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There’s no arguing that moving to the cloud has made video conferencing much, much easier than it once was.
It’s been a long, fraught, 40-year journey to get to this point. Tech advancements in this space crawled at the pace of hardware releases more than anything else. Standards-based video conferencing in its classic forms is not intuitive. You don’t plug and play with this stuff. Even IT professionals require a lot of training to work with these proprietary setups.
Now that cloud video is here, though, innovation is happening rapidly; new features and new controls are being created all the time. These features are simple and intuitive and available to anyone with a license.
Innovation can happen rapidly in the cloud, with new features pushed out often and directly (used to be that a hardware rep would have to come on site, do an install and then train IT). VCaaS companies are building or co-opting tools that give you new controls with more intuitive, less distracting processes. Let’s take a look at some of them.
This is something that was previously available (in a complicated form) for Enterprise solutions. At the time, it would have been run by IT.
Newer versions are simple to use and available to anyone with a license. I’m going to use RP1Cloud as the example here because I know it best – and have all the right permissions. Portals/dashboards like the one provided by RP1Cloud operate in conjunction with but separate from the meeting itself. Accessed via browser, it can be managed by a meeting chairperson, or an administrator not directly participating.
From the dashboard, you can make live commands like:
I’m not referring to the clunky TV-remote-looking thing that comes with a room system. What I mean is all the power and intuitive interface of the browser dashboard on your smartphone and tablet. Picture sitting in a meeting and having the power to mute, kick, and dial out to participants readily available to you on a device that never leaves your side.
This is the next great frontier in meeting control. VCaaS providers are beginning to place their bets with emerging AI services and integrating technologies to give users unprecedented levels of control and features, mostly via voice control with a virtual assistant. It may be a few years off from being mainstream, but innovators are doing some exciting things. Let’s take a look at what is fast-approaching.
Got a meeting scheduled? Polycom’s got an integration with Amazon’s Alexa. Tell her to join the meeting currently scheduled in your calendar. She’ll verify with you that it’s the right one, then join up at your say-so. No buttons, no dialling. Walk into the room and say the words and you’re in. Check out their promo for it here:
Voicera’s virtual assistant “Eva” shines on this front. Eva listens live for voice commands in meetings to which she’s been invited. Using her prompt-words compel her to take notes or mark action items that are logged and searchable after the fact.
Thanks to the high-quality, high-bitrate sound of enterprise-grade video conferencing, Eva also listens in and transcribes the entire call for you. Visit the dashboard when the meeting is over and she’s analyzed your calls based on what she interprets to be action items and key term repetition.
Remember something being said that you want to hear again? Search the transcription with your keyword and she’ll find the spot(s) where those words appear. There was a time when you’d have to guess at a point in a recording – now it’s as simple as a word-find in a document.
With your meetings fully in control, with new features to be dictated by users in the market, where does VCaaS innovation go next? We believe that part of the natural evolution, at least in the enterprise space, will move toward zero-touch dialling and experience. Picture walking into a room that has a meeting scheduled, and the system automatically dials and places you in the meeting without any action on your part. The technology exists but has not yet been stitched together to create a cohesive experience. More on that to come.
We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the latest and greatest in conferencing innovation, and cover anything noteworthy in this blog. Check back to learn more as we do! Also, don’t hesitate to contact us today if we can help you with any of your conferencing needs!