A Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) is a cloud based meeting point where Meeting Hosts and guests join from any device or platform they are using:
The Beauty of Virtual Meeting Rooms is they are simple to use.
Each Guest uses the device they are familiar with to join.
Each Guest uses whatever they have available to join:
- A Skype for Business users search for the email address and clicks to join
- A browser user clicks on a link
- A Video user dials the email (SIP address)
- A Smartphone user clicks a link
- Someone whose struggling with their location(train etc)dials in
There are several marked differences between the solutions of the 80's & 90's Video:
- Familiar devices mean that no one has to use the dusty video unit in the corner they have no idea how to work.
- Flexible devices means that IT teams and users can connect what they have, no big investment in hardware required.
- And the best thing about a virtual meeting room is, the platform you use or IT selected doesn't keep you in a communication silo.
There are more subtle not so obvious differences with the Audio Conferencing and Web Conferencing solutions that proliferated in the early 2000's which we call 1D Hearing only, or 2D Hearing and seeing images only.
Hearing Only (1D)
Scientist have proved words go into the short term memory and whilst audio conferences were easy to join, they proved impersonal, often had users on mute and were poor as messaging.
Web Screen Sharing (2D)
Whilst better as it uses images which are understood 60,000 times faster than words and go in the long term memory the solution lacked Face to Face body language visibility, often 55% of a message.
We really see the shift to 3D communication (all 3 senses, hear, see, sense) in the arrival of Microsoft's Skype for Business and Google's Hangouts.
These tools are superb for their 3 senses capability, however they are once again hampered by the siloed nature of their design, as they only connect either Microsoft or Google users.
Virtual Meeting Rooms that are 4D (any device) or 5D (any platform) extend both Microsoft and Google into the tools they could be, by delivering the ability to connect to any device or platform.
4D Virtual Meeting Rooms like Close enable you to connect to any device natively, without the need for software or downloads.
5D Virtual Meeting Rooms like Close, enable you to do so across different platforms giving IT Directors Complete Flexibility to connect beyond their organisation to suppliers, partners, customers or contractors. A summary diagram that sums up the connectivity is below:
The key for most users is the flexibility to connect from any browser with just 1 Click of a mouse. Close pioneered this with their Click to Join approach, which as browsers have standardised has been increased to every popular browser on the desktop and its now just the iOS browsers who are catching up, the laggard being Chrome on iOS (Safari webkit)
The Click to Join
This functionality, breaks down that "mental barrier" of being hard to use and banishes that stigma that Video once had of being unreliable.Browser calls today are very high quality across every device type.
The table below shows you just how comprehensive and universal the browser access from any platform and device has become.
Browser access on the Close Platform has in the last 3 months passed Skype For Business as the No 1 access point for our range of Virtual Meeting Rooms.
So now we have covered what a Virtual Meeting Room delivers and the Familiarity and Flexibility that is accelerating the growth in software based visual communication market up from 40% per annum, to now $22.5bn a year.
To put this in perspective though, the No 1 benefit of Virtual Meeting Rooms is productivity and efficiency.
The Wainhouse Research (4,000 users of Visual Communication)
The impact on productivity is huge, no need to travel as much, less commuting, or commuting when traffic is quieter in non peak hours (faster Journeys) all have an impact on a individual and company performance.
To put that productivity gain in perspective:
1% gain in productivity in the UK is worth £20bn a year.
1% globally is worth £500bn ($625bn)
So you have a frictionless communication market thats worth 1/30th of a 1% boost in productivity then the return on investment is huge and therefore the growth prospects, exciting.
So what can you do with a Virtual Meeting Room?
The first thing is you can share content across different devices and platforms. This the most popular feature enables a video user to share content with a Skype for Business user. A Browser user to share content with either a Skype for Business / Video user.
Those that use Microsoft's flagship Skype for Business know that the video based screen sharing capability (VBSS) is much better in quality that just changing a picture of Jpeg of what is being presented every second.
Chat across platforms and devices is possible for all the different devices and systems that support chat.
A Skype for Business user can chat away to the likes of those on browsers and Video Apps , which is superb for those who like to use that facility to take notes.
We support recording from a Close Virtual Room which lets the user record the meeting with 1 click. Again useful as a lot of platforms do not support it. As long as 1 user is logged into to their Close profile they can select recording and all attendees are notified the meeting is being recorded.
Dialling In / Out
You can dial out from your Close virtual meeting room to any Skype for Business or Video equipment user.
Equally we have integrated Twilio audio to the service to provide access from 64 countries with local number access/dial in starting from 2.5p/m.
You can Stream a cross platform Close Virtual Meeting to any webcasting service by either, dialling it once the call has started or setting it as an auto dial and the web casting service will be connected every time the room is used. This is ideal for gathering hundred of minutes of video content and editing it to the finished product, without huge studio costs!
The same Dial Out functionality can be used to send your meeting content to a public or private YouTube channel either ad hoc or automatically.
Again vital if your digital media team are gathering video content as part of their marketing strategy.
The Drag N Drop Function
This is one of the more advanced features where a virtual room can be added to Outlook as a contact, let's call it firstname.lastname@example.org . Using the native functionality of a Close Virtual Room you can drag that Skype contact into a call and have the virtual meeting room auto dial the Cisco unit in Meeting Room 1. It removes all the things that senior people hate, processes with friction/fuss and makes starting a cross platform meeting completely seamless.