CAM340+ and the VB342+ Video Soundbar deliver diverse interoperability with most cloud-based video conferencing systems so team members can connect wherever they are and however they communicate.

Particularly useful for lone workers is our CAM340+, a compact, portable high-quality HD intelligent camera that allows the user to communicate from anywhere. Compatible with all common applications, it connects to a computer via a single USB cable, ready to use as soon as it’s plugged in to a laptop or monitor. Another useful tool is our VB342+, an all in one USB 4K UHD smart room camera/audio soundbar, featuring smart functions for automatic FOV framing and voice tracking, that creates a feeling of closeness for remote workers.

If a business uses Zoom for video conferencing, the EP65 all-in-one touchscreen with integrated Zoom Rooms software is a great solution as it is designed for distance collaboration, features 4K imaging and a high-quality audio experience that brings remote workers into the room. A shared digital whiteboard and wireless screen sharing capability allow virtual participants to contribute as if they were present in-person. Also, the VB342+ Video Soundbar is perfect for huddle rooms, with SmartFrame and SmartSpeaker auto framing and voice tracking functions.

If staff are not IT proficient or are wary of new technology and how to set up devices, smart functions incorporated in conferencing technology will eliminate the need for them to be IT experts, taking away their fears of using new technology. One of the main benefits of smart functions in the video conferencing room is that they eliminate clumsy manual camera setup and operation. Technology like SmartFrame and SmartSpeaker are excellent examples of functions that automatically adjust a camera’s field of view (FOV) and zoom via facial and voice recognition algorithms. With these solutions the user doesn’t have to pan, tilt, or zoom a conferencing camera to make sure a person is in frame. There’s also no need to manually switch the camera’s focus from speaker to speaker. SmartFrame lets you set the perfect frame to start a meeting with one push of a button. SmartSpeaker differentiates between random noises and the human voice to switch between speakers. These features cut out a significant amount of downtime, allowing staff to focus on the important work that needs doing.

A welcome result of video conferencing is the reduced carbon footprint for an organisation, with less travel. Most companies like to talk a lot about corporate social responsibility and using video conferencing to reduce travel is one of the best ways to back up that rhetoric. In a world that is growing increasingly more virtual, with requirement to work away from the office for travel, sickness, or work-life balance, video conferencing means that communication and efficiency don’t need to be heavily impacted, and business operations can keep running smoothly.

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