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Study Shows IT Professionals Hesitant About Embracing Skype for Business

 

webconfSkype for Business is currently receiving a lot of mainstream media attention as one of the newest online meetings solutions on the market.

As the premium version of the free Skype audio and video communication software, Skype for Business comes with promises like higher-quality data transfers and up to 250 people at a time on a conference (as opposed to 25 on Skype).

Despite these benefits, however, a new study from No Jitter shows that Skype for Business adoption is slow among IT professionals.

According to the study, just 27 percent of the 540 enterprise IT professionals surveyed are using Skype for Business for voice purposes. As well, 46 percent of users will take three or more years to fully implement Skype for Business onto their networks. And 20 percent have no interest whatsoever in using Skype for Business in the near future.

While it remains to be seen whether Skype for Business adoption will increase in the future, the truth is that right now there are many other competitive solutions available on the market that you can use to improve communication and productivity in your enterprise. It’s possible to obtain software that comes with more features, better security and a fully customizable layout.

Onstream Meetings is one such product that you should look into; a browser-based communication and collaboration platform, Onstream Meetings comes with over 100 features. It’s also highly scalable, so you can use the same platform that you utilize for Web conferencing for larger webinars with up to 500 users at a time. That’s twice as many as you can fit on Skype for Business.

Click here to learn more about Onstream Meetings.

 

Remote Working: Not Always a Pleasure Cruise

 

0625 workfromhome 630x420Meet Mary: After 10 years of working in a traditional office environment, and longing for a remote working opportunity, Mary finally got her wish when her company let her work from home full time.

 

But it wasn’t until Mary set up her home office and sat down to work that she realized that remote working is not always the dream that it appears to be. It’s common for people like Mary, in other words, to experience the following issues:


Being out of the loop: 
Working remotely can disconnect you from daily office banter, making it harder to feel like you are part of a team. It’s important to engage in regular discourse with your co-workers to maintain morale and make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

Difficulty accomplishing basic tasks: Sometimes you need a quick answer from a colleague in order to complete an assignment. You can’t always wait for an email to come through or for someone to pick up his or her phone.

 

So, how do you make remote employees feel more connected to your team? The answer is by investing in a video conferencing solution. A recent survey, in fact, shows that 87 percent of remote workers feel more connected when using video conferencing. A conferencing suite like Onstream Meetings comes with more than just video, too. End users will gain access to audio and text-based communications as well, so they can exchange pertinent information in real time. Onstream comes with more than 100 features that end users can employ to engage in meaningful conversations with one another.

 

Click here for more information about how you can enhance communications for your remote workers. 

The Top 10 Reasons Why Employees Use Web Conferencing

 

iStock 000013143444XSmallAre you under the impression that a Web conferencing solution is just for internal collaboration among team members? If so, it’s time to expand your view of this critical collaboration technology.

As outlined in a recent report from Forrester, here are the top 10 ways that Web conferencing is being used across the enterprise:

  1. Executive meetings (65 percent): Executives are constantly on the move, attending conferences, meeting with clients and traveling among brand locations. Web conferencing platforms help executives stay in touch with one another and exchange important information in real time.
  2. Company meetings (59 percent): Most enterprises would struggle to fit their entire organization into a single building, let alone a conference room. For this reason, companies are increasingly relying on Web conferencing as a way to keep everyone on the same page about company news and initiatives. 
  3. Routine team meetings (57 percent): Managers and supervisors are now using Web conferencing as a way to communicate with employees without having to remove workers from their desks and disrupt the rhythm of a working day. It’s also a great way to communicate face-to-face with remote workers.
  4. Employee training (55 percent): Training new employees can seem like a monumental task when faced with other pressing demands. For this reason, many supervisors are now having success using Web conferencing to train new hires, as it allows them to exchange information and communicate quickly and directly with trainees vs. spending time in a classroom.
  5. Online customer support (47 percent): Research shows that 92 percent of businesses that claim customer service is a differentiator have multiple channels for customer interactions. With a Web conferencing solution, the customer service department has another meaningful channel by which to explain products and services and resolve disputes.
  6. Meetings with sales prospects (41 percent): Sales prospects often need a fair amount of nurturing before committing to enterprise business solutions. Web conferences provide this space, allowing salesmen and customers to come together and discuss company offerings. 
  7. Marketing webinars (40 percent): One of the best ways to market products and services to a large audience is to host an online event via webinar. Using a cloud-based Web conferencing service like Onstream Webinars, you can easily scale up to 500 users at a time.
  8. Product demonstrations (39 percent): Think of an online product demonstration as an in-depth webinar where agents can offer detailed product walk-throughs for attendees, showcasing every selling point in the process. Your business can host product demonstrations on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis depending on the needs of your customers. 
  9. Customer or partner training (33 percent): Once you complete a sale or lock in a partnership with a vendor, the first few days of business are critical. You want to make sure the other team is up and running and well-trained so end users have the best experience possible. Web conferencing is a great way to eliminate confusion and expedite the onboarding process.
  10. Research and development (33 percent): Communication is one of the most essential parts of any research and development strategy. Yet, in-person meetings can slow down progress and impede productivity. This problem can easily be solved by offering access to an online forum where workers can exchange data throughout the lifespan of a particular project.

As the Forrester study shows, Web conferencing can help streamline communication across the whole enterprise—from the C-suite to the customer. To learn more about how Onstream meetings can help make Web conferencing a differentiator, click here.

Conferencing: Access From the Boardroom to the Courtroom

 

court video conferencing 201301When you think of online meetings, chances are likely that corporate use cases come to mind first.  But as many organizations are proving, Web conferencing can fulfill a variety of other needs as well.

Take, for instance, the State of Michigan, which has been steadily increasing its use of videoconferencing in courtrooms since 2010. Now, the court system has high-definition video technologies installed in probate, district and circuit courts across all 83 of the state’s counties, and 78 counties are now equipped with videoconferencing in every courtroom. A total of 417 courtrooms across the state are equipped with videoconferencing services.

How is videoconferencing helping the state? Perhaps most notably, it allows the state to review inmates’ cases without having to transport them to a facility. This results in direct cost savings, as the state can spend less on gas and reduce wear and tear on state-owned automobiles. In total, the state has saved over $5 million since expanding its videoconferencing technologies.

Further, the state is able to re-allocate deputy sheriffs instead of using them to protect courtrooms from dangerous criminals. This reduces travel for public officials, too.

As this case shows, it’s very exciting to see videoconferencing expanding within the public sector. Any time the state is able to save money, after all, it means that taxpayer dollars can be put to better use.

Whether you are in the private or public sector, consider how videoconferencing can benefit your organization. Click here for more information about how Onstream Meetings can help.

 

Medical Facilities: Beef Up Conference Security or Risk Patient Data Theft

 
hp a healthcare security 100340432 origChances are likely that your medical facility is considering embracing Web conferencing in an effort to reduce outpatient visits and increase communication among your internal staff. But is this practice safe? 

In short, without a secure conferencing solution, it’s not. 

The truth is that hospitals are now being increasingly targeted by hackers looking to steal sensitive patient data. A recent report, for instance, names at least three hospitals where hidden malware has been found lurking on sensitive medical equipment. Hackers are using vulnerable devices like X-ray machines and blood gas analyzers to gain entry into susceptible hospital networks and then worm their way into patient databases. It’s safe to assume that many hospitals are already harboring active or dormant strands of malware and may be completely unaware of it. 

That being said, an insecure conferencing platform like Skype will do little to keep a hacker from peeking in and gaining access to files exchanged during private medical communications.

 

A secure Web conferencing solution like Onstream Meetings, however, will offer much more protection against intruders. First and foremost, Onstream Meetings is a cloud-based service. So, even if a hospital’s network becomes infected with malware that cascades across the entire network, the same malware won’t be able to penetrate the meeting’s platform as its entire core infrastructure is safely stored offsite in protected data centers. Also, Onstream Meetings comes with advanced data encryption, which ensures that any information accessed by an unauthorized third party will be rendered useless without the proper authentication key.

