Ten years ago, high-quality video conferencing required complex and expensive specialized systems. In companies, video conferencing rooms appeared, the cost of which was comparable to a small server room, and a specially trained engineer was required to maintain them. Now a laptop is enough to organize a video chat, and modern monoblocks and mini-computers can organize conferences with one click. What are the reasons for such changes?

Modern communications for modern employees

According to statistics, at the moment already 34% of the staff of companies are children of the 2000s – millennials. These are people who grew up in a situation where information technology in all its diversity has become a familiar and integral part of life. This fundamentally changes the attitude of employees to the business as a whole, to their role in the business and to what functions and how IT should perform in it.

For example, 52% of employees belonging to this generation believe that design is important because they see technology not only as a tool for work, but also as a way of self-expression. Another sign of a “millennial” is the reluctance to work from the office and the ability to work from anywhere at the same time. That is why more than 40% of working time today is spent on communication.

Using legacy technology at the beginning of a conference takes about 12 minutes to set up, and 48% of company employees say that conferencing should be more convenient.

Hours of work are blurring as work is increasingly done remotely. According to surveys, many employees already spend about 700 hours a year on conference calls and meetings – and according to various estimates, this time will double over the next 5 years. Essentially, the purpose of video conferencing in this situation is to recreate the team being in the same place at least virtually and to ensure that communication between employees is as seamless as if they were in the office face to face.

What is required for communication?

According to statistics, in meetings and teamwork, up to 60% of face-to-face and 47% of remote conference calls are conducted through laptops. But other types of personal computers are still in demand and are used quite often. Let’s consider three main scenarios for video conferencing.

1. Workplace communications

Secrets of PC 2.0: where online communications hideThe first scenario is operational negotiations at the workplace, where an employee uses a laptop or desktop with a video camera. When organizing video communication in this case, the emphasis is on maximum speed and ease of connection.

Secrets of PC 2.0: where online communications hideLet’s talk about some of the solutions currently being used on the example of HP business equipment. One of them is the HP Premium Collaboration Keyboard, which can be used with any type of personal computer. Some high-end laptops also use a similar built-in keyboard. It is equipped with special backlit keys for managing audio conferences: start / end a call, select the image display method, share the screen, turn off the microphone, open the calendar, etc. The “one-button call” approach itself is becoming more and more standard for modern companies.

In the workplace, it is very important to combine all communication channels: phone, email, various instant messengers. For this, for example, the HP PhoneWise mobile application is suitable. It allows you to receive and send text messages, make voice calls from an employee’s PC or laptop. All you need to do is connect your iOS or Android mobile device to them via Bluetooth.

Another important point when conducting video conferencing in the workplace is the presence of a web-camera. If a video camera built into a laptop is a familiar option, then monitors and all-in-ones with integrated communications are still new.

Secrets of PC 2.0: where online communications hideHP has developed an interesting option for placing the camera – on a panel that extends from the bowels of the monitor. The popup panel allows you to install both front and rear cameras – as a result, you can show not only yourself, but also what is located behind the monitor. When video communication is not needed, the panel can be hidden in the monoblock body with one touch.

2. Meetings on the road

The second scenario for video conferencing is mobile communication in meetings, when a laptop is used simultaneously by several gathered employees. In such a situation, the need for clear sound and good noise reduction comes to the fore.

Modern computers take into account all the main difficulties that employees face during such Skype conferences. For example, poor sound quality and background noise. Previously, you had to look for a quiet corner, shout into the microphone and ask everyone around you not to even breathe. Now solutions for such conferences use audio systems and software of the new generation.

For example, HP business notebooks feature Bang & Olufsen high-quality audio, HP Audio Boost and HP Noise Cancellation solutions. HP Audio Boost is able to increase the volume and sound quality, while maintaining the natural timbre of the interlocutor’s voice. The HP Noise Cancellation system is able to cut off various background noises: the rumble of a car or plane, the crying of children or the screams of colleagues. It can be configured both for one interlocutor and for the entire working group.

3. Videoconferencing conference rooms

The third scenario is classic meetings in conference rooms with special stationary equipment. The demand for them is still high. Maximum communication reliability and ease of connection are valued here.

The modern collaboration optimization functionality for contact centers is especially relevant: everything is required here: the virtual absence of wires in the work area, and the ease of communication and high sound quality during video conferencing.

Intel Unite meeting room hardware ensures efficient and secure collaboration. This solution provides convenient wireless content transfer to indoor displays and other devices connected to the corporate network, and thus speeds up the start of meetings. The solution can be customized for specific rooms and technologies with secure guest access and built-in management tools.

The trend towards deep integration of communication capabilities into business computers will only grow. And companies using outdated communications and video conferencing equipment risk losing out on both millennial employees and business communications efficiency.

Skype starts and wins

In the premium business line of HP computers, the place of the main messenger for videoconferencing communications is given to Skype for Business. It is currently the most affordable and complete solution for laptops and PCs using Windows 10 as their operating system.

According to IDC, the market share of Skype for Business in the first quarter of 2017 was 36.8%, and the messenger itself is the most popular collaboration tool. Analysts predict that by 2021 the market for corporate tools for employee interaction will reach $22 billion. The growth rate of this sector is 10-12% annually.

HP Elite Slice: mini PC as a communication center

Secrets of PC 2.0: where online communications hideThere is one model in HP’s line of premium business computers that seems to be specially designed for video conferencing, although it performs all other PC functions with a bang. This is an HP Elite Slice PC with rounded shapes and a modular structure. The unusual form factor does not at all oblige it to be less powerful than traditional counterparts. The Mini PC can be configured as a communication hub, media player or wireless charging station.

Working as a communications center, Elite Slice allows start a video conference with one click. The buttons for initiating a call, volume control and microphone are placed on the top panel of the case. A special acoustic module is responsible for high-quality sound. It features HP Audio Boost and HP Noise Cancellation, two long-range array microphones (5 m) and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.

As a result, communication takes place almost like in reality: “we agreed to meet at the appointed time – and met.” Everyone walks into an HP Elite Slice-equipped meeting room, presses a button with a handset icon on the top panel of the mini-PC, and the process starts. Previously, this could only be dreamed of.

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