Quick Guide to Successful Video Collaboration

Collaboration TipsCollaboration is necessary to the success of any business. When in-person collaboration isn’t possible (when employees are dispersed or traveling), video conferencing is a great alternative. But how can you ensure meetings will be productive and time-efficient? How does preparing for a video call differ from an audio call? Here are a few tips:

Ensure familiarity with video collaboration tools: If a meeting is with important stakeholders or participants using a video collaboration platform for the first time, perform a pre-call test to ensure all attendees’ technology is working properly. This helps avoid last-minute trouble shooting during a scheduled meeting.

Engage attendees: Participation is essential to video collaboration. Look directly into the camera and make eye contact and address attendees by name when asking questions or for feedback. Assign speakers for various topics throughout the meeting.

Don’t Forget Video Conferencing Etiquette: In contrast to audio-only calls, meeting via video requires participants to be dressed appropriately, ready to meet in a quiet place with proper lighting.

Here are a few examples of how not to conduct yourself on a video conference:

Presentation:

Vidyo-Presentation

Background Noise:

Vidyo-Noise

Lighting:

Vidyo-Lighting

Whether you’re meeting with employees or customers, face-to-face meetings via Vidyo are a great way to stay connected.  Easy to use and manage, Vidyo’s technology puts HD-quality, multipoint video communications within reach on virtually any device and Internet connection, anywhere. Share content and videos, collaborate with two or two hundred attendees and benefit from a flawless video meeting experience.

Google and Vidyo Bring VP9 to WebRTC

WebRTC600

Google just announced that the upcoming release of its Chrome browser, version 48, will have VP9 support for WebRTC.  This is an important milestone for WebRTC and Chrome for a number of reasons.  To appreciate why, it is useful to look a little bit at the history of video codec support in WebRTC as well as Google+ Hangouts, Google’s popular videoconferencing app.

HangoutsWhen Google+ Hangouts was originally launched, it used H.264 SVC, the scalable video coding extension of H.264 that Vidyo co-developed.  The use of scalability in the video codec is essential for implementing a radically different server design for multipoint video, able to deliver an unprecedented range of features: error resilience and localization, rate adaptation, personalized layout, cascading, etc.  More significantly, all this is done with extremely low delay (an order of magnitude less than a typical transcoding MCU), at a massive scale, and without any signal processing at the server.  Vidyo introduced this server design in 2008 in its patented VidyoRouter™ product.

Hangouts moved to use the open-source VP8 video codec in August 2013 so that, among other things, the client could eventually run over WebRTC as explained in interviews by senior Google management. As VP8 does not offer spatial scalability, a simpler version of it called simulcasting was used.  With this technique an endpoint produces multiple video streams at different bit rates and resolutions.  The server receives both, and selects which one to forward to receiving participants. (We later on coined the term “Selective Forwarding Unit”, or SFU, to describe the operation of these servers in a generic way.)

At the same time the transition to VP8 was being made, Vidyo and Google announced that Vidyo would be collaborating with Google to develop a scalable extension for the VP9 video codec as part of the WebRTC client open source project.  The goal is to combine the power of WebRTC with the benefits of scalability to be able to deliver the best possible experience for the end users.

VP9

The inclusion of VP9 in WebRTC in Chrome 48 marks an important milestone in this collaboration.  It is the first widely available software release of this new codec (outside a flag, across all Chrome platforms). The release incorporates the proposed standard RTP packetization for VP9, which was co-designed and developed with Vidyo and Google, and which supports the new scalability features.  Spatial and temporal scalability features in the codec itself are already in the WebM and WebRTC code repositories.

ChromeAs additional experience in deployed applications is obtained, and appropriate API support is made available at the WebRTC layer, we expect they will find their way into future versions of the Chrome browser in a backwards-compatible way.

Vidyo has utilized scalable coding to built a new server architecture for large-scale, very high quality video communication, on virtually any network and device.  This architecture excels in environments that require large scale and/or are hosted in the cloud.  It is also inherently codec-agnostic: the choice of the codec, from an infrastructure point of view, is purely a business decision.  As long as scalability is available, then the infrastructure can perform its magic.

We are very excited that we will soon be able to bring the proven benefits of this design to the WebRTC world. While this release is the first step, as the saying goes, the first step is half the journey.

