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What is a Hybrid Meeting and How to Update A Meeting Room for Hybrid Meetings in 2021

What is a Hybrid Meeting and How to Update A Meeting Room for Hybrid Meetings in 2021

Hybrid meetings are set to become a regular workplace feature - so how do we make sure we are ready?

It seems like only yesterday that we were all getting used to video meetings. Now that we’ve mastered those and people are starting to return to the office, we have a whole new thing to get used to: Hybrid Meetings. But what is a hybrid meeting and how can we update meeting rooms to make our hybrid meetings as smooth as a one-on-one video call.

What is a hybrid meeting?

A hybrid meeting is a meeting where people attend both virtually and in-person, using audio visual conferencing equipment to communicate. Often participants will use online content sharing solutions to support collaboration.  

With 1 in 4 meetings currently a hybrid meeting, and people preferring to have a mix of home and office working in future, it’s clear that even in a post-Covid world, hybrid meetings are here to stay.  Unfortunately for most businesses, the technology is not up to the challenge. In a hybrid meeting, attention flits from people in the room, to people on camera, and the video cameras and audio equipment struggles to keep up. So how do you update your meeting room for hybrid meetings so that all participants can be heard and seen, and content can be shared efficiently, for the most enjoyable hybrid meeting experience?

The first step is to make sure you have a suitable meeting room solution for video meetings. The meeting room system avoids you having to “give up” your laptop in the meeting, helping you to maintain your productivity and your privacy.  It’s also really easy to join a meeting, as it is scheduled in the room calendar – just turn up and tap to join! Meeting room hardware solutions are available for all the popular video conferencing platforms. Often with tabletop touch screen interfaces that combine with cameras and audio solutions, to turn any meeting room into an easy-to-use video conferencing suite.

In a hybrid meeting, the main speaker will change from in-room to on-video participants without notice. So for your meeting to be a success, you must have microphones that can pick up sound from wherever a person may be in the room. There are various solutions to help you achieve this. Depending on your room size and shape, you may be better with a ceiling mounted microphone like the Sennheiser Team Connect Ceiling 2 or multiple desk-mounted microphones like the Logitech Tap (which also combines as a touch screen video meeting interface). The key is to choose products that are suitable for your particular space and that are able to identify between background noise and people speaking.

In a hybrid meeting, video participants may need to change their view of those in the room,  from a group view to an individual close up. A smart camera that will pick up these changes automatically is the best solution for an easy and natural meeting experience. We like the Poly Eagle Eye Director II (available on its own or with the Poly G85-T) for a simple, professional solution that will automatically group people into one shot or zoom into individual speakers, creating a more natural and dynamic experience for the other side of the call. 

The most successful hybrid meetings allow all participants to collaborate and share content as they would if they were in the same room. For the best results either use a very large single screen, or a dual screen set up, using mid sized panels. This means you can properly see both peoples reactions and the people video feed, as well as crystal clear content. There is no point presenting a spreadsheet to the room using a 50″ TV when participants are sat 4 or 5m away! 

Secondly, a tool for wireless screen sharing is key. Many video platforms offer basic content sharing and whiteboard as standard, but a solution that also allows content annotation is an essential tool for true hybrid meeting collaboration. We like the Poly G7500 which combines with additional modules in the Poly range like advanced cameras, the TC8 touch console and smart audio solutions for an unsurpassable yet simple collaboration experience. 

Update Your Meeting Room For Hybrid Meetings

If you need independent advice on how to transform your meetings rooms or video conferencing suites into hybrid meeting rooms then why not book a free consultation? We can organise a video meeting to review your existing technology and room set-up, to identify the most appropriate solutions for simple hybrid meeting experiences across your organisation.

The Best Hardware for Video Meetings

video meetings

Want professional quality video meetings? These hardware solutions will get you there:

Ever wonder why some video meetings look and sound better than others? The answer is in the hardware. Whether you use Zoom, Teams, StarLeaf or anything else, getting good quality cameras and sound systems will quickly transform your meetings and create a more enjoyable experience for all. Making sure they’re easy to use too, will be the icing on the cake. So whether you’re calling from a conference room or a home office, here are our best hardware solutions for video meetings.

Best video hardware for small meeting spaces

Whether you’re looking for a dedicated video solution for your home office or need to kit-out quiet booths and huddle spaces in the office for video meetings, we love these solutions:

This premium video sound bar is a universal winner! Its neat, compact design provides great quality video and sound in small spaces and huddle rooms for pretty much any cloud-based video platform. Just connect to your laptop via USB and away you go! 