 

So if your hospital is looking to embrace telemedicine, make sure you take security seriously. Click here to learn more about how Onstream Meetings can help.

Encryption: A Critical Conferencing Security Component ere...

 

encryption 1Think of how secure it feels to close the door behind you when entering an important boardroom meeting, thus ensuring complete privacy for your discussion. In a closed-door environment, you and your team can share information and strategize without having to worry about anyone eavesdropping.

This same feeling of seclusion should be de rigueur when engaging in Web conferencing. The reality, however, is that the Internet is nothing like your company’s private boardroom; it’s tremendously unsecure, and without adequate protection of the data shared during a Web conference, your company stands a good chance of that data being compromised by cybercriminals. Consider the fact that, in 2014, there were almost 1.5 billion global cyberattacks launched from online resources. Even with technology like a firewall in place, data can be stolen during a file transfer. Ultimately, no company is safe online today.

So, how can you maintain privacy and confidently share information among team members in such an unstable digital environment? The key is to make sure that your Web conferencing platform is protected by a strong encryption service that can render your data unrecognizable, and unusable, to hackers. Encryption scrambles plain text and other data so that only an authorized recipient can decode it.

This process makes encryption ideal for protecting many different types of data, such as:

Business plans: The last thing you want is for information related to upcoming product launches, budgetary changes or internal affairs to leak onto the Web. If your team is sending sensitive information, make sure it is encrypted.

Personal data: Organizations must be extra careful when transmitting customers’ private information-- such as Social Security and credit card numbers and health information—online. This is critical for staying in compliance with regulations mandated by the Payment Card Industry’s Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Onstream Meetings ensures security with every data transfer by using an advanced 128-bit encryption protocol. This solution automatically protects each conversation, so that encryption is transparent to the end user.

More information about Onstream’s advanced Web conferencing features can be found here.

Globalization: Driving the Web Conferencing Market

 

Globalization postYou were just handed a report with market research indicating there is a big demand for your business’s services in the U.K. Your job is to capitalize on this opportunity and tap into the market in the most direct and cost-effective way possible.

Now, how will you go about doing it?

In the past, before the advent of secure, real-time Web-based communication, this would have required physically expanding your company overseas (a process that could take several months or years due to legal barriers and corporate restructuring). Or it would have required simple technologies like landline telephones and email to communicate with potential clients; these technologies, though useful, were limited in terms of the communications features they offered. You can’t, in other words, edit documents in real time using email. And it’s not very efficient waiting several days for clients to reply to correspondence.

Now, however, you can rapidly accelerate the process of expanding into overseas markets by investing in an affordable browser-based Web conferencing solution. Due to reasons such as convenience and affordability, Web conferencing is greatly helping businesses become more globalized. In fact, globalization was recently named by Future Marketing Insights as one of the biggest drivers in the global Web conferencing market. According to the market intelligence firm, the market will continue to grow at a CAGR of 9.8 percent from 2012 to 2017, culminating in a $2.88 billion industry.  

Using a Web conferencing solution like Onstream Meetings, your business can expedite the following processes:

  • Contract negotiations: Instead of waiting long periods of time for your clients to return heads of terms, confidentiality agreements and other important documents, you can edit items together online in real time using a shared interface.  
  • Building trust: Online meetings can go a long way in building trust between businesses that are located far away from one another. Onstream offers a variety of chat solutions, including video, audio and text.

So, are you ready to take your business onto the global stage? Click here to learn how Onstream Meetings can help.

 

Answers to Onstream Webinars’ Top FAQs

 

faqAre you new to Onstream Webinars? If so, you probably have a lot of questions about our communications solutions. Here is a review of the ones most frequently asked by our customers:

What’s the difference between Onstream Webinars and Onstream Meetings? The products are essentially the same, that is, they are both advanced Web conferencing and communications platforms that come with over 100 features. The biggest difference is the scalability factor: Onstream Meetings is designed for up to 25 participants, while Onstream Webinars is designed for over 50 people at a time. Furthermore, Onstream Webinars comes with specific tools for sending invitations to customers, and for following up after presentations.