Change the way you care! Improve Quality of Service with Video-Enabled Assistance

Arioflow video-enabled AssistanceAll support activities are facing the same challenge: how to reduce time-to-answer and improve quality of service while reducing costs at the same time. Video-enabled assistance solutions are gaining support and adoption around the world, fueled by a shortage of experts, and the need to decrease time and costs related to traveling on-site.

To address this challenge Arioflow’s cloud-based field audit apps are built with Vidyo-enabled assistance to provide an end-to-end solution for policyholders, both corporate and individual, and loss adjusters.

“Providing remote loss-adjustment solutions is becoming a pre-requisite for many of our customers that aim at improving policyholders’ experience, containing costs while reducing lead times at the same time,” recently noted Olivier Vial, Managing Director of Cunningham Lindsey France; a market leader in France for claims handling that currently leverages Arioflow solutions equipped with Vidyo.

Arioflow Presence, one of many assistance solutions in use today, allows companies to change the way they care. Designed with a strong User Experience focus, the Arioflow Presence app is a straightforward and easy way to schedule meetings, prepare claims and communicate via video to get your report.

Arioflow video-enabled Assistance on Mobile

Vidyo’s patented technology brings high quality visual communication to the Arioflow Presence app. Video communication helps our team better understand situations and issues while simultaneously collecting relevant data. With Arioflow, the expert has a comprehensive web platform to record the videoconference, take pictures from a smartphone, or prepare an expertise report.

Arioflow video-enabled Assistance on Desktop

We believe that we made the right technology choice for video systems with Vidyo. We put the emphasis on User Experience and it has made a difference to our customers.

With growing data supporting the claim that improved customer engagement service generates new revenue what’s stopping you from changing the way you care, it’s worthwhile.

Resources:

  1. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151123005695/en/Cunningham-Lindsey-France-Deploys-Arioflow-Edition-Videoconference
  2. http://www.netpromotersystem.com/about/how-is-nps-related-to-growth.aspx

Does Video Matter to Contact Center KPIs?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Success - Vidyo

You know that moment when you learn something new and then notice it everywhere immediately afterwards, wondering why we hadn’t noticed it before? Well this time it was a Contact Center KPI called Net Promoter Score (NPS) at the Gartner Symposium in Barcelona, Spain.

That first mention of NPS came from a Vidyo customer on stage, who said that his organization’s NPS “doubled” when it moved users from audio to video. No sooner had I heard that, an e-mail popped into my inbox from one of our customer trials talking of a NPS score of 78%. In the booth, one of the conversations with a CIO was about improving the loyalty of their customers and improving the NPS!

For those who are now asking “what’s NPS?”, well its very simple: the Net Promoter System is a methodology for measuring the Engagement level of a customer. This is often presented as a “would you recommend us to your friends” type question, with an answer on a scale from 1-10. The answer is simply translated as follows

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Diagram - Vidyo

  • 1-6 = Detractor – somebody who would be negative about your company or brand
  • 7-8 = Passive – neither detractor or promoter
  • 9-10 = Promoters – somebody that would promote, recommend or speak positively about you

You calculate the Net Promoter Score by deducting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters. Thus the higher the NPS the more people you have promoting your brand within their network. Some light research on the web on NPS indicates that there is a strong correlation between NPS and revenue. One Online Retailer speaks of a 30% increase in revenue from customers whom they service using video

So why is this relevant to a video enabled world?

NPS is a statistic that crosses over both audio and video. It’s a consistent measure, linked to a very key business metric – revenue – and allows us to measure the business impact of a technology, not just quantitative measures of a how efficient a call center is.

Let’s use banks as an example. A Bank needs to balance Engagement, Cost and Convenience. Neither online nor branch completely deliver on all 3 fronts:

Net Promoter Score (NPS) on Banking - Vidyo

Yet video enabled banking addresses all 3 at the same time, its convenient, its low cost and yet its delivering well on the Engagement level which typical Online Banking does not. And it’s this Engagement aspect that is measured in terms of the NPS.

During the Gartner Symposium Vidyo spoke to well over 350 senior decision makers about video enabled Customer Engagement and every single one of them could easily see that Vidyo was leading in this space. Vidyo now powers over 50 video enabled Customer Engagement projects worldwide in financial services alone!