Available with both Zoom and Teams software included, this neat, touch screen interface with built in mic and speakers comes with a separate wide-angled camera for small spaces. With no additional computer needed, it also supports both single and dual displays. 

With its own built in computer, the X30 (and X50 for medium spaces) gives you the winning capacity of the Poly Studio but with Teams, Zoom or StarLeaf video platform preconfigured. So video meetings are simple and seamless, with no additional computer plug-in required.

Best video hardware for medium meeting spaces

Bigger spaces mean your audio and camera have to work harder. So choosing video meeting hardware that’s fit for purpose will ensure everyone is heard and seen – even when you’re sitting two metres apart.

Designed for use with both Microsoft Teams and Zoom Rooms, the Flex B is a complete solution with exceptional quality sound bar, 4K HD Camera and one-touch start interface.

For Microsoft Teams this neat touch screen system is connected by USB to a hidden computer. It uses a speaker-tracking and auto-group framing camera alongside Poly signature audio which includes NoiseBlockAI, Acoustic Fence, Acoustic Clarity and HD voice.

Best video hardware for conference rooms and large meetings spaces

Make sure your most important rooms have the technology to support the decisions that are made there. With high-quality, simple solutions, decision makers can focus on the task at hand without worrying about technical issues.

Poly G85-T brings Microsoft Teams into your large meeting room or conference room with a complete camera, audio and touch screen solution. Featuring the exceptional Poly Eagle Eye Director II production-quality camera and Poly’s signature audio, this is a stunning solution for those important meeting spaces.

This modular system provides a range of collaboration features that can be used in any meeting space, but that work really well in board rooms and large meeting spaces. Wireless screen sharing, annotation, plus the option to add Poly’s HD camera and signature sound system make this a powerful tool. Use with Zoom , StarLeaf and Poly.

At TecInteractive, we keep our eye on the market looking for the best products that combine both great quality with ease of use. So your video meetings are as professional as you are. To find out more or for a free consultation to help understand how you can make the most of your existing set-up, contact us today:

Zoom Rooms: Getting the Right Zoom Experience in Your Meeting Rooms

zoom rooms

Back to the office? Create professional video meeting rooms with Zoom Rooms

Within weeks of the Covid-19 lockdown, it seemed like EVERYONE was using Zoom. And that’s because they were. Usage increased from 10 million daily meetings in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020, with “annualised meeting minutes” jumping from 100 billion to 2 trillion (that’s a 20-fold increase!) Now, as users return to the office following an extensive period of home-working, they want the same simple, home video meeting experience but on an office-wide scale.

Zoom Rooms: Getting the Right Zoom Experience in Your Meeting Rooms
The IMPORTANCE OF GOOD QUALITY Video Meetings

Whether you’re having a regular weekly catch-up or meeting a new client on video for the first time, it is essential that the people on the other end of the call can see and hear you clearly. It saves time wasted through repetitions and avoids key points being lost. In the video age, the quality of your video communication is a direct reflection of your professionalism and brand image. Already, those businesses who are getting it right are standing head and shoulders above the competition. Winning more work, engaging more talented candidates and retaining their best people by providing them with the tools they need to do their job well. Wherever they may be.  

working at home zoom
THE PROBLEM WITH ZOOM IN MEETING ROOMS

Zoom calls from home are relatively straight forward. People can use their integrated camera and speaker on their laptop or tablet, or even get a webcam plugged into their PC. It works well for most people, as the camera and speaker only have to pick up one person. Unfortunately in a meeting room with several people it’s not so straight forward. 

Using Zoom in a meeting room through one person’s laptop is going to be challenging. If you have a meeting room display, camera and audio system to connect to, that’s a good start. But for the thousands of non-tech-savvy workers it poses a problem. Both for them and the IT support teams who will inevitably spend a lot of time trying to help people get connected. For those who don’t have that level of hardware in their meeting rooms, trying to huddle (socially distanced) round one person’s laptop with one low-quality microphone trying to pick up more than one voice, just isn’t going to work.

Zoom Rooms: Getting the Right Zoom Experience in Your Meeting Rooms
ZOOM ROOMS

Thankfully, the clever minds at Zoom have already thought of this problem and offer a range of meeting room hardware, which comes readily configured with the Zoom software that you know and love. Zoom rooms systems like the Crestron Flex Series or Logitech Tap, are out-the-box, touch-screen endpoints that are suitable for a range of meeting room sizes from huddle spaces and personal work-pods through to large meeting rooms and conferencing spaces. 

