The business world has focused a great deal of time and effort recently on hybrid workplace culture. Ensuring the best possible communications services, including videoconferencing (VC) and unified communications (UC), is vital for reaping the rewards that the hybrid workplace promises. This article examines the hybrid office approach and some of the most significant VC and UC tools to maximize its benefits.
The hybrid office
Earlier in the year, we discussed the hybrid office and its culture in detail in a two-part series of articles: The Hybrid Office part 1 - Leveraging the portable landline and The Hybrid Office, part 2 – Multiple approaches. Hybrid work involves a blend of working remotely (usually from home) and at a conventional office. The worker’s time is usually split between these two physical locations based on a combination of a company-defined schedule, the timing of specific activities and personal preference.
The current trend seems to indicate that the remote component of hybrid work will increase so that, on any given day, fewer workers will be in the office while many more operate remotely. Indeed, it's predicted that 60% of offices will soon have moved to an “office plus anywhere” hybrid environment.
Videoconferencing solutions for remote users
VC and UC are two of the fundamental enablers of the hybrid office. One of the major challenges is ensuring that each employee’s remote VC and UC setup, typically at home, has sufficient quality and features to enable effective remote communication.
The following sections highlight some of the best solutions to help hybrid workers get the most out of the remote portion of their work.
How clearly others see you plays a huge role in how effectively you collaborate with them. A quality camera ensures that the distance between you and other people will not hinder the effectiveness of your communication. The following are some innovative cameras that offer an exceptional quality/price ratio.
- Boom Collaboration cameras: These include the Boom MINI, the Boom MEZZO, and the Boom MAGNA. These cameras deliver the full spectrum of features available, from the entry-level webcam-style MINI offering 1080p video at 30 fps to the true-PTZ and optical-zoom-capable MAGNA for the most demanding remote workers, with ultra-HD 4K video at 60 fps.
- Konftel Cam 10: This is a high-end, single-user webcam delivering full-HD video. The Cam10 is designed for desktop users who require high-quality audio and video communications.
- Yealink’s UVC20 and UVC30 webcams: These cameras are considered part of Yealink’s BYOD solutions. The UVC20 webcam is an entry-level 5-megapixel 1080p webcam delivering what most single users need. The UVC30 desktop edition is ideal for those requiring 4K resolution.
- Grandstream GUV3100 HD webcam: This is a USB-connected full-HD webcam filming at 30 fps. Unlike the other cameras on this list, the GUV3100 has two built-in microphones.
It is obviously quite difficult to communicate if one cannot hear you clearly. To avoid this, you should use high-quality devices to ensure that you and the other party can hear one another. Here are our top picks:
- Grandstream’s GUV3050 Bluetooth headset: This headset helps keep out unwanted sound in a noisy environment, letting you hear properly while ensuring that only your voice is captured and sent to your remote collaborator.
- Konftel’s 800 SIP conference phone: This conference phone delivers both high-quality sound reproduction and high-quality microphones, letting you converse with your colleagues and partners almost as if you were in the same space.
- Boom Collaboration Audio Devices: The Boom GIRO and Boom GIRO Pro both deliver speakerphone capabilities with USB or Bluetooth connectivity. The Pro version adds the convenience of wireless charging.
- Yealink’s WH series headsets: Yealink delivers a complete series of wired and wireless, mono and dual earpiece headsets to meet the needs of virtually any remote worker.
Having individual devices deliver specific features is great, but sometimes you want one device that does it all. The following are great solutions that deliver a wide range of capabilities so you can collaborate using a single kit:
- Konftel’s hybrid video collaboration kits: These kits offer multiple options, enabling hybrid workers to have various levels of quality in their remote communications. It’s possible to mix and match options to get the kit that matches your needs.
- Grandstream’s GVC3212 videoconferencing endpoint: For a high-end, all-in-one videoconferencing endpoint, the Grandstream GVC3212 is tough to beat. With a 720p HD camera, extensive field of view, cardioid dual microphones with a 3-meter pickup range, and a full-band 48 kHz voice sampling rate, it’s among the top all-in-one devices for home use.
- Boom Collaboration’s all-in-one offering: The Boom UNO is among the most convenient, user-friendly and easy-to-configure all-in-one video collaboration devices. This compact and elegant device has a full HD 1080p camera operating at 30 FPS with a 120° wide-angle field of view, offering unparalleled value for the money. It supports multiple codecs, including MJPEG and YUY2, and has a speaker that can reproduce HD audio and an omnidirectional microphone.
Interoperation with UC and VC systems
The various devices showcased in this article connect to a desktop or laptop via USB or Bluetooth in a plug-and-play fashion; they are immediately and automatically recognized by the operating system. Once recognized, they can be used by any videoconferencing or unified communication software or service on the computer, including popular platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
The hybrid workforce is here to stay. It has been proven time and again that it is a more efficient operating model for many businesses, resulting in happier employees and more satisfied employers. Leveraging innovative UC and VC solutions, such as those mentioned above, ensures and enhances the effectiveness of the hybrid office.
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