Ten years ago hardly anyone knew the term VoIP, today it is one of the key concepts in the debate on telecommunications solutions.
But skepticism is still high: Does it work reliably? How is the speech quality? The ”old” telephone has always been good enough!?
Deutsche Telekom’s decision to replace all ISDN lines with IP telephony (based on SIP trunking) by 2018 at the latest has made the new technology extremely popular. Let’s remember: In modern history there has not been a single invention that was enthusiastically received from the very beginning. People have always been skeptical, be it about the invention of railways, cars or genetic engineering. And there is every indication that it will also be critical of innovations such as the 3-D printer, iWatch and Google Glasses. This is probably due to the fact that the ”old” gives us a sense of security, while the ”new” fuels uncertainties and raises new questions. Why should things be different in the telecommunications industry, where the fastest changes are happening at the moment?
We should always bear this in mind when talking about new communication solutions: Things never change overnight and certainly not without a glitch. Inventors have repeatedly complained bitterly that humanity does not immediately appreciate the value of their great invention. We are in a normal state of development with VoIP – which by the way stands for ”Voice over Internet Protocol”: Experts are ahead of society by about 10 years. What does that mean?
If we follow this thesis, society will not accept the new communication technology – whether IP, UCC, VoIP or other – to be completely normal until 2025, since by then it will have become a part of everyday life. Then, however, the experts will again be involved with completely new developments. What do you think of this thesis? Is VoIP really becoming a brand or synonymous with telephony (and more)? Is it too optimistic or too pessimistic? Write to me: I look forward to hearing your opinion.
ISDN, IP… and then what?
April 2015 I can’t get rid of the spirits I invoked: It only seems to be a matter of time before mankind is overtaken by technological progress. Will science fiction soon become an everyday reality?
How will our children and grandchildren live? These are all pressing questions, and we await the answers with great anticipation. I recommend the latest edition of the ”Spiegel” magazine on the innovation hotbed ”Silicon Valley” to anyone who still doubts that we are in the fastest technological change process we have ever experienced. The telecommunications sector is particularly affected by this:
Whereas for decades we were used to people communicating with each other personally, making phone calls, e-mailing and chatting, machines will soon take over this work for us in many places – intelligent, networked, capable of learning, a thousand times faster and more efficient than us.
What we are discussing here in Germany as big questions – for example, whether and when IP/VoIP will completely replace the tried and tested ISDN – seems to be rather short sighted, in any case not worthy of Silicon Valley.
ISDN: Those who don’t keep up with the times will not make it.
The central question will rather be what role humans will still play in companies in the future, which decisions will be taken away from them, which production processes will get by without them – and whether, in a visionary view, they will have any other task at all, other than feeding in to exactly this vision and waiting until intelligent and smart machines do the work.
What is communication good for, then, and what is the use of communication between people we support with our sophisticated technical solutions today? I would be very interested in your opinion.
Virtual collaboration in plain language
September 2015 There are many terms for the same phenomenon: Virtual collaboration, web-based collaboration, distributed collaboration, online meeting, web meeting, video conferencing or totally nerdy: Unified Communications and Collaboration. Up to now, there has not been a single term for this phenomenon of digital transformation. This diversity of terms reflects the fact that this new and innovative technology has not yet reached the everyday life of companies. Many have heard about it, some have tried it before, but only a few have used it in everyday office life. However, there is an upward trend.
Virtual collaboration: Together at the table, just across the screen
All terms have one basic characteristic in common: You sit down together at a virtual table and work together on a project. To be precise: Everyone sits at their own table in their office, no matter where in the world, and they meet in a virtual space. There you can use functions that enable collaboration, just as if you were sitting at a table in the office with your colleague. You can analyze an Excel spreadsheet at the same time, or compose a letter in Word in which everyone can type a sentence in turn. Yes, in the same document! This is called document sharing. Or you can let your colleague from the Greifswald branch take a look at your screen in Biberach an der Riß and explain to him how to use the CRM. This is called desktop sharing or screen sharing. There are many other functions, and we have already reported on this in other articles, e.g. why IT decision-makers use video conferencing and the advantages of video conferencing. But the principle remains the same. You no longer have to be in the same room with your colleague or sit at the same physical table to work together, but can do this virtually, i.e. via the Internet. Of course, there are limits: Smell, taste, touch, in short: All sensory aspects of cooperation are excluded (for now). Whether this is an advantage or a disadvantage, is up to everyone to decide for themselves.
Virtual collaboration: What good is that going to do me?
A study by the University of Phoenix has found that virtual collaboration will be one of the 10 most important skills in the working world of 2020. The development that work will become increasingly decentralized, i.e. independent of location, means that one has to choose other forms of cooperation in order to ensure economic success.
Virtual collaboration: Personal challenges
On the one hand, virtual collaboration simplifies many aspects of collaboration. An example: Projects can be processed much more efficiently, because the travel time and associated costs are saved. A short meeting with the client from Hamburg is no longer a big effort, because you have to travel 4 hours and pay for a hotel stay. Rather, it offers the possibility of creating a positive customer experience, as you can also support the customer face to face in small situations.
On the other hand, virtual collaboration also demands a new set of skills: It places new demands on managers, because how do I motivate and control a team that I only meet on the screen? How do I pick up a mood in the team when everyone logs out after the meeting and is literally ”away from the (picture) screen”. How does a team bond if you don’t go to the canteen together every now and then?
I can reassure you: It works! There is also room for interpersonal things at the virtual desk. At the beginning it may seem a little unfamiliar, but already after a short time and with a bit of tact you get the hang of it. And maybe it’s not so bad if you don’t notice the perfume clouds of your colleague live. Why not give it a try and tell us about your experiences? I look forward to it.
Lync becomes Skype for Business
May 2015 Microsoft retires its business messenger Lync and launches Skype for Business. The result is an innovative all-in-one communication talent for companies.
Lync has never prevailed on the market in the form of the 8.5 billion dollar Messenger Skype acquired by Microsoft in 2011. Industry insiders have long been speculating that sooner or later Lync will be replaced by Skype. Microsoft officially launched the service in April 2015.
The good news first
Businesses that have been using Lync until now only need a software update to switch to Skype for Business. There is also a simple step-by-step guide. In a nutshell: Skype for Business combines the ease of use of Skype with the extensive functionality of Lync, for example in terms of security, usability and administration. Because Skype for Business fully integrates the existing Lync functionality, no features or functionality are lost. Even the complete contact list is automatically taken from Lync.
Skype for Business has a new look
The surface of the client has changed somewhat and presents itself in a new, trendy outfit. At first glance, it looks striking: The buttons are slightly rounder and the user interface a little bluer than before. The new design is inspired by Skype in a friendly way: Users benefit from the familiar user interface and ease of use. An example: With Lync, it took three clicks to call someone – with Skype just one is enough. And last but not least, thanks to its global reach, you benefit from voice and video connectivity across Skype’s entire network.
In the next few posts, we’ll explain some of the features of Skype for Business in more detail and show you how you can use Skype in your daily business to be even more productive. Stay tuned!
One more thing:
By the way: If you are looking for a video conferencing solution for your business that meets all the functional requirements for successful virtual collaboration and communication, take a look at our Skype for Business offering.