These easy-to-install kits come with cameras that suit your specific room size and have an integrated conference speaker, with options to add additional microphones and speakers according to need. It means that people can just enter a meeting room and start a video meeting at the touch of a button. No fuss. No wires. No technical blips. Just easy, good quality video meetings. It saves time, stress and keeps everyone focused on business priorities, rather than worrying about technology.

Zoom Rooms: Getting the Right Zoom Experience in Your Meeting Rooms
EASY VIDEO MEETINGS WITH ZOOM ROOMS

Getting your meeting room set up with a simple, affordable Zoom Rooms system, provides a reliable and efficient meeting tool for staff to use, with an interface they are familiar with. Because these systems are easy to integrate and are scalable, many businesses are choosing to install these systems across their meeting rooms, providing a standard experience across the business which is easy for colleagues to use and easy for IT to manage.  

At a time, when staff want the conveniences of working from home, with the opportunities for collaboration and interaction that they get from the office, simple solutions like this will tick a lot of boxes.

Why not arrange a free demo or give us a call to find out more?

Free Video Conferencing App For Everyone

free video conferencing app

As Coronavirus forces people to work from home, this video calling app will keep workers collaborating

Derbyshire Tech firm TecInteractive are offering a free video conferencing app to any individuals or businesses who want to utilise video communication to stay in touch during the coronavirus pandemic. As offices close and people are asked to work from home, workers are looking for a simple way to stay in touch and maintain their day to day working.

Video calling provides the same rapport as being face to face whilst ensuring that meetings can still go ahead. Managers find its easy to ‘just say hi’ to members of their team, helping to maintain engagement at a time when people are feeling anxious and worried. And with inbuilt screen sharing, users find they are still able to collaborate and work together, even if they cannot work in the same room or office together.

The Growth of Video Conferencing

Video meetings have been growing in popularity over the last few years, as the availability of good quality, cloud-based video networks bring an affordable (and in this case free) way to stay in touch with people without travelling. Businesses with remote workers or those seeking to reduce their carbon footprint have found video meetings a good alternative that saves time and money. Now, as people are being asked to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s also being used for essential communication and collaboration between teams.

Free Video Conferencing App Download

The app, from video conferencing network provider StarLeaf, offers a simple solution that anyone can access. Simply download the app to install StarLeaf on Windows, Mac, iOS or android mobile. Register by entering your email address, and you’ll be sent a 6 digit access code. Once you’ve inputted the code you’ll have full access to the app including one-on-one calling, group meetings, screen-sharing and messaging. Most importantly it’s simple to use. So when you are calling your most important client or your team, you can be sure of a reliable, no-hassle way to stay in touch.

Free Video Conferencing App For Everyone
Download the StarLeaf App HERE

We trust that you’ll find this free video conferencing app easy to use. But if you need any help, advice or support we’re here to help. Just contact us at TecInteractive.

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Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace

Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace

Coronavirus is big news. But for most people, it’s more likely to be affecting your working life than your health. We look at managing the impact of coronavirus in the workplace.

Coronavirus in the UK is so far affecting our working lives more than it’s affecting our health. With, so far, only a small number of reported cases in proportion to our population of 67 million people, the chances that you know someone who has been infected is low. But by comparison, a huge number of people have experienced disruption to their working lives because of it.

From cancelled business travel, through to self-isolation of people who have been in high-risk areas, and now to quarantine of people who simply show standard cold and flu symptoms, the impact to working life is far reaching.

As a secondary impact, the closure of schools and other childcare providers, means increasing numbers of working parents are struggling to make it into work.And this could be just the start. The Government anticipate that due to the highly contagious nature of this virus, we could have as many as 20% of the workforce off work at its peak.  It now falls to businesses to minimise this disruption. And it’s interesting to note that while Coronavirus has wiped millions of pounds from the UK stock market, one business has experienced a boost: Zoom video conferencing.

Yes video conferencing is racing into this battle with a shiny coat of armour and a promise to maintain as much ‘business as normal’ as possible for the thousands of people who will be working from home while we ride out this storm. These are our tips for making it work for you:

Keep People Working

As a business, your priority is to keep people working. Whilst ensuring the health and safety of your workers. So enabling working from home is the first priority. Once you’ve enabled access, login and file access, the next big thing is communication. And there is no better way to communicate than being face-to-face. Or in this case, video communication.

