Video and Telemedicine

For businesses, bringing people together face-to-face leads to advantages like improved communication, better, faster decision making and more effective team work.

In the case of telemedicine, high-quality video conferencing can save lives. Telemedicine can mean many different things, but often it involves connecting patients in small, remote clinics to specialists in large urban health care centers.

Telemedicine makes it possible for patients who need acute, chronic or emergency care to meet face-to-face with highly-trained specialists without the expense, inconvenience and delay associated with travel. Local providers perform assessments and provide care under the guidance of the specialists.

For patients, this means improved access to high-quality care. For local clinics, it means the ability to serve more patients locally and for specialists, it means being able to efficiently deliver more care to more patients from a single, centralized location.

When Renown Health (Northern Nevada’s largest integrated healthcare network) decided to implement a comprehensive telemedicine program to serve rural residents, they evaluated solutions from a number of video conferencing vendors including Cisco (Tandberg) and Polycom. In the end, Renown selected Scopia video solutions from Avaya. The result is the highly successful R-TeleMed program, currently covering 25 specialties with more on the way.

Scopia video solutions offer a number of advantages over competing solutions. Scopia video is the only option that provides HD-quality in both the data and the personal-interaction channel. For a specialist, the ability to view a diagnostic image, for example, in HD is critically important. Scopia solutions also offer important advantages in terms of security, ease-of-use and interoperability with existing systems.

You can learn more about Avaya and Renown Health’s R-TeleMed program here.

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The Big 2012 Communications Predictions: How Are They Faring

As a global leader inbusiness communications systems, Avaya takes its position seriously. That’s why at the beginning of the year, it gets its best thinkers together to make predictions about communications technology trends, service innovations and broad market drivers.

Now that we’re into 2013, Avaya decided to take stock and see which predictions have been on target and which have missed the mark. You can see the full report at http://www.avaya.com/usa/resource/assets/whitepapers/12CommunicationTrendsfor2012Update.pdf

Here’s a synopsis:

#1: Mobility raises the expectation of availability. There is no question about the accuracy of this prediction—but it probably didn’t go far enough. Mobility is no longer just about availability. In its mid-year update, Avaya notes that employees now expect the same features and functionality in mobile devices as they have in their office.

#2: Contact centers test the value of voice. This is true, but it’s turning out to be a bit more complicated. In its update, Avaya points out that in today’s customer service world, it’s not about pitting one mode (voice, e-mail, text, etc.) against another, but “offering the right channel at the right time.” This requires proactively determining what kind of experience the user wants. “Once you identify the preferred channels, you can focus energy and resources on making them — and the customer experience — great.”

#3Contextual data spans the last mile of personal productivity.  Contextual data is information about the communications, not the communications itself.  Having contextual data easily accessible, for example, lets you retrieve a dial-in number and passcode after being dropped from a conference call. Or lets you instantly see a list of participants with information about how you’ve interacted with them and the documents and other resources relevant to the interaction. Getting contextual data is happening, but perhaps not as fast as expected. “At this point, contextual capabilities remain in their infancy,” Avaya notes, “with promising prototypes surfacing in the marketplace.”

#4: Businesses advance from social media to social business. Despite Facebook’s troubled stock market debut, social media is still hot. In the update, Avaya points out that companies increasingly use social media not only as a listening post but as a springboard to action. Establishing a command center for monitoring and responding to social media is becoming commonplace.

#5: Social media and customer care enter into an arranged marriage. Not only that, but the marriage seems happy all around. Avaya notes that as organizations get their arms around social media/customer care alignment, it helps them put real legs on their social media strategy.

#6: The SIP bar is raised again. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the foundation for streamlining enterprise networks and extending advanced communications to small and medium-size businesses. As more SIP-enabled applications become available, Avaya sees more organizations abandoning a cautious, stepwise approach to deploying SIP.

#7: Social interactions expose customer care’s flaws. There is no hiding in the world of social media.  Avaya notes that companies are getting used to its rough and tumble dynamics and responding by creating a culture of openness that encourages employees to engage.

#8: IT support staffs converge, part 2. This prediction will never be NOT true. But Avaya notes that while the movement to bring voice and data staffs together continues unabated, challenges keep arising (e.g., how to deploy unified communications.) Facing these challenges, IT continues to proceed cautiously “perhaps too much so in the eyes of some users,” notes Avaya.

#9: Continuous connectivity drives communications support services. Raw connectivity is critical to support services, allowing vendor support teams to “swarm” a customer problem using real-time by video and other tools.  In its mid-year update, Avaya notes that some companies are also migrating to other approaches, such as managed services, total outsourcing or software as a service (SaaS).