What decision makers were all looking for in a partner was a technology that:

  • Scales: The Vidyo platform can scale to huge numbers, with IndusInd Bank in India offering their Vidyo powered ‘Video Branch” service to 8 million account holders
  • Highest Quality & Reliability: Vidyo is designed to deliver the best quality over any network such as 3G, 4G, Wifi etc, to virtually any endpoint, including mobile.
  • Proven & Mature: Vidyo has 4000 customers, millions of users, hundreds of telemedicine deployments and over 50 customers using Vidyo enabled Customer engagements in financial services.
  • Highly Secure: With customers such as the US Department of Defense, banks around the world & compliance with the likes of JITC, FIPS & HIPAA, Vidyo takes security very seriously

When you take a technology such as ours and integrate it into an existing Contact Center, webchat tool, mobile app, call recording technology etc., you can introduce new, engaging ways to serve your customers over a video channel. For each use case that you enable with video, you provide the basis to improve upon your NPS and increase your revenue.

So there you go. NPS. Net Promoter Score, something that can be improved dramatically by video enabling your Customer Engagement platforms. I learn something new every day and I hope you did too!

Count on Customer Engagement this Holiday Season

Holiday Customer Engagement - VidyoThe holiday season is upon us and for customer-facing organizations, the holidays can drive the year’s highest volumes of customer interactions. How can organizations succeed in ensuring that customer interactions are helpful and satisfying? Customer Engagement.

Customer engagement goes beyond traditional customer service, it facilitates meaningful, productive interactions between businesses and customers to ensure satisfaction and happiness.

During this hectic time of year (for consumers and businesses) a comprehensive, high impact customer engagement strategy can be the difference between a good and a great holiday season.

Have you considered video-enabled customer engagement?

Today’s consumer is increasingly connected and mobile. Video-enabled customer engagement mimics the in-person customer experience without the hassle of the holiday crowds. Adding on-demand interactive video communications to your customer engagement channel can foster more personal customer interactions that build brand loyalty, create upsell opportunities and foster closer relationships with your customers. With the VidyoWorksTM platform, it’s easy for companies of any size to affordably integrate face-to-face video engagement into their customer engagement strategy

Take care of your customers now, and you’ll find that their loyalty will last long after the holidays are over.

For more on customer engagement for the modern enterprise, check out these related blog posts, this customer engagement infographic and more from the Vidyo website.


And while we’re in the holiday spirit here, don’t forget to check out our special 35% Off Holiday Starter Package! Just click on the banner below and get the details on this limited time offer. Cheers!

Vidyo Holiday Offer

Mitel Ups the Ante for Visual Collaboration with Vidyo

Mitel MiCollab - Vidyo

Today Vidyo and Mitel shared news of a new OEM agreement that will enable Mitel to leverage Vidyo APIs to embed Vidyo’s industry-leading, software technology into various Mitel solutions including its MiCollab application. Mitel, one of the fastest growing cloud communications providers, powers more than 2 billion connections daily for 60 million end users. This new agreement means that today any of Mitel’s 3,500 channel partners worldwide are able to deliver the best in scalable video conferencing and collaboration to virtually any endpoint!

MiCollab Desktop - Vidyo

MiCollab Desktop Client Integrated with Vidyo

BluCurrent Credit Union in Springfield, MO is one Mitel customer who has already taken advantage of the deepened relationship between Vidyo and Mitel to better serve its clients.

BluCurrent Credit Union is Springfield’s largest credit union with nearly 20,000 members, 3 branch locations, and over $140 million in assets. BluCurrent provides access to more than 6,800 shared branches through its unique CU Service Center affiliation, and nearly 30,000 free ATMs nationwide through its CO-OP Network membership.

“We are confident that face-to-face video communication is revolutionary for banking – empowering our members to communicate with our representatives to do business more easily and efficiently,” said Jesse Jantz, VP of Information Systems, BluCurrent Credit Union.

Currently BluCurrent uses MiCollab, integrated with Vidyo, to facilitate convenient face-to-face interactions between customers and advisors that may be located elsewhere in the region.