We like the FREE StarLeaf app which provides video calling, chat and screen sharing across any device, wherever you are, to one or many people. It’s simple to use. And it’s free. So people can just download and start using, without letting the threat of coronavirus hold anyone back. Just download it here.

Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace
Microsoft Teams

If you subscribe to Office 365 you already have a brilliant tool for remote (or office) collaboration: Microsoft Teams. Use this platform to collaborate via instant messaging, share files and to make video calls. It’s really simple, and makes great use of the tools you already have. Don’t forget you can combine Teams with additional hardware like cameras, speakers and displays to improve the quality of your video communication. Consider a full room system from Logitech or a meeting room solution from StarLeaf.

Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace
Try Tools You Know

If you don’t have Office 365, there are other free video calling platforms you can use. Some people might feel more comfortable starting with platforms that they are already familiar with, like Skype or Facetime. But bear in mind, these tools have limited functionality for business use. They may provide you with that first stepping stone to get people into the ‘video-mindset’ in the workplace though. Just being able to see each other will help to improve communication through the ability to read body language, facial expressions and ensuring people are paying attention on a call (and not writing emails or doodling in the background!)

Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace

Alternatively, if you’re happy to try something new like the StarLeaf app, you can help people to feel more confident on a video call with these tips!

Be prepared

Your first priority when managing the impact of coronavirus in the workplace is to keep people working. But in the medium to longer term you may want to consider how you can get the most from the video conferencing tools you’ve been using. Both during the outbreak and afterwards.  It might be about providing better webcams for home workers or setting up meeting rooms that can fully accommodate video meetings. Choose either flexible or permanent solutions for audio and visual to enable more professional meetings where everyone can be seen and heard.

Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace
Workplace Changes After Coronavirus

In a study last year, Gartner suggests that by 2024 60% of meetings will take place via video – as opposed to just 25% now. It is likely the impact of coronavirus on the workplace will encourage this growth to accelerate. As people are pushed into using video for communication and meetings, the benefits will become more widely appreciated. And the concerns that have held people back will become irrelevant. Importantly, those workers who may have been told previously that they cannot work from home before, will be able to demonstrate that it is possible. And demand increased opportunities for remote working than has previously been possible.

Managing the Impact of Coronavirus in the Workplace

Like everyone, we hope that Coronavirus disappears as quickly as it appeared. But the legacy of its impact will remain with businesses for decades. Just like the SARS outbreak of 2003/4, it will make businesses reconsider their continuity planning. And if remote working and utilising video communication are not yet part of that strategy, they soon will be.

So get ahead of the curve. Assess your tools. And your people. And work out what action you need to take to ensure it’s ‘business as usual’, whatever the coronavirus or future challenges throw at you.

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The PaperLess Office: Cost-cutting reality or paper-dreams?

paperless office

Looking to go PaperLess? Technical Director and digital fan, Richard Vine looks at what’s holding people back:

People have been talking about the paperless office for decades. It reduces waste, saves money and boosts security. As we enter a new decade, with environmental concerns, an eye (always) on the bottom line and cloud-based technology more accessible than ever before, we ask is this the decade that going paper-free becomes a reality, or are we stuck to paper like glue?

Being PaperLess

It’s fair to say I’m technology evangelist. I’ve been ‘paper-free’ since 2007, relying on technology to create, save, share and deliver whatever information others use paper for. But before my bias clouds your judgement of this blog, I should also say that as Technical Director of TecInteractive, I work with businesses across the country who aren’t paper-free.  From Government bodies to SME’s to international corporations. And whilst there are often instances where I question their use of paper, I also understand why in many instances it’s just not possible to have a paperless office. Yet.

The PaperLess Office: Cost-cutting reality or paper-dreams?
The Reality of a PaperLess Office

The reality is that the technology is there. But it’s not always as simple and easy-to-use as picking up a paper and pen. People will naturally gravitate to the simplest solution. And paper is such an ingrained commodity in our lives. The change process from paper to digital on a company wide-scale is often too daunting to undertake. Even our youngest employees didn’t grow up with a tablet in their hands – paper is still the primary medium that we are used to dealing with – and often the easiest.

But that doesn’t mean that people don’t LIKE the idea of going paper-free.

