While small businesses that are innovative are providers of technology are always good, this article is about how small businesses can benefit from the technology and innovations that are currently in the marketplace.
For many years teleconferencing was not that inexpensive and the quantity was not good enough for what some users needed. Often is was better to go to a office business centre to hold your teleconference, because the technology that could be found in one of these facilities was often far more advanced than what most small businesses would have available to them in their office or home office. Even if one businesses or meeting member had the right setup at one end, that did not say the setup was as professional at the other end.
The 1990′s brought about the advancement and development of video conferencing solution due to technical advances in Internet Protocol (IP) and also more efficient video compression technologies were developed that would permit desktop or PC-based videoconferencing.
Through free services and software, such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and NetMeeting video conferencing was brought to the mass public. While the video quality was was often choppy or even poor at best, people used it because of the price the price (FREE). As it became more adopted by the consumer market. It was now only a matter of years before video conferencing made its way to business computers.
It was not until the 2000′s when video conferencing evolved towards PC-based online meetings. Broadband or high-speed Internet access became more widely available at a price point that more homes and business were able to afford. The price of web cameras, the cost of PCs was minimal.
It was not until 2005 that through VoIP that video conferencing could be done over secure connections and multipoint video without having to use several telephone lines at $30 to $100 per line per hour.
Then in 2012, Google introduced Google Hangouts. This service was part of the Google + service and popular among those who are internet enthusiasts. Along came Feb 2014 and Google and Asus released a new device for business video conferences called Chromebox For Meetings. As you can imagine, businesses flocked to a device that only costs $999, which is hugely less expense than many business-class video conference systems, which can run thousands of dollars.
Using Google Hangouts with the Chromebox, up to 15 people can join the video meeting from their laptops, tablets or smartphones using their Google+ account. People with Google+ accounts can use a limited version of Hangouts for free. But for a low monthly fee, businesses can have a fully functioning version of Hangouts that offers more advanced uses.
Watch for our upcoming articles on how technology and innovations are impacting small business, including HD action cams, smart phones, cloud computing, smart phones as POS (point of sale), small business apps, VoIP and that small business equalizer – Social Media.
Video conferencing is a very convenient way to conduct meetings, especially when your colleagues or clients reside outside the country.
We have collected some best video conferencing tools for you, listed in no particular order:-
1: Snapyap: – Create your personal video conference room and invite anyone you want, they just need to have snapyap account. This online voice conferencing tool can be used for any one-one audio or video call.
2:CUMeeting -- CUMeeting is powerful but easy-to-use video conferencing software, let you connect with anyone, anywhere and anytime, reduce cost and increase productivity.
3: iVisit:- With this tool, you can transmit live video/audio with up to 8 people at the same time. You can also track mobile users with the integrated GPS system.
4: Vawkr: – Vawkr allows you to get your own video chat room and talk with anyone. The service is completely web-based and free to use.
5: Mega Meeting- This web based video conferencing software requires no downloading. Up to 16 individuals can be seen at the same time.
6: Oovoo: - Communicate with up to six people, through text-chat and video-audio conference. You can also record video messages and share up to 20 files at once to as many contacts as you want.
7: Vsee: - Vsee allows you to talk with multiple people on your computer. You can remotely edit the documents, transfer file. You can also record and share videos.
8:Palbee: - With Palbee, you can set up video meetings with up to 10 people and upload PowerPoint presentations.
8:Tokbox: - Create your own video room, invite a friend and have a video conference with them. A simple registration is required for tokbox.
Of an estimated 65 million Americans who provide some type of care to an ill family member, about 7 million live at least an hour from the relative they're caring for.
The issue, then, is how to get these "distance caregivers" in the room when doctors meet with their patients and local, hands-on caregivers for exams and to discuss treatment.
"Finding ways to bring the distance caregiver into the health-care conversation has been difficult and stressful for those far away," said Sara Douglas, associate professor at Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
So Douglas recently directed a small pilot project that allowed long-distance relatives to be part of that conversation through real-time video conferencing server.
Nursing school faculty conducted the study with seven families that had a relative diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer. The patients were being treated at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland. Here's how the visits worked: A research nurse arranged a predetermined time to meet and talk to the distance caregiver. Pre-visit, the researchers made sure the out-of-town family member could connect to the hospital's information technology system. (Researchers utilized the hospital's highly encrypted videoconferencing system to protect the patient's privacy during the patient's examination.)The nurse prepped the out-of-town family member about would happen during the visit, and the important questions to ask.The out-of-town family member also had the opportunity to take a video tour of the treatment facilities by having the nurse hold the laptop to provide a sense of what the place was like. Questions could be asked at this time.On exam day, the nurse connected the out-of-town family member and brought the laptop into the waiting room to be with the family and give them time to talk.Then the nurse with the laptop followed the group into the exam room, where everyone heard and saw the doctor in real time. Again, there was an opportunity for questions.Although the pilot study only connected each group during one visit, Douglas said the reactions were positive. "The whole group traveled through the experience together," she said, "and the news wasn't always good. If families needed time be alone, they could have it."
The live video feed allowed for such important interaction.
Douglas was surprised to find another benefit: The local, more hands-on person responsible for the patient's care reported feeling a sense of relief by having the out-of-town family member present to hear and share what the doctor and patient had to say.
