Where and when to use Skype for Business is the new question that needs to be considered by businesses.
So companies continue to have fit for purpose meetings that won’t kill off the prevalent culture of using video within meetings, and therefore suffocate your investment.
Since its rebranded launch last year, Microsoft’s Skype for Business has undoubtedly become one of the major talking points for all companies, whether already using video in meetings or not. This is great, as more and more companies are being able to deploy video conferencing options for all employees and then reaping the benefits of increased efficiency and productivity.
There are many benefits to using Skype for Business, such as the fact that a high number of people will have used Skype in the past (over 300 million users) and so instantly know how to use it. It seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Outlook, again bringing a familiar workflow to the majority of employees. It is also (in the scale of things) easy to set up and deploy, and requires little maintenance.
All great so far, but here is the issue.
We are seeing an increasing trend of companies that are starting to use Skype for Business in their board and meeting rooms, using traditional large screens and video conferencing setup.
This leads to a quality issue. Let me explain.
Firstly. Skype and Skype for business look OK on a desktop or tablet. I don’t think anyone will shoot me down for saying that even here the picture quality is not the best. Let’s face it. Most people now are used to seeing things in HD, if not 4K. Imagery below this level is seen as sub-standard. Skype for Business fits into the bearable category.
Now take that picture quality and expand it from a 12–22 inch screen to a 50-60 inch screen. It’s very much the same as taking a raster file and zooming in.
The word is PIXELATED.
Then take the audio from a laptop and try using it in a meeting room with ten people instead of one trying to hear what is being said. Not a great idea.
Skype for Business has been designed as a peer to peer service, not a group service as a video conferencing room will have been created for.
In this situation the quality will without doubt be detrimental to the use of the service, and over a period of time employees will stop using video conferencing in the meeting rooms and then all together. Over dramatic? Not from the companies we have spoken to.
Companies that have gone down this route seem have ended back at square one. Knowing the benefits that video conferencing provides, but having to rebuild the company culture and prevalence of the technology back up from scratch.
Hopefully though, you are reading this before getting to that point, and we can help you to not make the same mistake.
How to avoid this problem.
The solution is to use a traditional conferencing service for the meeting rooms that allows employees working on the various devices and platforms to link together without effecting experience or workflow. There are a number of platforms that can connect Skype for Business with room systems, however nearly all of them will change the way Skype for Business appears for the user. Videocall’s ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience) does not and you can find out more about it by reading our ICE eBook. The Skype for Business user will have the same experience and even have shared content loaded up so it can be read and discussed.
Now you have users that can connect easily and collaborate in a manner that should be enjoyable rather than frustrating. Where productivity and efficiency can be gained rather than lost; and where a culture can be developed.
So as you start your implementation of Skype for Business in your workplace, remember to think where you are deploying it, and how it will be used.Please feel free to contact us should you require any help, or feel free to read one of our whitepapers on Skype for Business.