The PaperLess Office: Cost-cutting reality or paper-dreams?
Statistics on Paper Use in Offices

Did you know that:

  • the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year – and this is growing
  • 45% of printed sheets are in the bin by the end of the day
  • Much of this does NOT get recycled and ends up in landfill
  • 40% of a worker’s time can be spent looking for paper files
  • 20% of print jobs are never retrieved from the printer, posing a security risk for sensitive data
  • 10% of IT staff time is spent managing printers
  • 80% of businesses WANT to reduce paper
  • Commitment to environmental management can help to win new business (90% of organisations seek ISO 14001 in order to win new business)
  • Adherence to ISO 14001 can help organisations to mitigate and adapt to climate change
A Balance of PaperLess and Digital in the Workplace

So it’s all about finding a compromise: Finding the paper-free solutions that will save you time, help you work more efficiently WHILST saving money and reducing the impact on the environment. But for that to happen, the solutions MUST be easy to use. We can’t deck out our offices with hi-tec gadgets that are unreliable, or that people don’t understand or can’t use.

The PaperLess Office: Cost-cutting reality or paper-dreams?
Intuitive Solutions

A good example of this is interactive digital displays. They’re so easy to use that children as young as 3 can use them.  These touch-screen, giant tablets provide you with a digital flipchart to write notes in a brainstorm meeting. You can access files and programs like you would from your desktop. And then save them. And then access them again when you’re back at your desk. There’s no typing up notes or taking dozens of photocopies of your brainstorm notes to share amongst colleagues. And notes can be saved and shared securely without the risk of sensitive data being seen by others or being left on the photocopier. Here, the paper-free solution doesn’t just replace a paper process. It makes it better and more efficient.

The PaperLess Office: Cost-cutting reality or paper-dreams?

Using a digital interactive display, people could also dial into the same brainstorm meeting and view the ‘digital flipchart’ from their device remotely, making their own notes on the digital screen. It’s a great example of how going paper-less can boost collaboration and save time (rather than missing a meeting or travelling back for a meeting when you’re not in the office). But with dozens of interactive displays on the market, it’s choosing the ones that are most user friendly and easy to use that will really encourage people to abandon their flipcharts and go digital.

Simple, Paper-free Solutions

There are hundreds of examples that we could look at. But the message is always the same. Choosing simple, paper-free solutions should make your lives easier. Not necessarily create a war of change that no-one is ready for. With this outlook, perhaps your goal for 2020 is to be a less-paper office rather than paperless office? Whatever your ambitions for reducing paper in your business, it’s the technology solutions that will make them a reality. So, whilst I’m optimistic that the paper-free office is a future reality, for anyone who isn’t quite ready, we’re here to help you find the solutions that will set you on the right path.

The PaperLess Office: Cost-cutting reality or paper-dreams?

Contact us to arrange a chat with one of our solution consultants today:

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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
 

Alternative Presentation Tools Better Than PowerPoint

Alernative Presentation Tools better than powerpoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is still the go-to software when creating presentations. But in our new world of video or hybrid meetings, we need more than just pretty slides to make our presentations engaging and memorable.  And how do we avoid appearing like a Downing Street News briefing, trailing through slide after Powerpoint slide? 

The key to delivering great presentations online and in hybrid meetings, is to consider all your presentation tools, rather than simply relying on PowerPoint. Here are our Top Tips:

 

 

1. Great Slides

Great presentations need great slides. Obviously the messaging in each slide needs due consideration. But once you’ve got that right, what presentation software are you going to use to make it sing?

PREZI is a fun and engaging presentation tool. With Prezi Video you can share your slides or imagery next to you so it’s great for story telling and replicating that ‘in-meeting feeling’, to read expression and body language whilst presenting. Cost: £0-59 p/m

KEYNOTE is a versatile tool designed for Mac and iOS users. It can handle lots of different media and lets you make complex animations for free. It can also integrate with PowerPoint so two parties can use different apps to work on the same project. Cost: Free for Apple users 

VISME Visme is a cloud-based drag and drop software that’s easy to use and offers a vast library of images, infographics and data visualizations. Add animation or interactivity to any element including surveys, quizzes or videos. Cost: $0-29+

2. Capturing it Perfectly

When it comes to perfect presentations, your slides are only a part of the picture. Literally. People underestimate the power of a good camera. If your image is sharp, you’re instantly more engaging to viewers. But unless your laptop is less than a year or two old, the chances are that the integrated camera is not up to scratch. 