As the population ages, distance caregivers (out-of-town) are a growing demographic. And while not responsible for day-to-day care, about three-fourths of them make caregiving decisions, help arrange transportation, oversee finances and shop for their ill family member. These caregivers often struggle with job-related conflicts, family pressures and the financial issues involved in traveling to be with ill relatives.
"We may eventually find this is not for every family," she said, "but it holds promise for those families who do want to support each other when a loved one needs their care."
Douglas expects to build on what her research team learned with a much larger study involving many more participants.
What will you do if you need to collaborate and communicate with your branch offices, dispersed teams, customers and partners as well? Email and telephone are already outdated, let alone face-to-face meeting, it is too expensive, time consuming and less efficient.
Nowadays, more and more enterprises tend to use video conferencing software, a kind of video collaboration software to collaborate and communicate with colleagues, customers, clients and partners living in different places.
According to Eugene Eric Kim, founder and director of Blue Oxen Associates, the future of the free world may well depend upon it -- and no, he's not kidding! Unfortunately, there are a list of video collaboration softwares online. Most of them have similar functions, and In this article, we will introduce one for you: CUMeeting video collaboration software.
With CUMeeting video collaboration software, you can easily collaborate and communicate with as many people as you can no matter where they live with HD video and many other features such as whiteboard, file sharing, screen sharing, media sharing, text chat, electronic voting etc.
Key features of CUMeeting video collaboration software Multipoint video conferencing: You can use CUMeeting video collaboration software to connect with multiple points of participants. It can stream generally 16 points at the same time, if you have more than 16 points, you can broadcast each point of video by turns with video polling feature.
Text chat: With text chat function you can freely send text messages to anyone you like. It allows you to privately chat with specific person or group of people or all people. Just click the drop down list of Chat to choose person that you want to chat with.
Sharing: Participants can view your actions on the desktop in real time, view your selected application and file including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF, TEXT, Image etc. Besides, you can send file to participant or receive file from presenter.
Whiteboard: Whiteboard feature allows you to add annotations, highlight any specific content on the presentation (support Image, PDF, Word, Excel and PowerPoint), add notes on a virtual whiteboard. Annotations can be reviewed in real time.
Electronic voting: If you need to know the opinion of all member involved in the participants so as to make final decision on specific matter, then, you can use electronic voting function to gather information needed. The results can be viewed in real-time.
Maryland court officials are calling for legislation that will expand the use of web based video conferencing throughout the system, because it could streamline procedures and reduce expenses involved with transporting prisoners.
But legislators have made clear that they are reluctant to expand use of this technology in supervision hearings involving juveniles.
Seeking to ease the burden of case workers traveling to distant locations, the Department of Juvenile Services proposed legislation that would allow juvenile counselors to supplement some of the mandatory monthly home visits with online video presentation. The measure requested that cloud-based video conferencing take place during one of every three site visits. The bill died in the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County) said he voted against the proposal because it denied juveniles an important opportunity to sit down and talk with empathetic adults.
“I have seen multipoint video conferencing with adults, and I think that is fine,” Brochin said. “To satisfy this requirement with something so impersonal, just doesn't do it for me.”
“Meetings between a juvenile in the system and their caseworker needs to be conducted in person,” Hershey said, adding that he didn't think there was a need to decrease the services by offering less visitation. Hershey said the issues could be resolved with “better resource allocation.”
Sen. Lisa Gladden (D-Baltimore) was the lone vote in favor of the legislation.
Gladden called the travel of counselors to remote locations as a “colossal waste of time.” She said that while contact with the children is necessary, there are other safeguards in place and other ways to fulfill the requirement. Gladden also suggested enlisting the help of community advocates or finding counselors that are in the area.
“A counselor traveling three hours to the Eastern Shore is a waste of resources,” Gladden said. “There are needs that the child has in terms of education and employment that the money could be put towards.”
Internet video conferencing technology is currently used to streamline some court procedures throughout the state. For example, in order to enhance victim safety, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center uses desktop video conferencing in domestic violence hearings where temporary protective orders are requested. Video conferencing server is also used in bail reviews, and inmate grievance appeal hearings in various counties.
Another area that judiciary members are looking to utilize lan video conferencing is in initial hearing and bail process.
Since the September Maryland Court of Appeals decision requiring public defenders to represent economically disadvantaged defendants during the initial bail hearing, the courts and lawmakers alike have been mulling over how to best implement the ruling that could cost up to $30 million.
Judge Ben Clyburn, Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland, explained that prior to the court's decision, “defendants were not required to have legal representation. The attorney did not have to be present until a subsequent bail review hearing.”
“This ruling has inspired a closer look at the costs and procedures throughout the judicial process,” said Clyburn.
He said that in an effort to resolve this and other issues, the courts propose combining the initial and bail hearings, and implementing the use of web video conferencing.
Clyburn said it would cost $1.9 million to implement the system statewide and it would cut down on other costs, such as the cost of transporting prisoners and compensating judges for mileage when traveling to places like the Eastern Shore and western Maryland.
“Some complain that you can't quite capture a person's demeanor through free web conferencing. There are physical signs when a person is not telling the truth. Video meeting software makes it difficult to detect [that],” he said.
But Clyburn explained that the technology allows judges to zoom in to get a closer look. Clyburn said he also understands concerns that online meeting software might be impersonal, but he added: “Twenty years ago, the picture and transmission was hazy. Now the technology is so good that it almost feels like you are in the room.”