“Our members are able to come in to any of our locations, and do a face-to-face video call with our skilled professionals in our central location. Centralizing with this technology enables us to more quickly and effectively service all of our locations without asking members to have to come to our main office. Vidyo and Mitel allow us the ability to offer our members the choice to meet with a virtual advisor, without physically coming into a branch. With just one click of a button, members will be able to connect from their desktop or mobile device in the near future,” Jantz added.

Companies across industries are adopting video-based communications to facilitate easier, more productive interactions with end customers. In financial services, the benefits of a strong digital collaboration strategy can lead to improved customer engagement and retention, according to a recent study from Fidelity Investments. According to the report better tech, like video conferencing, helps build the practices of financial advisers. The study states that advisers who use the latest tech tools had almost 40% more assets under management and more client investors from Generation X and Y.

Ready for more? Find a Mitel partner near you and ask about Vidyo-enabled MiCollab!

Vidyo Surpasses 100 Patents and 10 years of Video Conferencing Innovation

Vidyo recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It’s amazing to contrast the range of products that we offer today, and the number of people that we reach every day through our software solutions with the first meetings of the early days. What started off as mere concepts on whiteboards and presentation slides has translated to technology that has changed our industry in very significant ways.

Vidyo-Infrastructure-Patents

Vidyo’s software-based approach limits the need for transcoding and associated infrastructure.

I could describe these changes in various terms – changes in product architectures, standards, industry best practices, and so on – but there is a great measurement of innovation that has the benefit of originating from objective third parties: patent offices. As it turns out, Vidyo recently celebrated the issuance of its 100th worldwide patent.

Vidyo was founded in order to build a disruptive, new architecture for large-scale, very high quality video communication, on virtually any network and device. From day one, as a new company in a space of considerable technological complexity, it sought to protect its innovations through patent applications filed in the US and elsewhere around the globe. These patent applications started producing results within a few years, with our first patent being issued in the US on September 22, 2009 (US Pat. Nr. 7,593,032) and the 100th being issued in the US on July 7, 2015 (US Pat. Nr. 9,078,004). As of today Vidyo has a total of 108 patents worldwide.

Vidyo-First-Patent

Vidyo’s First Patent issued in the United States – September 22, 2009

Vidyo-100-Patent

Vidyo’s 100th Patent issued in the United States – July 7, 2015

Vidyo’s patents span a wide range of subjects. Some relate directly to our products, some have been found essential to practice certain industry standards in video compression and communication, and some describe more strategic technology explorations. Several apply to more than one category.

Although each patent has its own history and background, I chose to highlight here two particular patent “families.” (By patent family we typically refer to an invention for which patents are being pursued at multiple jurisdictions around the world, and which may result even in multiple actual patents in the same jurisdiction.)

The first family happens to include our very first issued patent, US Pat. Nr. 7,593,032.  The title, “System and Method for a Conference Server Architecture for Low Delay and Distributed Conferencing Applications,” describes certain aspects of the operation of our VidyoRouter. The VidyoRouter is a cornerstone of Vidyo’s technical architecture, in that it takes advantage of scalable video coding to deliver an unprecedented range of features (error resilience and localization, rate adaptation, personalized layout, cascading, etc.) with extremely low delay (an order of magnitude less than a typical MCU) and at a massive scale – and all that without any signal processing at the server. The VidyoRouter’s design did not exist as a concept in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) specifications when it was first introduced in our products in 2008.  For example, the RTP Topologies RFC, RFC 5117, published at the same time, did not foresee it. We have subsequently introduced the concept of the “Selective Forwarding Unit” (SFU), now incorporated into the RTP Topologies update (which should replace RFC 5117 soon), to cover this design using a generic, non-commercial term.