#10: Clients take control of managed services. IT departments are becoming more discriminating in the managed services they purchase and asking tougher questions, such as “Are our IT operating costs predictable? Do we have the IT staff we need? Do we have the budget to invest in the infrastructure to meet organization expectations?”  Answering “no” to any of these questions can make a company a prime candidate for managed services.

#11: UC managed services/outsourcing facilitates alignment between IT and business units.  Yes IT and business units keep cozying up. More and more, they are conducting unbiased analyses to determine whether creating a solution internally or turning to a service provider offers better value.

#12: “True” UC apps proliferate. Expectations for UC continue to grow, especially as BYOD enables true UC applications on smartphones, tablets and other devices. But barriers remain, as conflicting technologies and approaches limit usability and adoption. At midyear, Avaya is counseling companies to “discount the hype and do the homework.”

Strategic technology to deliver optimal customer service

Today’s customer requires instantaneous resolutions on the communications channel they prefer, but most businesses aren’t able to fully meet these demands.

Forrester examines the technology updates needed to empower agents and managers to deliver quality customer experiences, every time, regardless of the channel.

To learn the four key solutions that efficient and empowered agents need, download Forrester’s The Strategic Role of Customer Experience Technologies.

Case study: Launching 4,000 video conferencing accounts in 5 weeks

Today’s slate of personal video conferencing systems –when deployed to a critical mass of employees – have overcome the limitations andbad reputation of the past and have significant benefits beyond travel savings:

  • Improved team building
  • Better integration of resources
  • Faster decision making 
  •  Richer interaction

 To demonstrate the capability of video in the modernworkplace, Avaya implemented the SCOPIA desktop to 4,000 users worldwide,including the management team and field sales and marketing teams.

 In the new white paper (sponsored by Avaya) “The Viabilityof Large-Scale Personal Video Conferencing Deployments,” Wainhouse Researchtook a look at the results after two months, analyzing the early conclusionsand benefits after more than 35,000 meetings with 85,000 attendees were held.

Among the conclusions:

    •  
    • “Click-to-connect” conferencingsolutions can enable sales to connect with customers and prospects with aricher, more productive interaction experience.

  • Product development and marketingteams reported that having everyone video-enabled made the teams more cohesiveand improved overall working relationships.
  • Global logistics and supply chainmanagement teams used video to reduce on-site supplier meetings and to makein-person increasingly more productive since relationships can be establishedbeforehand.

To read Wainhouse Research’s recommendations andlessons learned when implementing person video into the enterprise, downloadthe free white paper here: http://bit.ly/VAqloa  

How Avaya Stacks up Against Enterprise Video Competitors

Video is changing the workplace, and by most expert accounts, will enable more remote workers than ever and even replace phone conversations someday. Several major factors explain why the rollout has been slower than originally predicted, including worries about cost, lack of sufficient bandwidth and trouble scaling solutions to meet the needs of individual businesses.

In “Pervasive Video in the Enterprise,” Constellation Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Dr. E. Brent Kelly examines these pain points and compares the five major vendors in the space: Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Polycom and Vidyo. The report gives you a real-world formula to compare the total cost of ownership of implementing universal video.

According to the report, the main reason desktop video can be so expensive and not yet pervasive lies in the cost of a hardware multipoint infrastructure and the network required to support ubiquitous HD video. Avaya’s solutions, with a software-based multipoint infrastructure and industry-low bandwidth needs, are the clear future of pervasive video.

Kelly’s conclusions find Avaya Aura Conferencing to be the most affordable, even balancing for different bandwidth requirements and vendor discounts. Avaya’s Aura and Flare solutions can also claim:

 

  • ·       Lowest bandwidth requirement of all compared vendors (1280 kbps)
  • ·       Lower one-time costs than Cisco, Microsoft and Polycom
  • ·       Exponentially lower total cost of ownership than Cisco, even when a 60% Cisco street discount is applied to the formula
  • ·       Integrated call control and integrated audio and video conferencing for full third-party integration with all competitors
  • ·       A system specifically designed to handle audio conferencing and video on the same platform, making it quite flexible to effectively scale for either audio, video or mixed deployments

 

Click here to see the multiple cost breakdowns from Constellation’s formula, compare total cost of ownership, read a thorough explanation of each vendor’s offerings and learn about the advantages of adding pervasive video to your business.

Video Success Improved by Careful Planning

Target Key Business Processes to Maximize the ROI of Your Video Initiatives.

Simple is a powerful concept, in the right hands. Think of a pencil. A simple pencil in the hands of an artist can create breathtaking images that touch and inspire viewers. However, that same pencil in other hands might be lucky craft a credible stick figure.
In other words, success is more than choosing a great tool.