We like the Logitech and Poly ranges of cameras for exceptional quality at an affordable price point. But which model will depend on the camera location and the size of the room. Choose from monitor-based clip-on cameras for home offices, all the way through to production quality HD cameras like the Eagle Eye Director II paired with the Eagle Eye Producer Video tracking module for professional, production-quality presentation tools that are better than PowerPoint alone.

presentation tools better than powerpoint

3. Sound as Good as it Looks

Getting the audio right in your presentations is essential. If people can’t hear you, the PowerPoint (or alternative) slides are only going to tell half of the story (if that!) Again audio needs to be assessed based on the size of the room and the type of meetings held there. You may find a microphone headset works well if you’re sitting in a small space. But for hybrid meetings in a room, a microphone that will pick up the speaker and eliminate background noise as the speaker moves around the room will be vital. Choose from ceiling panels, wall mounted mic/speaker bars or desk-mounted speakers.

Alternative Presentation Tools Better Than PowerPoint

 

Presentation Tools Better Than Powerpoint

Ultimately, the best tools for presentations better than Powerpoint alone, are going to depend on your audience, your messaging and the environments in which you’re presenting. But in a world where business decisions are made and contracts are being won over video, we need to make sure that the tools we are using are up to the challenge.

If you really want to capture your audience’s attention, interest them and excite them, in order to win contracts and influence decisions,you need to think about using software and hardware that encourages that. If you need guidance and advice, on the best solutions for your business and meeting spaces, contact us for a free consultation.

zoom rooms

The Right Technology For Agile Working

technology for agile working

Technology enables agile working – but getting it wrong can slow people down. We look at choosing the right technology for agile working environments:

Agile working is the means of being able to work anywhere. At home, in a café, on a bean bag in the office, or indeed at an office desk. Anywhere. And it’s technology that allows us to do that. It’s all about having the freedom and flexibility to choose where you work. But getting technology right in an agile working environment isn’t simply about giving people a wi-fi password and a laptop. Too often businesses choose to adopt agile working without giving enough consideration to what they really need.  So what technology is the right technology for agile working?

The first thing to be clear on, is what does ‘agile’ truly mean? ‘Agility’ is the ability to move quickly and easily. So, an agile working environment should allow workers to move from one place of work to another, quickly and easily. Whether it’s a meeting room, a breakout area or your home living room. But this is often where technology for agile working falls short. People are held back by fiddly wires, unreliable connections and frustrating ‘computer says no’ scenarios.

Getting technology right in an agile working environment is about choosing the right solutions that give people the flexibility to work anywhere. Not giving them a tech-headache because things don’t work as efficiently as they should. As with most technology decisions, simplicity is the key.  Here are a few ideas:

Technology for Agile Working

The Right Technology For Agile Working

From Agile Space to Personal Desk

Often businesses that promote agile working use hot-desking or hoteling as a cost-effective way to make the most of their space. But trying to hunt down a vacant space can really slow you down. Try using a simple, easy to use booking system like GoBright. A simple colour coding system makes it easy to see and book available desks either online or in person. It will hold your seat if you have to go away or release desks where someone hasn’t shown up. And once you’re logged in via your smartphone or personal NFC-card, the sit or stand desk can automatically adjust to your personal preferences.

The Right Technology For Agile Working

Plug and Play

Agile working often leads to activity based workplaces – offices that are designed to accommodate different activities – from quiet working spaces to collaboration zones and huddle spaces. To collaborate, workers need areas where they can connect their laptop to a big screen to share their ideas with others – not have everyone crammed around someone’s laptop. But fiddly wires to connect can really take the spontaneity out of a huddle meeting.  Wireless presentation systems like Clickshare provide an easy plug-and-play solution to connect your screen to the big screen. Whether you are working from a laptop, tablet or mobile. It’s quick and easy – everything agile working should be!

The Right Technology For Agile Working

From Desk to Meeting Room to Living Room

Cloud-based technology is the secret to agile working. There is nothing more frustrating than not having access to files and materials because you are not sat within the company network. Make sure your servers are accessible (and secure) for everyone, anywhere. And then choose technology that allows you to maximise this feature. For example, an interactive display  which is connected to the cloud, gives you the option to access files from your desktop, annotate and enhance in a meeting, and then save and access again the next day when you’re working from home. For creatives, the Nureva Span provides a digital canvas that teams can use for collaboration and then save to the cloud to revert back to wherever they may be working next. So working is seamless, and, well, agile!