The second patent family that I would like to highlight includes US Pat. Nr. 9,077,964, “Systems and Methods for Error Resilience and Random Access in Video Communication Systems.” As the title suggests this patent deals with error resilience. It covers a key concept for achieving error resilience through the use of temporal scalability. The concept is very simple: by using temporal scalability, one merely has to protect the lowest temporal layer, typically one fourth or one half of the original pictures, rather than the entire set of pictures. Since these pictures are now at two or four times the temporal distance, the system can use retransmission to recover any parts of them that may be lost.  Using a design that allows the system to detect such loss with the very first packet that it correctly receives, one can achieve error resilience that is an order of magnitude higher than techniques that use non-scalable video. At Vidyo we decided that the parameters used in this technique would be of significant value to the entire industry and so proposed their inclusion in all RTP payload formats of relevant codecs: H.264 SVC (RFC 6190), H.265VP8, and VP9. We submitted intellectual property rights (IPR) disclosures at the IETF that ensure that people who implement these standards can use them*. At the same time, certain claims of the 9,077,964 patent and other Vidyo patents have also been found essential for implementing the H.264 SVC and H.265 codecs, and we have licensed the relevant claims through the corresponding patent pools managed by MPEG-LA, thus making it easier for people to make use of these standards as well.

These two patent families highlight two important dimensions of Vidyo’s technology development efforts, which form a continuous balancing act. Some innovations we maintain exclusively to Vidyo, as they are part of what makes Vidyo unique. Some others we believe are better suited to be incorporated into standards so that anybody can have access to them, thus benefitting the entire industry – both producers and users (ourselves included, of course!). As the industry matures further, one can expect more and more technical features to become standardized, as new ones come in to define differentiation. This has been the traditional development cycle of standardization and innovation for a long time, and one in which we expect to continue to be an active participant.

It’s been a fascinating journey – and a real privilege to be part of the team that is making it happen. On to the next 100!

*Please refer to the specific IPR disclosures for the precise legal framework surrounding these disclosures.

#VidyoToolbox: Jumpstart Small Team Collaboration with VidyoOne+™!

vidyoone+What do you get when you combine the simplicity and affordability of VidyoOneTM with the flexibility of virtual edition infrastructure, interoperability and encryption with firewall traversal capability? We call it VidyoOne+™! The VidyoOne+ bundle comes with everything needed to start collaborating via Vidyo. It includes virtualized infrastructure software and endpoint software to connect users on mobile, desktop, and group systems including third party H.323 and SIP systems.

VidyoOne+ delivers up to 4k quality video and content sharing. Perfect for small team collaboration, participants experience rich face-to-face communication that is just a click away with calendar integration and guest link functionality. Plus, all of the standard Vidyo endpoints, such as VidyoRoom™, VidyoDesktop™, VidyoMobile™ and VidyoWeb™ are all supported!

So, what do you get with the VidyoOne+ bundle? VidyoOne+ includes:

    • VidyoPortal™ VE
    • VidyoRouter™ VE
    • VidyoGateway™ VE
    • Vidyo software client licenses for 100 users
    • VidyoLine licenses to support up to 10 concurrently connected users

Not enough? You can expand the VidyoLine capacity to 20 with optional VidyoLine expansion pack. At a cost equivalent to the included VidyoLines, VidyoOne+ is a 53% savings over buying the components individually! VidyoOne+ represents a tremendous value for small team collaboration.

If you’ve been wanting to connect your small team via Vidyo, VidyoOne+ is a great way to get started. Contact your authorized Vidyo reseller for more information. Check out the VidyoOne+ data sheet for details.

#VidyoToolbox posts highlight new product updates and features across the Vidyo portfolio. Stay tuned for continued updates!

Vidyo in India: Embracing Video Conferencing

Over the past few years in India, Vidyo has seen a significant upswing in adoption of its video conferencing technology, deployment of integrated video communications applications, as well as partnerships across verticals and with service providers– a true testament to the scale, flexibility and value of the VidyoWorks™ platform!

India Government Mobile Video Conferencing

VidyoMobile™ being used by the Government of Andhra Pradesh on a tablet. 

Because Vidyo works on virtually any device and network, either in the cloud or on premises – it is the perfect fit for the specific market challenges in India. With bandwidth being a constant obstacle, Vidyo is the foolproof solution to connect and collaborate using public Internet and wireless networks that can affordably scale as needed.

The need for reliable, scalable technology has become particularly relevant in the Government sector. The Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Conferencing Facility is an example of a colossal Vidyo deployment at the state level where more than 1,200 Vidyo rooms have been deployed across Andhra Pradesh & Telangana’s 23 districts and 1,100 Mandals.

To learn more on the Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Conferencing Facility watch this video case study.

