With the increased adoption of mobility and the number of employees working remotely, video collaboration has become a critical requirement for more and more companies. However, even if it’s the same need, there is no universal answer valid for all organizations. The solution Datanet Systems specialists offer consists in developing and customizing Cisco Cloud-based and on-premises technologies in tailor-made solutions adapted for each company.

A few years ago, when videoconference was the glory of companies with financial possibilities, one of the main business reasons for using it was to reduce travel costs. The logic was simple, using videoconferencing solutions, organizations made savings because they no longer paid for transportation, accommodation and daily allowances of employees who would have had to attend meetings in other cities or countries.

The “distance” argument is still valid, but it is applied in another context – the rapid increase in the number of mobile employees, which no longer only work from offices and headquarters of organizations, but from wherever they are. Adoption of mobility in the enterprise environment, however, leads to a territorial dispersion of the workforce, which makes it difficult to work in the team and to access specific competencies within an organization.

The solution to these problems is the new generation of more affordable, collaborative video solutions that are no longer just “simple” audio-video applications, but integrate advanced collaboration functionalities. According to the Forbes Insights study “The Connected Culture: Unleashing the Power of Video in Everyday Collaboration” published last year, the main benefits provided by this type of applications are:

  • Improving communication and collaboration between employees working at a distance (97%);
  • Increased team efficiency (93%);
  • Increasing employee productivity (92%);
  • Improving customer relationships and sales processes (87%).

However, there are other, indirect but important benefits that videoconferences generates, such as improving decision-making (by facilitating real-time collaboration), or increasing employees’ retention (mobility freedom and the effectiveness of collaborative video solutions enable employees to define their own way of working).

 

Cisco solutions dominate the market 

In the past few years, the collaboration video market has rapidly expanded – there are hundreds of Cloud-based, hybrid or on-premises solutions, some of which are available on the local market.

Datanet Systems’ offer of collaborative video solutions is based on Cisco’s portfolio, a leading company in the video and web conferencing and unified communications systems market. (According to Gartner, Cisco solutions record maximum scores on four key areas: “Internal Collaboration”, “External Presentation”, “Learning & Training” and “Webinars”.)

 

Webex, a platform with millions of users

One of Cisco’s leading products on the video collaboration platform is Webex, the Cloud platform with over 116 million active users per month in 30 million collaboration sessions (more than 100 million hours of use).

The popularity of Cisco’s solution is ensured by a number of features such as simplicity in use, interoperability, modular structure, scalability, and constant addition of new functionalites.

Webex integrates three main modules:

  • Teams – a collaborative work platform through which users inside and outside an organization gather in a virtual space where they share the necessary information for teamwork. In the created spaces you can send files, messages, calls and audio-video sessions, make interactive changes to the documents (through “white boarding” technology), all in a secure way. (The Teams Module is the result of integrating Spark collaboration platforms with Webex, a process completed this year. You can read here  what are the key functionalities of Spark.)
  • Calling – the Cloud based phone system designed to deliver an extensive range of features that users can use without the need of IT support.
  • Meetings – the audio-video and web-based conference system that allows participants to connect from wherever they are and regardless of the type of equipment used. The solution is designed to simplify as much as possible procedures for initiating and managing video sessions, inviting participants (up to 4,000 people) and securing information sharing (screen sharing, document sharing, applications, etc.), optimizing bandwidth consumption and allocation of processing resources. Another aspect where Meetings excels is interoperability – the solution integrates easily with Microsoft Teams, Slack, Office 365, Outlook and Googlecalendars, Salesforce, Canvas

The Cisco video collaboration platform also includes several hardware components: Cisco 8800 and 7800 series of IP phones, Webex Board (the former Spark Board, an interactive display that automatically connects to any nearby mobile or desktop equipment and allows editing documents, in real time), as well as several Webex Room Series kits designed to equip venues dedicated to collaborative video activities. Recently, Webex Share has been added to them – an “easy-to-install” adapter that can be used to convert any HD TV into a wireless display with the help of which Webex-enabled equipment automatically connects.

 

Solutions for capitalizing on in-house resources

Cisco’s solutions implemented by Datanet are also targeted at organizations that want to keep their in-house video collaboration infrastructure and capitalize on the investments already made in this regard on audio-video communications and web conferencing. It is a frequently encountered situation in organizations with critical security requirements, such as financial and banking institutions, health care institutions, state institutions, etc.

To meet these specific requirements, Datanet implements, configures and customizes the on-premises Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) solution, another Cisco market leader product that benefits from extensive interoperability. CMS supports the main video standards currently in use, works with a large number of non-Cisco video equipment, integrates easily with “competing” audio and video communication applications such as Skype for Business, but also with Office365, and can be accessed from any of your devices: laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Extensive compatibility with Cisco Meeting Server is not the only reason Datanet recommends this product. The list of CMS unique features is:

  • High scalability provided by both Cisco technologies and flexible licensing, which gives companies the possibility to achieve phased development, based on their real needs and number of users;
  • Excellent video / video quality ratio, provided by advanced resource allocation algorithms and optimization of bandwidth used;
  • The large number of concurrent users – CMS currently supports more participants than most competitors on the market, due to the way they stream videos;
  • Access to video sessions through WebRTC – external participants can access a video conference with the help of web browsers, eliminating the need for dedicated video equipment;
  • Advanced security features – all data control and audio / video communications are encrypted, CMS provides protection against “DNS cache poisoning” attacks, IPv6 support, securing security code spaces, etc.

All these features recommend the use of Cisco Meeting Server for in-house projects, where organizations want to expand and/or update their videoconferencing infrastructure with equipment and add collaborative functionality without giving up on the investments already made.

Datanet Systems has numerous deployments of this type that cover a large number of usage scenarios in many areas of activity. The company has continuously developed its ability to translate customer needs and requirements into a solution, taking into account the specific requirements, an example being the unique telemedicine solution implemented at the Emergency Clinical Hospital for Children “M.S. Curie” alongside Vodafone Romania, which integrates a mix of Cisco audio and video technologies.

If you want information about other Datanet references in the field of video conference solutions and what are the concrete gains these can secure for your company, please contact us at marketing@datanets.ro.