The Right Technology For Agile Working

Instant Recognition

We’re getting so used to intuitive, simple tech in our personal lives – with fingerprint, voice or iris recognition, shouldn’t we have the same simplicity in our agile working environments? Increasingly intelligent solutions are being adopted with our workplace technology – where all you need is a personal security card, thumb print or your smartphone for technology to assume your own personal settings. Take for example the new StarLeaf Touch 2045; the video conferencing main control unit will instantly recognise registered users when their smartphone comes into close proximity. So that scheduled meetings are synced with the systems and ready to take place at the touch of a button. Now that sounds like the sort of recognition that we all deserve!

Home, Sweet Office

If you’re a fan of working from home do you ever worry about the impact on collaboration when people aren’t all in the same office? Often, there’s a sacrifice: meetings get postponed or decision making is delayed as key stake-holders are missing. But if you have a reliable video communication channel this doesn’t have to be the case. We like StarLeaf for video communication – not only are their simple meeting room systems really easy to use, their secure network allows you to speak to anyone from anywhere. Call quality is great (subject to internet connection) and you can see when someone is available to chat – so you can still ‘drop-in’ on a colleague working from home. From quick catch ups, to decision making meetings, to screen-sharing,  a great video communication system will ensure agile working  does not compromise on collaboration.

The Right Technology For Agile Working

Agile working has many benefits for an organisation. But the technology that enables it must also be right, so that it doesn’t ultimately slow you down. We work with many businesses to help them identify what technology is going to help them work quickly and easily. We also have a partnership with office design experts Blueprint Interiors, so if you want to design your office to support agile working or create an activity based working environment, we know exactly where to start. Contact us to find out more…

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Does Video Conferencing Put You at Risk of Hacking?

video conferencing hacking

If you’re worried that cloud-based video conferencing is at risk of hacking, you’re right. But not if you choose the right system.

Cyber security is a consideration for everyone nowadays. And for none more so than businesses and IT departments. As technology develops, and the cloud-based apps and tools we use to communicate with each other only multiplies, it sometimes seems easier to simply put a blanket ban on using those tools that pose a risk.

Only last year, Google’s Project Zero exposed critical vulnerabilities in the WebRTC open source that enables video calling for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Facebook Messenger, Signal and many others. Just by accepting a call, a memory heap overflow could be triggered that would allow the hacker to take over the victim’s account. Whilst this identification allowed the problem to be addressed, how long until another flaw in the system is identified?

More recently, with increasing numbers of people using Zoom for video calling during the Covid-19 lockdown, security breaches are being highlighted. Despite people using passwords and security features.

But this doesn’t mean that all cloud-based video conferencing solutions are at risk of hacking. Here are our tips for secure video conferencing:

How to prevent hacking through your video conferencing system:

Place Endpoints Inside Firewalls

One way to mitigate risk of hacking of your video conferencing system is to place endpoints inside firewalls. It sounds simple, but the reality is that having endpoints outside of firewalls has become common practice, as it’s a quick fix to enable video calling with other organisations and external bridging services. The trouble is that users don’t always change default logins. And vulnerabilities in the software are not protected by the firewalls either.  Both of which allows hackers easy access. Another problem is being targeted for ‘denial of service attacks’ or H.323 nuisance spam callers.

By taking these endpoints out of the public internet and placing them inside the firewalls of the users private network, these risks are removed. StarLeaf is the leading provider for secure cloud-based video calling. It allows you to make cross-provider calls to anyone with or without an existing video calling system, but maintains the endpoints inside the user’s private network. It’s all thanks to the StarLeaf NAT/ firewall traversal solution which requires only a single port to connect securely to the StarLeaf cloud. This connection is secured further by Transport Layer Security (TLS) which encrypts media and signalling so that all communications and software updates are secure.

Does Video Conferencing Put You at Risk of Hacking?

Run a Closed Network with Existing Security

Operating video calling through a closed network is a great way to keep your network secure. But it will reduce the usability of the system and therefore decrease the value of the investment. For users to be able to connect with external users, the IP addresses need to be pre-approved, providing a considerable admin task for IT. Particularly when home broadband connections often change their IP address on a regular basis. Or a VPN connection would provide a solution, but that does rely on end users having the skills to do this relatively tricky task. And how many execs or home workers have the time to fiddle around with that?