Andhra Pradesh Technology Services (APTS) launched the massive network that provides the State Secretariat in Hyderbad with a direct video conferencing connection to all 1007 district zones across the state, facilitating visual interaction between top level officials and field level personnel.

The national and state governments’ focus on ensuring digital workflows has driven large scale adoption of Vidyo’s technology across multiple departments, from State High Courts to the Department of Financial Services and Department of Education to Premier Government Technical and Management Colleges such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIMs).

Vidyo partnerships with top service providers like SIFY and Arkadin have also contributed significantly to Vidyo’s success in India. Most recently, our partnership with Airtel, India’s number one telecom provider, has allowed Vidyo to not only grow its footprint, but has given us the opportunity to act as a key thought leader in the video communication and collaboration arena.

Airtel and Vidyo Economic Times

Every month over the course of the next year, Vidyo and Airtel, in conjunction with the Economic Times will be presenting to customers and prospects on the value of video conferencing in business work flow. Listen to our first cooperated effort on the power and potential of video collaboration and watch our TV segment on ET Now: Empowering Enterprises.

But of course Vidyo’s versatile technology is permeating several industries across India! Powerful integrations in the financial services space, such as IndusInd, provided India with the first “face-to-face” online banking experience, and Reliance Mutual, a top Capital Asset Management company in India, also uses Vidyo to power their Video Chat function that allows distributors to connect with Reliance Mutual experts. Together these companies are driving interest in Vidyo across banking services throughout India!

IndusInd Mobile Video Banking

VidyoWorks powers Video Branch, a mobile and desktop-based banking service deployed across India. 

And keep your ear to the ground for new Vidyo applications in Healthcare – yet another vertical that is recognizing the immense benefits of real time video communication. Multiple VidyoWorks integrations are on the horizon that will boost the quality of care and promote better patient outcomes in various healthcare platforms across the country.

With a population of more than 1.25 billion people, almost 980 million mobile connections, the impending launch of 4G services nationwide and around 300 million Internet connections* – the Indian market is ready to embrace the next generation of video communication.

Sunny Rao is general manager of India and can be reached at sarao@vidyo.com

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*http://gadgets.ndtv.com/telecom/news/telephone-connections-in-india-cross-1-billion-mark-telecom-minister-712083

#VidyoToolbox: Refresh Before the End of July and Save!

VidyoRoom Update

Vidyo is offering an exciting new promotion to provide customers with the opportunity to upgrade their aging Vidyo server infrastructure and VidyoRoom™ systems. This provides an excellent opportunity for Vidyo customers with Vidyo hardware products that are near end of maintenance to update with future-proofed virtual edition server software or with current generation Vidyo servers and VidyoRoom systems.

Eligible VidyoPortal™, VidyoRouter™, and VidyoGateway™ appliances can be refreshed with the latest equivalent Virtual Editions. With virtual edition infrastructure, you will more easily be able to keep pace with Vidyo’s innovations that are continuously improving the way people communicate and collaborate. Vidyo’s Virtual Edition line of infrastructure products afford the flexibility to leverage existing datacenter compute platforms and move easily from machine to machine as necessary. If you are not ready to go virtual, you can also refresh with the latest generation Vidyo server hardware. All this is available at up to 50% off MSRP until July 31, 2015 for replacement of eligible Vidyo appliances.

VidyoServer Update

The promotion also includes refresh options for VidyoRoom systems. Eligible second generation VidyoRoom systems can be updated to the latest generation VidyoRoom HD-230. The updated HD-230 was architected to deliver levels of security and stability that were not possible in the second generation products. The VidyoRoom HD-230 also delivers superior usability with an intuitive interface that users love and advanced features like calendar integration that make joining a VidyoConference™ call as simple as pressing a single button. Add in support for 4K resolution for participants and content, high frame rate content sharing with audio for streaming recorded video into conferences, new and improved remote control options and compatibility with all of the latest Vidyo software, and making the choice to update the eligible VidyoRoom systems at up to 40% off MSRP until July 31, 2015 is a no brainer.

Contact your authorized Vidyo reseller or Vidyo representative to find out if your systems are eligible and how to take advantage of this limited-time offer.

#VidyoToolbox posts highlight new product updates and features across the Vidyo portfolio. Stay tuned for continued updates!