Gearing up for remote working with Logitech

Remote conference

Employees must have standardised tools to maintain the quality of their work

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29 October 2020 | 0

In association with Videnda

Logitech… it is a name, you no doubt recognise, famous for those ‘mice and keyboards’ right? But wait, look a little deeper and over the last few years, Logitech has been building our depth and breadth of portfolio, across all the business categories, none more so than the video collaboration group.

In the last couple of years, we have seen the emergence of the Logitech MeetUp, Rally, TAP touch controller and most recently Swytch, a solution that turns any single platform meeting room into a multi platform meeting environment, enabling you to run Teams/Zoom/Google, it is a truly BYOD solution and creates a very efficient and flexible meeting environment.

 

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2020 has been quite a year, the uncertainty facing people has not been seen before for a generation. Our working practices look set to be transformed forever. Remote working becomes the new normal and how as a remote workforce, we are enabled not just as individuals but how we stay connected as a larger community in our working world.

When large groups of employees suddenly started working remotely in early 2020, IT faced the prospect of providing tech support to thousands of employees whose technology and equipment they could not directly see or handle. To complicate matters, this technology and equipment was often purchased or acquired by employees without IT oversight or knowledge.

It’s understandable, of course. When the pandemic struck and people began working 100% remotely, they got by however they could, using whatever technology was available to them. That often meant participating in meetings with the headset or webcam they had on hand – whether optimized for business or not. The Irish Examiner says that “new research by Eurofound shows 47% of work has been done remotely in Ireland since the start of the pandemic, a figure only exceeded by Belgium. It was followed by Italy at 47%, Spain at 45% and France 43%. In Croatia, just 19% of work was conducted from home during the early stages of the pandemic. In total 22% of respondents working from home reported difficulty concentrating on work because of family obligations, compared to 8% of those working in other locations.”

The Irish government is stepping up as well, under the Town & Village Renewal Scheme, there will be a €5 million investment in facilities for digital hubs and broadband connection points across rural Ireland, aimed at enhancing remote working capability and remote access for students. 

The budget included an additional €80 million to the Dept of Education to support the school building programme, ICT and minor works schemes. INTO sought additional ICT funding to support the remote learning guidance notes issued recently. Additional capital  funding will also support the delivery of 145 new schools. 

As the pandemic continues, the tech industry is leading the way in progressive work-from-home policies, and it’s set to drastically disrupt the way software developers work. And with companies such as Google and Facebook leading the way for flexible working, all signs point to a more flexible working world for developers. Going forward, the onus will now fall on employers to increasingly offer more options to work remotely, allowing for moves to cheaper cities or to only commute into the office 2-3 days a week.

What remote employees really want (and need) is an environment that closely resembles the office experience. One way IT can help employees (and the IT organization itself) is to provide a set of “work from home” tools that includes a purpose-built headset and webcam in addition to the standard mouse/keyboard/monitor combination.

Why it’s important to provide employees with purpose-built headsets and webcams

In some ways, 2020 has been a grand experiment in working from home – what works, and what doesn’t. We all know a lot more on that subject than we did at the start of 2020.

Many employees realised, for example, what IT already knows: consumer-grade audio and video equipment is not ideal for business. While great for many applications, such as gaming or music, consumer headsets and webcams are not optimised for video meetings:

  • Consumer devices often lack noise-cancelling technology to help both the speaker and listener focus on what’s being said
  • Consumer devices are not certified or optimized to work with video conferencing software from vendors such as Google, Microsoft, and Zoom
  • Consumer devices don’t include features employees want, like voice-level adjustment and high-res video that help users look and sound their best

These same limitations apply to the embedded audio and video in laptops. And laptops have another disadvantage as well: their cameras, mics, and speakers are useless when the screen is closed, as it often is when the laptop is attached to a remote keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

By contrast, consider the benefits of business-grade headsets and webcams. 

Webcams designed for the enterprise typically have:

  • Better resolution, frames per second, field of view, lens quality, enabling people to look their best
  • Correct and adjustable positioning, especially compared to laptop cameras
  • Automatic adjustment for lighting conditions, very important in home offices where lighting is seldom ideal
  • Integrations with video software providers to support problem-free meetings
  • Privacy shutter for user reassurance when the camera is not in use

Headsets designed for the enterprise usually have:

  • Noise-cancelling to eliminate background sounds and distractions
  • Digital signal processing to make your voice sound natural
  • Certifications with major video software platforms and built-in functionality such as a mute button
  • Materials that provide comfort for longer periods of time, like extra-thick foam and soft ear pad covers

How providing employees with a standard set of productivity tools benefits IT

It’s clear that a set of personal collaboration tools like headsets and webcams can help employees create a more efficient workspace outside the office. But there are several advantages for IT as well, including:

  • Reducing calls for support by providing plug-and-play devices that are easy for employees to install and set up
  • Simplifying support when problems do occur by allowing IT personnel to quickly identify the issue or replace a malfunctioning component
  • Enabling more efficient procurement from an approved list of vendors
  • Long-lasting battery for all-day use

This is great for people now working from home but what about the wider community as I mentioned earlier.

CIOs believe that video conferencing leads to six-fold improvement in product innovation, decision-making, and customer experience. But which video conferencing tools are best suited to your organization’s needs? 

Five key questions to consider

1. Is the solution easy to use? 

Ease of use is a top consideration when organizations purchase video conferencing solutions . If technology is difficult to use or figure out, people will avoid it whenever possible . On the other hand, you increase adoption by providing solutions that allow users to start meetings anywhere with minimal steps and integrate with familiar video software applications . 

2. Does the solution deliver a consistent experience? 

Providing a consistent video conferencing experience in every room ensures that anyone in the company can enter any space and quickly start or join a video meeting. Replicating that experience for personal workstations and remote workers encourages collaboration as employees move between personal and shared meeting spaces. 

3. Is the solution easy to deploy and maintain? 

In addition to being simple to use for meeting participants, your video conferencing solution should also be easy for IT to install and maintain. This requirement is especially important when you need to deploy technology across numerous offices and locations, quickly and with minimal effort.

4. Is the solution flexible?

Choice is a highly desirable quality these days. Ideally your video conferencing hardware should work fluidly with the common software applications, like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom Rooms. For greater flexibility, it should offer integration options with multiple compute partners so you can continue to use your preferred PC vendor.

5. Is the solution scalable?

Given the importance of a consistent experience, a video conference solution must be easily scalable so it can be deployed to dozens, hundreds, or, for global organizations, perhaps thousands of rooms. It must be available and supported everywhere. It should be priced for wide deployment. And, to simplify IT effort and time, the solution should include the ability to manage it remotely.

Logitech has your back

A trusted brand for video collaboration products, headsets, webcams, and other peripherals, Logitech provides room and personal collaboration tools that are easy to use, flexible, and seamless in a business or home environment. 

Every day, millions of business users rely on Logitech headsets, webcams, keyboards, and mice to work more efficiently. Our suite of personal collaboration tools reduce helpdesk calls and trouble tickets by simply working as intended. They offer the plug-and-play performance that users love and the lower total cost of ownership that IT leaders appreciate.

If you need to learn more about the Logitech VideoCollaboration Solutions, visit the Videnda website here.



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