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Slack and Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Oh My! Navigating the World of Video Conferencing and Other Communication Tools

Article posted on Nov 18, 2019

Adapting today’s workspaces with the needs of a shifting workforce ranks high on the minds of executive leaders. With more organizations allowing employees to work remote (and even some organizations made up entirely of remote workers), audiovisual (AV) design within an office — and outside of it — requires the foresight to meet the needs of today with what these organizations may need into the future.

While one of the most popular tools used in this adapting workspace is video conferencing technology, many organizations have also adopted different ways to communicate effectively — both internally and externally — such as chat groups like Slack. However, many companies see video conferencing as a way to connect with employees in a meaningful way, making discussions more personal and increasing engagement.

While there are dozens of manufacturers and products to build out the perfect communication platform, not every system is right for every organization. Matt Boyer, Chief Technology Officer, provides four questions to consider when choosing the ideal communication tools and platforms:

How will the technology be used?
As mentioned, there are many options for individual products, but I challenge people to think about the end goal first. The perfect communications solution needs to start with the end-goal in mind. Ask the questions: Does this need to be a highly reliable, high-quality and integrated solution? This would be ideal for companies utilizing the technology to work with outside clients. Or maybe the company has a remote workforce that just needs the basic web-based video conferencing for staff calls. These two scenarios need very different solutions, as well as two very different budgets. There is no right or wrong solution, just a range of solutions that can be adjusted to fit your organization’s needs and budget.

What kind of space will the technology be used in?
Huddle rooms are one of the hottest trends in smart office design, but choosing the correct technology to fit the flexible space is very different than a permanent solution in a conference room. If you have a need for rooms dedicated to collaboration and conferencing, there are considerations to take into account before you finalize the design of the room. Furniture, lighting, room finishes, infrastructure and even wall construction play a role in building a space that will work effectively for conferencing.

Do you have preexisting technology that needs to be integrated?
Some offices have pieces of communications systems that work well for their team, and would like for it to be integrated into new technology. For example, do you use Microsoft Teams and do room-based video systems need to function with Teams or is Teams just for presence, chat and file sharing? There are definitely use cases where running a different video conferencing platform from Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business makes sense especially for critical applications. Successfully integrating technology from different manufacturers can be complicated and glitchy if not properly designed and executed.

Who are you communicating with?
One of the biggest considerations that must be made is with regards to whether you’re communicating internally or externally. If your main use of the platform is communication between employees, then choosing technology is much less complicated, especially compared to a platform that needs to operate seamlessly between companies (and their IT departments).

Going back to the last example, to use Microsoft Teams with outside entities, your IT department may need to federate or allow the connection between the two companies. Communication can break down if federation is not allowed. It may make more sense to use a different video platform for communication with outside entities. Also, your clients/partners may use a different platform and you may need to adapt to their needs. You may need some rooms to have multi-platform capability.

Not only can Vistacom’s team of experts help you select the ideal collaboration tools for your organization, but they also offer live hands-on demonstrations in The Vistacom Experience Center for a number of the top videoconferencing tools available today including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Skype for Business, Star Leaf, and more. Click here to schedule a consultation and demo with a Vistacom team member.


Slack and Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Oh My!