Does Video Conferencing Put You at Risk of Hacking?

We think that video conferencing – and any technology for the matter – should be simple, and easy to use. To make life easier, tasks simpler and save time and therefore money. Which is why, again StarLeaf comes out on top for us. Because the StarLeaf cloud allows you to open your network to external video calls from anywhere without compromising on security. It’s simple, easy and secure.

Avoid Man-in-the-Middle Attack with Authentication

People think that you don’t need separate authentication on a video call because you can see the other person. But a hacker can intercept a call and sit unobserved, watching,, listening and even recording what is being said without you knowing. StarLeaf endpoints and cloud-based servers all have a signed certificate burned into them which are mutually required to enable the connection. Which means all people on the call have been authenticated and no man-in-the-middle can access the connection.

You can also avoid hackers by taking away the default ‘automatic answer’ function in your video conferencing system. Auto-answer of incoming calls poses a real security risk, especially when simply answering an unknown call can be all it takes to permit hackers. Choosing a system like StarLeaf where auto answer isn’t possible, eliminates the risk of this being the default setting or someone setting it up without realising the security implications.

Does Video Conferencing Put You at Risk of Hacking?

Video Communication with ISO/IEC 27001

Because of their commitment to secure, video conferencing, StarLeaf have developed a product that has considered all challenges. Their systems are monitored 24/7 and all data is, in turn, backed up securely. All of its security features have earned it international security recognition with ISO/IEC 27001 certification. The rigourous standards demanded from the certification place StarLeaf at the forefront of global video communication security.

Does Video Conferencing Put You at Risk of Hacking?

Rebekah Allendevaux, senior partner at Allendevaux & Company, the ISO/IEC 27001 implementation firm, said, “StarLeaf has attained the most respected and internationally recognized information security and compliance standard. As a global organization entrusted with real-time conference media, presence, chat messages, recorded meetings and content sharing, the safeguards translate into customer trust and confidence.”

Encryption for Media & Signalling

Video conferencing systems use the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to encrypt media which prevents unauthorized persons from hearing or seeing your calls. But most of them do not provide encryption on signalling as well. This makes it possible for hackers to access the conference ID and PIN numbers which will then allow them to access meetings that take place on the bridge/ MCU. We like the StarLeaf system because it encrypts both media AND signalling giving you piece of mind that your call is secure.

Does Video Conferencing Put You at Risk of Hacking?

Test Test and Test Again

The best way to ensure your security isn’t compromised is to take the view of a hacker and try to find the weaknesses. We are able to reassure our customers that StarLeaf undertake regular penetration testing from expert third parties. The latest of which found no major or critical issues and the non-priority issues were taken care of. They also have an active bug bounty programme which challenges freelance security researchers to continually test their security. And so far so good!So for secure video conferencing that does not put your business at risk of hacking, StarLeaf is the answer you are looking for. To see how simple to use the StarLeaf system is, contact us for a free trial… or if you want to see it in action, take a look at this video…

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Image credits: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Meet Better. Touch Screen Video Conferencing

touch 2045

Video conferencing is a great way to connect people. Seeing people face-to-face, without travelling to meetings, saves time and money. And you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the conversation. But for it to really work, video conferencing needs to be slick and effortless. It needs to be hassle-free, complexity-free and fiddle-free.

The new StarLeaf Touch 2045 is the latest video conferencing touch screen controller from StarLeaf’s range of video conferencing solutions.

This ultra-responsive touch screen video conferencing solution provides an easy-to-use, walk up and meet controller, which is also rich in added features.

With the StarLeaf Touch 2045, users can expect effortless call management and screen sharing, with the same reliable, secure, video experience that they have come to expect from StarLeaf.

StarLeaf Touch 2045, touch screen video conferencing features include:

High-end design and engineering
  • Large 10″ angled, backlit screen
  • Ergonomic and elegant design
Intuitive user experience
  • See upcoming meetings and join instantly
  • Advanced in-call controls
  • Re-imagined user interface
Meet Better. Touch Screen Video Conferencing
Coming soon
  • StarLeaf Sense proximity technology – wirelessly detect StarLeaf users smartphones to join meetings in an INSTANT. Meetings are automatically synchronised from smartphone to room system.

Meet Better. Meet StarLeaf

If you are already a StarLeaf customer, did you know you can now UPGRADE to a Touch 2045 with 50% off? Click through to find out more…

Meet Better. Touch Screen Video Conferencing

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