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Instant Telepresence for Everyday Business: Data Sharing and Collaborating (Part 2 of 5)


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October 28, 2009

Instant Telepresence for Everyday Business: Data Sharing and Collaborating (Part 2 of 5)

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

Editor’s Note: Telepresence (News - Alert) and video conferencing solutions are increasingly becoming an important communications technology tool for companies looking to save money. Beyond cost savings, the technology is also being tapped for efficiency to help businesses boost their collaboration and accomplish everyday tasks instantly by sharing documents in real time.

In the second installment of its five-part series highlighting the industry segment, TMCnet looks at the various ways companies are deploying communication technology with BrightCom, a provider of integrated telepresence and video conferencing solutions. Last week, TMCnet explored BrightCom’s in-conference room collaborative experience. This week, we detail how the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company helps businesses, including a manufacturer of high-end, custom built furniture for the hospitality industry and a staffing company, use telepresence and video conferencing solutions to share business data.
Businesses today are constantly searching for cost-saving options to keep their operations functioning and running more efficiently. Telepresence solutions are playing more of a role in those decisions.
Organizations can use telepresence and video conferencing to connect visually and audibly for instant and effective communication. With the BrightCom Visual Collaboration System, or VCS, organizations can integrate data or Web conferencing features with telepresence.
But beyond that, companies can go even further by collaborating on larger amounts of data on a more routine basis. With data sharing, organizations can create instant work sessions and broadcast documents, spreadsheets, CAD diagrams, high resolution images and video clips, saving users time to send documents by e-mail or mail and the high cost of traveling from one location to another.
Data sharing with BrightCom VCS, pictured below, gives users the ability to load an image or document while streaming other materials in the background. Essentially, users can have multiple pieces of data on a screen during a video presentation and have the ability to add more content when needed in real-time. Meeting participants can also mark up the data in real-time and save those changes to their files, as well as share whiteboards to brainstorm ideas online.
BrightCom VCS’ drag and drop features let users easily pull files from their computer into the meeting environment. In addition, the technology offers multi-screen management. The person with control of floor can place each piece of data in a variety of user configured screen layouts. Specifically, BrightCom’s Lumina Telepresence offers multi-screen management, so the layout of data and video on screen is automatically adjusted, or can be placed by the user’s preference. The screens are automatically adjusted for participants’ view, regardless of the number of screens, BrightCom said.
Broadcasting and sharing data in its native format also helps users save on bandwidth, company officials said. Unlike competitive offers, BrightCom VCS offers meeting scheduling, Firewall/NAT traversal, audio, video and data conferencing in a single network appliance.
One customer, Vaughan Benz, a manufacturer of high-end, custom made wood and upholstered furniture for the hospitality industry, implemented BrightCom’s ClearView Telepresence system to enhance communications and strengthen its corporate culture between the company’s North American and Asia Pacific manufacturing factories. The system lets Vaughan Benz broadcast high resolution video, and audio between its two locations and collaborate through interactive data sharing of spreadsheets, CAD drawings and other meeting materials.
BrightCom’s ClearView Telepresence offers an immersive experience of an in-person meeting, giving participants the feel as if they were sitting in the same room. Vaughan Benz uses the technology’s markup, remote control screen sharing and multi-user whiteboards to communicate both visually and audibly with Chinese partners. The system helps the firm save time and money e-mailing large files, printing and mailing paperwork and traveling.
Internally, the company also uses the Web-based meeting infrastructure to invite customers to participate in their planning meetings. What’s more, the sales and design teams can collaborate with customers on prototypes, diagrams and implementation plans, BrightCom said.
Another client, California-based Kimco Staffing Services deployed BrightCom VCS to offer monthly training courses to its employees. Training is an important part of the company, which places individuals in a variety of fields. Yet, Kimco’s offices are spread out between San Francisco to San Diego, making the required meetings challenging and expensive to attend.
So, Kimco officials explored other options, including hostedand non-hosted Web conference solutions. They found their match with BrightCom. Using BrightCom VCS, Kimco powers
PowerPoint broadcasts and screen sharing during the training sessions. The VCS eliminates deployment time and offers richer features and lower costs than hosted solutions, BrightCom officials said. Kimco can control the number of participants that access the server.
 Since Kimco launched BrightCom VCS, the company has reduced the need for employees to travel to attend meetings. The VCS made Kimco’s trainers and employees more efficient, which has helped the company save money, boost productivity and collaborate between the office branches, officials said.
BrightCom VCS has a number of other uses. The technology is also useful in the manufacturing industry for product design, in human resources for employee interviews, in customer service for customer support and maintenance, in general business as internal support and in the government or legal arena for court cases, company officials said.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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