Carousel Responds to COVID-19
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Conventional wisdom says that people need technology. They need it to communicate, to be productive, and to be efficient. But in truth, the relationship goes both ways and technology needs people. A technology may be great at its core, but if people don’t use it then it will wither. Its full value will never be realized.

Take videoconferencing as an example. Though it’s available in many companies and on many platforms – and despite the tantalizing promise of lower travel costs and increased productivity – videoconferencing solutions haven’t always seen a good level of adoption. People need the technology, so what’s the problem? It’s a lack of usability.

Who hasn’t gone into a conference room and waited around while the meeting coordinator struggled to start the call? You chat, you check your phone, you finish the coffee that’s supposed to keep you awake for the next hour. Finally, you wonder why something so seemingly simple continues to be so challenging. You aren’t alone. In fact, 63% of respondents in a Sapio Research collaboration survey report waiting more than five minutes to get web conferencing tools set up.

We’ve seen businesses similarly frustrated by videoconferencing. As they examine the ROI for a system, they weigh several factors. Travel costs should drop because people can remain at their primary location. Performance and productivity should go up because communications are handled more efficiently. With a good use case in front of them, the enterprise buys off on the investment and they install the system. And then they wait.

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But while the technology may be there, the people often aren’t. Systems don’t always come together cleanly and it doesn’t take long for employees to figure out whether their new videoconferencing platform is easy to use or cumbersome. For those implementations that fall into the latter bucket, end user adoption will be low and the business—though they’ve spent the money—won’t get the value they expect. Sure, the technology works on the back end. The video is high-definition and the sound quality is good. But no one’s listening. No one’s looking.

As consumerization continues to make inroads in the enterprise space, people are becoming more accustomed to personal devices that can easily launch a video call or group chat. These consumer-oriented solutions, with their slimmed-down feature sets and device-optimized interfaces, just work. That’s what’s needed to bring people and enterprise-level videoconference technology together: Simplicity. Ease of use. Convenience. Practicality.

Microsoft and Cisco recognized the gaps that exist in the videoconferencing marketplace and recently announced a collaboration that will greatly improve the experience for business users. They’ve come together as part of a powerful customer UC&C solution, where the touch of a button launches Microsoft Teams and Webex, leveraging the usability and simplicity of both companies’ technology capabilities.

The partnership between Microsoft and Cisco makes even more sense when we look across the enterprise landscape and realize that many companies, particularly large firms, have a mix of providers within their UC&C platforms. Integration is increasingly the norm and making something as core as videoconferencing operate effectively in a multi-vendor environment is a smart business practice. It’s something the team at Carousel focuses on in our mission to deliver exceptional value and results. We see the partnership between Cisco and Microsoft as a big step forward in supporting our customers’ collaboration goals.

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Ultimately, videoconferencing is about saving time and money. The business benefits, of course, because they aren’t footing the bill for unnecessary travel or dealing with workers who are offsite and unavailable for some of their normal duties. Employees benefit, too. They don’t have to spend time away – not just from their jobs, but more importantly from their families. Their productivity goes up. Their job satisfaction goes up.

Other features are also expected to roll out with the Microsoft and Cisco integration, including perks like visual identification of conference participants’ names and titles, plus the availability of transcription for key calls. The joint efforts of Microsoft and Cisco have the potential to transform the adoption rates of videoconferencing, finally giving users the ability to push a button and launch a fully functional videoconference.