A Virtual Meeting Room is an online cloud based meeting room where people can meet face to face and share content, chat and record meetings easily.
What does it enable you to do?
Quite simply it means you can join a meeting from any device or meeting platform:
- Collaboration systems like Skype for Business or Google Hangouts
- Video Units from Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, Starleaf and many others
- Laptop or Desktop devices with just a click on the link from any browser
- Smartphones and Tablets with browsers or Video Meeting APP's
- Normal Phones
As long as it has a camera you can meet face to face
As long as it can dial a conference number you can join on just audio
The advantages are numerous so we will start with IT managers and work our way through the advantages for each type of decision maker, influencer or user.
IT Advantages Connect them all for face to face meetings!
The first advantage the ability for people inside your organisation to meet in a virtual meeting room on equipment they already have and are familiar with.
- Several advantages in one sentence, the ability for people to use familiar devices cuts the resistance to use visual communication that used to exist when you had to join from a strange piece of video equipment you weren't familiar with.
- This enable IT to deploy and test Virtual Meeting Rooms with end users with very little hardware expense, in fact the default should be to question why you need it.
- The second is the Flexibility afforded to IT departments who are now being asked to solve the communication needs of face to face meetings not just internally but externally with customers, partners or suppliers who could have anything.
- The third is the tariffs, some suppliers enable you to buy Virtual Meeting Rooms on pay as you go per minute tariffs as well as on monthly fixed cost subscriptions. The key here is the flexibility again for the IT team who aren't sure what the usage will be and want to deliver one solution across the company but know there will be a mix of use cases, so high volume users and alot of low volume users, who would drive the budget skywards if the all had a subscription they may not all use. Flexible pricing example
- The fourth the ability to have either on Premise or Cloud based Virtual Rooms giving the IT manager flexibility to host the service or buy a hosted service, the latter having very low IT admin and data centre storage/usage costs.
- The fifth would be the range of use cases where a virtual Meeting Room can be used, for example you may well use it to connect different company offices with different equipment in them, acquired through acquiring companies with different hardware policies or simply equipped with different fit outs in different investment cycles. You could use the Virtual Rooms to accelerate the hiring of staff by screening candidates online or by cutting PR costs by lowering studio costs and recording content using Virtual Rooms. You could use Virtual Meeting Rooms to post recorded or streamed content to YouTube or Google. The list is enormous and we have recorded up to 35 different use cases that grow almost weekly.
- The sixth would be preserving IT budgets as there no need for huge hardware investment and the business units can decide how much they want and expense the Virtual Rooms themselves (they will benefit from increased productivity and reduced travel)
- The seventh would be the ability to cut the number of suppliers for services like audio conferencing and web meetings by consolidating everything into one solution, audio only costs can be 40% cheaper than traditional suppliers like BT Conferencing.
- The eight would be the ability to use a small budget to make a big tangible difference to the whole company, one that isn't invisible like so many IT projects and Expense items but very VISIBLE to everyone.
- The ninth would be to deliver the finance director some good news as he/she can now question the need for Business Travel as there is a genuine flexible face to face meetings alternative that costs a fraction of travel. An example you may well be able to claim 44/45p a mile in fuel or have unlimited meetings with guests for £59 a month!
- The tenth would be the ability to have future proofed the face to face meetings budget and the hardware or software capex/opex as whatever you move from and to, for example from Skype for Business to Teams the virtual Meeting Rooms can cope.
- The eleventh would be that some Virtual Meeting Room solutions require no software downloads or no plugins to slow devices down when loading up.
- The twelfth would be that some Virtual Meeting Providers offer native solutions that work with Skype for Business or Google Hangouts that use the actual components of the core software to connect to the virtual room, so they've been engineered in such a way that no user workflows have to change, making deployment and training very easy.