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Opinion: Building mobility into video conferencing

Opinion: Building mobility into video conferencing

In this week's article, Polycom's Oscar Trimboli discusses the opportunity of unified communications in BYOD and mobility.

Although the unified communications (UC) industry, and specifically video technology, has traditionally been associated with desktop or room-based systems, the increased adoption and evolution of mobility has changed this perception quite considerably.

There is enormous opportunity in the reseller market to take advantage of increased demand from businesses for mobile solutions that deliver enterprise-grade video on any device, anywhere, with the evolution of BYOD strategies.

To set the context for the importance of BYOD strategies for New Zealand, it’s worth reviewing some of the key drivers of mobility recently, and how resellers can take advantage of these trends.

Proliferation of mobile devices: Over the past 24 months, there has been an explosion of mobile devices entering the market, as massive innovation and competition in mobile technology continues to drive demand for the latest smartphone or tablets. Given that 64% of New Zealanders aged 15 – 65 now own a smartphone, with levels expected to reach 90% penetration in 2018, it is unquestionable that BYOD is a trend that is likely to become even more prevalent for New Zealand businesses.

It’s all about the end-user: Our appetite for increased connectedness has driven the need to create new ways to bring us closer together, and technology advancements in mobility are driving a whole new paradigm for communication focused on the power of video. When it comes to BYOD, businesses are being driven by the demands of their employees, as more and more people have an expectation they can use devices of their choosing on the company network. There is also an expectation that internal systems are as dynamic and simple to use as consumer solutions.

Collaborative workspaces: Today, with the increase in flexible working and collaborative workspaces, people expect the same standards of reliability and usability on their personal devices, as they experience at work. Mobility solutions incorporating enterprise-grade video also mean that the face-to-face meeting experience that usually takes place within a boardroom or office, is no longer compromised when on the move or at home.

Change management

Whether dealing with a small business or distributed enterprise, the benefits of embracing mobility, and more specifically a formalised BYOD strategy are plain to see. The business drivers are apparent, however resellers also need to help their customers assess and anticipate the cultural impact on the wider organisation, not just simply focus on technology.

Implementing a BYOD strategy needs to form part of a bigger change management program. This is critical when companies are placing their trust in employees to protect their devices – with critical company data - outside the confines of the corporate network. Equipping companies with some useful advice on how best to do this and the safeguards they can put in place is fundamental for resellers when kick-starting conversations around BYOD.

Adopting enterprise mobility strategies is a lot more than merely equipping employees with remote access privileges or mobile connections. Mobility is no longer a practice limited to working “off-site” or from home; it is also about extending and replicating real-life meeting experiences to create a virtual collaboration environment, either over audio or video.

Educating businesses about these benefits and the value of investing in a mobile strategy with video-enabled applications represents a significant opportunity for the reseller community. New Zealand businesses without a strong position on this are likely to miss a major opportunity in increasing the agility and productivity of their employees. BYOD is about putting the employee experience first.

Read more: Lifesize offers cloud-based video conferencing on an annual contract

Tips for Resellers –advising businesses on BYOD and mobility

In order to help effectively facilitate ongoing growth in this area, it is essential for UC vendors and resellers alike, to be in a strong position to offer consultation around some of the practical considerations businesses need to be aware of when implementing mobility as part of a broader UC strategy.

Current state of play: Firstly, a reseller must determine whether an organisation currently has a BYOD policy in place. This will determine whether employees have permission to use their own devices to access the corporate network or download enterprise applications on their smartphones or tablets. Once a reseller determines the extent of the policy and how robust it is, they form a starting point from which to build mobility into the wider UC or video strategy.

Having the right methodology: If a company does not currently have a formal BYOD strategy in place, resellers must be able to offer advice on the right methodology to create one. They should be able to offer a framework, or examples of other customers that have successfully rolled out a similar strategy.

Don’t rush, take your time: According to IDC, enterprise mobility is a key 2014 investment focus for companies across the entire APAC region including New Zealand. It also found however, that many organisations' efforts are a rushed reaction to the BYOD trend and are leading to high levels of dissatisfaction and costly errors. Resellers must be able to counsel organisations to take a strategic view of Enterprise Mobility if they are to understand the value it can bring. This provides a longer-term platform for growth, rather than rushed solutions to address an immediate need.

Analyse network requirements and security: Some businesses exploring the rollout of structured BYOD strategy into an existing UC deployment, might be concerned about the strain on the existing network infrastructure. There is an opportunity for resellers to assess bandwidth implications for businesses, and also determine the need for how employees connect to a network via firewall traversal solutions.

Next week's article will discuss integration of multiple solutions.

Oscar Trimboli is partner and channel director for Polycom ANZ. Oscar is responsible for leading Polycom'schannel network with go-to market strategies and initiatives to help partners create competitive differentiation and build their businesses.

Read: Opinion: Assessing and recommending solutions for customers.

Read: Opinion: Collaborative workspace - the opportunity for resellers.


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