Is it easy for customers to log in? It’s very easy for customers to log into Onstream Webinars, which is one of the platform’s most enticing features. Since the product is browser-based, there is no need for difficult downloads or installations. Webinar attendees can simply log in over their device of choice, using the Web.

Can I repurpose webinar content after the event ends? Onstream Webinars makes it easy to record and edit webinars, which means you can continue to leverage the presentation after the event ends as a useful asset for your company.

What kind of support does Onstream Webinars provide? Live assistance is one of the most important parts of any Webinar services offering; after all, when questions arise, you want immediate access to a representative. Onstream offers live assistance from experienced industry experts during business hours.

Now that you’re acquainted with some of the basic facts about Onstream Webinars, click here to head over to our special FAQ section and dig into some deeper, more technical matters.

 

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of High-Quality Video in Your Webinars

 

Dr Samori Swygert discusses 7 things Black America can do right now to create a Black Hollywood www.kulturekritic.com Your webinars have all of the right ingredients—like insightful information, high levels of audience engagement and exciting topics. But there’s one ingredient that’s missing that could mean all the difference in terms of driving sales to your business: video.

Why is video such a critical webinar component? Research from Digital Sherpa shows that video can increase your customers’ understanding of your products and services by as much as 74 percent.

Here are three reasons why you should make sure to include high quality video in all of your webinars:

Improve the learning experience: Not everyone is an auditory learner, as some people need a moving visual element to understand complex concepts and retain information. Use video to better interact with audiences and make sure that everyone walks away feeling more knowledgeable about the subject at hand.

Put a face to your business: A webinar is a great opportunity to highlight some of the amazing people in your enterprise. By putting your C-level executives or marketing employees on camera, you can help new customers get to know the people behind your operations—which is very important when attracting new customers or onboarding new businesses.

Enhance the presentation: Let’s face it: Nobody wants to stare at a blank screen or graphic for an hour. Incorporating video is an excellent way to liven up your presentation, and it will keep attendees from getting distracted by other open windows on their Web browsers. You can also export the video to YouTube after the event, which will increase the amount of attention that it will receive.

Of course, quality needs to be the first and foremost consideration if you’re going to incorporate video into your webinars. Make sure that your webinar services provide you with the ability to make adjustments on the fly, so that you can ensure a professional presentation that looks great to your attendees.

Want to learn some additional ways that you can liven up your next webinar? Click here for more information.

Key Take-Aways From the Recent Software Advice SMB Web Conferencing Survey

 

downloadAre you wondering how small businesses are utilizing Web conferencing in their organizations? Recently, Software Advice tackled the question head on in a survey of employees who work in companies with 50 or fewer workers. 

The survey shows that the use of hosted services are currently soaring at the small-business level, as businesses turn to hosted providers for everything from webinar services to video and audio. Right now, 50 percent of small businesses use Web conferencing for audio; 45 percent use it for video; and 34 percent use it for Webinar purposes. Why are so many small businesses investing in hosted communications services? It’s because small businesses often lack the budgets and manpower to effectively maintain a legacy network. It’s more cost-effective, and secure, to outsource operations to a third-party service.

For what purposes are small businesses using Web conferencing? The survey indicates that planned meetings top the list at 84 percent. Online product demonstrations (55 percent), Webinars for marketing outreach (49 percent) and one-on-one collaboration (49 percent) follow in priority. Also mentioned is customer support (48 percent) and training (45 percent). As these results show, Web conferencing can serve many different needs for a small company and is, therefore, one of the most versatile business communications technologies.

Perhaps the most notable finding from the survey is that Web applications are becoming the most widely used conferencing platform for small business; in fact, 45 percent of small businesses rely on browser-based conferencing as opposed to laptops and PCs, phones and mobile applications.

To learn more about why businesses love Web conferencing, click here.

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