A Q&A with Anne Marie Ginn, Head of Video Collaboration EMEA at Logitech
1. How has the UC sector developed over the last two years – what have been key innovations? (Is ‘contextual communications’ still buzzy?)
We’ve seen a continued trend to modern working environments and models, with more and more businesses trying to make more efficient use of their space and create a better environment for staff - especially given the growing proportion of younger staff demanding more flexibility in where and how they work.
This means more ‘virtual teams,’ more flexible working, and as such, a continued drive to real-time collaboration platforms, for both planned and spontaneous meetings. The rapid acceleration of the development of Microsoft Teams (and the plans to integrate Skype for Business into that platform) is very positive news for the many Skype for Business / legacy Lync users out there, as it promises to make the experience of using these platforms ever more straightforward.
The rise of the spontaneous ‘huddle’ meeting is also driving continued adoption of room-based systems alongside personal video, allowing for team-to-individuals or team-to-team engagement in a more effective manner.
Equally, the growing success of Skype Room Systems is seeing an increasing need for simple interfaces to make the process of joining a meeting easier than ever before – we’ve seen strong traction for our Logitech SmartDock as a result and we’ve recently launched Logitech Tap, a touch control solution for the workplace, which is compatible with Google, Microsoft, and Zoom.
2. Do enterprises really need to buy-in to an entire UC platform offering – could they cherry-pick the functions they need right away, and grow-out feature adoption as proven needs emerge? And could that approach include ‘voice-less’ UC deployment?
Of course, they could – however the key thing is understanding the value proposition to the business. You may need to invest in much of the infrastructure to deliver the voiceless system, so why not roll it out anyway?
Also, key to this thought process is establishing how to manage change within an organisation. If you have to go through multiple change management processes, that may be more painful than just ‘pulling the bandaid off’, with one bigger change process and wrapping it all into one conversation.
People may be more likely to see the value, for example, in a Microsoft Teams deployment if they can (and indeed, need to) use it for telephony as well as collaboration than for just one or the other.
3. Where enterprise IT budgets are being throttled back, do new UC adopters who want to manage UC on-prem really have to invest in major hardware upgrades to support incoming UC platforms – how much of their existing IT estate could be repurposed to UC support?
There are plenty of hardware-lite or hardware-free UC options on the market today, not least Microsoft’s own Skype for Business/Teams offer, which requires no on-premise equipment other than headsets and cameras.
So as long as you have a good network, strong connectivity, and are willing to invest in inexpensive but fit for purpose camera (fit for the environment – like our MeetUP for huddle rooms, ConferenceCam Connect for spontaneous meetings, and GROUP Kit with Intel NUC for large meeting rooms) and headset technology, you could be good to go with relatively little up-front outlay at all in terms of hardware.
4. How can enterprises assess if they are actually making the best use of their investments in UC?
It’s all about usage uptake. Most UC platforms allow you to track use by individual, which you can interrogate by team to figure out the dynamics of your business and look at your roll-out and adoption plans accordingly. It’s important you do this to ensure you gain value from the investment and that it is being used in the right way. Are there individuals or teams that aren’t using collaboration platforms? Why? What can you do to nudge them into the right behaviours? That’s an important thought process to carry through.
5. How does UC need to develop functionally in order to sustain demand and ensure that new systems continue to meet emergent needs of users going forward?
The key trend is that collaboration software continues to reflect the way we work. As working patterns change, we need collaboration platforms to evolve in lockstep. We’ve seen the emergence of interactive screens; in a year we’ve seen 10 years’ worth of innovation in Microsoft Teams as it races a very sophisticated product squarely into the lead in the collaboration space.
We’ve seen the emergence of first HD and doubtless soon 4k conferencing. As people’s work habits and patterns change, we’ll see more. Watch this space, we’ll be there.
To find out more about Logitech or to discover more about UC EXPO 2020, why not Register your interest here?