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Software Your Hybrid Workforce Absolutely Needs

When IT leaders think about enterprise software designed to help employees get work done, the checklist probably doesn’t include the software tools that support audiovisual, meeting and remote work demands. For better or worse, COVID-19’s impact on how work gets done (remote work, hybrid work environments) has placed a great deal of attention on the tools employees use on a daily basis such as:

  • High-demand, highly available video conferencing software
  • Meeting room scheduling software
  • AV over IP
  • Remote employee engagement software

Here are four software considerations that should be on every IT leader’s watchlist.

Secure Video Conferencing Software

How secure is the video communication platform employees use to communicate each day? In April 2020, one of the more popular video conferencing providers confirmed that thousands of user meetings that were only meant to be recorded and privately stored were available online for anyone to look up. How does this happen? In this case, the file-naming convention was the issue.

As more and more business interactions moved online during the global pandemic, cybercrime targeting video platforms and communications rocketed skyward. Hacking, phishing scams and even GIFS designed to install malicious code have become a persistent threat for the SecOps team.

With no real end in sight to work-from-home and hybrid work environments, the demand on enterprise video communications will remain high. This means IT organizations must provide flexible, intuitive, secure solutions that help the blended workforce complete their day-to-day tasks.

Examine the video conferencing solution (most organizations offer up more than one!) currently in place to make sure it does what it’s intended to do – enable collaboration, bridge the physical distance that exists among employees and operate securely without exposing the organization to risk.

The video conferencing solution powering an organization must also be intuitive for users and work seamlessly across devices and operating systems. While free video tools might sound appealing, it’s highly likely they will eventually expose the organization to costly risks.

Ultimately, if the software delivers the ability to conduct spontaneous and scheduled meetings that can be recorded and documented in a secure environment, it’s doing its job.

Room Scheduling Software

While hybrid work environments are unlikely to go away any time soon, it remains important that conference rooms and meetings spaces at an organization’s physical office location function smoothly. In addition, these work spaces must be reconfigured to allow for proper social distancing and ensure employee health and safety during the ongoing pandemic.

For employees who need to collaborate and work with one another, no matter where they’re located, the continued use of conference room tech must exist and function properly. Employees need a reliable system to make sure everyone gets the most use from these rooms and the technology used to connect with one another.

Room scheduling software helps eliminate two common issues: room hoarding (employees who park themselves in a meeting room to get away from “noise”) and wasted meetings (when a meeting is canceled but the conference room continues to appear “booked”).

Easy-to-use room scheduling software lets all employees – those physically at the office and those working remotely – to see what rooms are available so they can easily schedule and conduct important, collaborative meetings. The software needs to also update automatically as rooms become available and help employees view the equipment in the room, such as video conferencing technology.

Once installed, room scheduling software will help employees function more efficiently and eliminate the competition for conference rooms. For more about setting up conference and meeting room technology to enhance work productivity, check out this article.

AV over IP

AV over IP — the transmission of audio/video data over a LAN, WAN, or the internet — is a hot trend today because it uses standard network equipment to transmit, control and switch video and audio. Some of the benefits of AV over IP include:

  • Simplifying wiring and routing of audio and video signals
  • Reducing cost of equipment and installation
  • It’s easier to upgrade
  • It’s more flexible, adopting to new technology standards used to transmit high-quality audio and video over standard network cables

Before AV over IP, users needed to connect four cables to set up a PTZ camera. Now all that’s needed is a single Cat 5 cable, which can be connected to a network switch enabling any device on the network to access to the video. With AV over IP in place, all users need is a standard network connection at any location and they’re off to the races; the same is true for audio.

In addition to the value created for presentation and collaboration in meeting spaces and conference rooms, the costs of purchasing and implementing network technologies is lowered with AVoIP.

If a company uses digital signage to reach and inform employees, has a video wall for security monitoring, or operates a training center for customers, AVoIP will deliver high performance, security and control. Instant, flawless video streams are routed, distributed and managed using AV over IP software with virtually no latency.

In larger enterprises, adopting AVoIP makes perfect sense because it provides the flexibility and scalability needed to support today’s conference room technology and demands. In addition, it easily supports smaller environments while eliminating the need for the support technologies required with other AV distribution methods. It’s a future-proof solution designed to handle AV demands and take any organization well into the future.

Remote Engagement Software

How organizations can best engage with employees has long been a conundrum. Today, because employees are widely dispersed — some in the office, some working at home — communicating with employees and keeping them actively engaged on a day-to-day basis is a critical need.

GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij says employees who work remotely on a full-time basis isn’t necessarily the problem. He believes it’s how remote work is practiced. “Every time you have to wait for permission or sign-off for someone else to do something, that’s a problem,” said Sijbrandij in a recent Forbes article on the subject. 

Enter remote employee engagement software. There are dozens of remote engagement platforms promising to connect and engage organizations with their people and, ultimately, to enhance employee productivity. Here’s the truth about these apps and platforms: the best remote engagement software is only good if employees adopt and use it.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 54% of workers are disengaged at work while another 14% are actively disengaged. Software-driven remote engagement tools like Kazoo, Lattice, and Clarizen are designed to engage with employees, create cohesive virtual teams, help employees set and track goals, keep individual employees motivated and up-to-date about their organization, and provide real-time insights into analytics.

However, proceed with caution before diving in head first. IT leaders should carefully examine the platforms to ensure the tool will deliver on expectations. For example, the platform needs to provide a shared online workspace that employees will embrace and use on a daily – even hourly – basis to get work done. When deployed, the platform should increase overall team productivity and streamline digital communication.

Connect brilliant minds and working together toward a common goal and good things will happen, right?

Not so fast. 

In a recent study, 86% of employees and executives said a lack of collaboration contributes to project failures in the workplace. With hybrid work environments now the de-facto standard, collaboration is even more important.

Remote work and team communication software will help employees connect. These platforms are designed and built to facilitate communication in a variety of formats, from virtual phone systems to online platforms.

The Software Is Only as Good as the Adoption

There’s no question, audiovisual software platforms can help increased employee productivity and enable more engagement and collaboration. It boils down to selecting the most flexible software solutions for each organization’s unique needs at the moment.

At AVI, it’s our goal to connect organizations with their employees using enterprise-level solutions that take advantage of the latest technologies.

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