Simplicity does matter, of course—particularly when it comes to rolling out a video collaboration solution to a workforce that is not accustomed to connecting and communicating by video.

However, the real key to reaping the benefits of video collaboration is identifying the business processes you want to improve and then targeting the video solution to address those needs.

Lawrence Byrd, Director of Collaboration Solutions at Avaya recently sat down with industry Analyst Gary Audin, of Dephi Inc to discuss the current state of video collaboration technology, including several exciting new developments that are both simplifying and accelerating the introduction of video collaboration into the enterprise.

You can listen to the podcast here.

They also discussed the importance of identifying and targeting key business processes for improvement when selecting and deploying a video collaboration solution.

Where are the business bottlenecks? Could product development be accelerated with better collaboration solutions, including video? What about customer service. What would it mean to a business if service representatives could invite customers into a video conference to help solve tough issues? How about sales? Would bringing solutions experts into more sales meetings via video allow a company to close more deals, faster?

When companies are able to target specific business processes for improvement through video collaboration, they are able to make smarter decisions about product, implementation, rollout and support—and more importantly, achieve a faster, measurable ROI.

Simplifying Video Collaboration for Everyone (Part 1)

Avaya made a number of important announcements at the Avaya Evolutions event in San Francisco about its Unified Communications and Collaboration portfolio. The press release is available here, but the purpose of this blog is it to offer some perspective on the announcements, particularly as they relate to the Scopia® video products.  

Avaya is driving toward enabling the mobile enterprise with easy-to-use, open collaboration solutions that work anywhere, anytime.

For the sake of clarity, it makes sense to break the announcements down into two categories: unified communications (UC) and video conferencing. Avaya provides the best of both worlds when it comes to UC and video. Some of the most exciting announcements have to do with the excellent progress Avaya towards the integration of these two worlds: For example, Scopia interoperability with Avaya Aura and integration with Avaya IP Office, the Scopia Gateway,and Avaya Client Applications (ACA) for Microsoft Lync.

The reality is that most businesses today have two separate networks—newer UC SIP-based technologies and separate H.323-based video networks. The good news is that Avaya offers investment protection regardless of which migration path a customer is pursuing—whether it’s moving from video to fully integrated UC or adding video to its existing UC solution. With this in mind, here’s a recap of the news for Unified Communications, we’ll tackle video conferencing separately (for pricing and availability, refer to the press release):

Unified Communications

  • Avaya announced that Avaya Aura® Conferencing with Avaya Flare Experiencewill now incorporate video conferencing capabilities. Avaya already had video on the Avaya Desktop Video Device (ADVD), and is now expanding it to Apple iPad, Windows PCs, tablets, and smartphones. But wait… there’s more… the cost per user remains unchanged when you add video to your Avaya Aura session. We think that’s pretty cool. And because Aura is a distributed SVC-based switched architecture for very high scale video collaboration, it utilizes up to 25 percent less bandwidth than solutions from other vendors.   
  • Avaya also announced the Avaya Client Applications (ACA)with Microsoft Lync, Outlook and Office integration.  ACA basically adds an overlay to Microsoft Lync and other systems, which enables customers to use their preferred user interface while connecting various platforms for point-to-point and multipoint video as well as other applications.

In summary, Avaya is enhancing its collaboration portfolio to simplify video conferencing, making it easy for people to collaborate by video virtually anywhere, anytime, using any device and over any platform.

Awareness- it’s not just for New Age Boomers anymore!

In the old, old days of business communications you would call someone on the phone and hope to reach them. Statistically, your chances of connecting to someone on the first try were quite low and you often ended up leaving a message with an assistant and waiting for a callback.

Then along came voicemail—now you could leave a message.  No assistant was needed, but your chances of reaching that person live probably worsened and you ended up playing “phone tag” and getting stuck in “voicemail jail.” The mobile phone helped, but also added a new problem: what number do you use to reach someone? When texting and Instant Messaging began to become popular, “presence” began to make an impact.  No one wanted to undergo the labor of typing out a message and hoping for the best. Instead, a little status indicator light next to a name or avatar indicates whether someone is available to receive your message. Now you can also get geo-presence—you can see exactly where a person is located.

According to Avaya, the next step beyond presence is “awareness.” A communications solution equipped with awareness will pay attention to not just where people are located and whether they are online, but also to their “real connection” to the matter at hand and what content needs to be shared.
Brett Shockley, Avaya’s senior VP and general manager for applications and emerging technologies, likens a communications-aware system to an executive assistant who parses and analyzes your email and other communications to arrange a meeting on your calendar, finds and delivers the documents you will need and then, when it’s time to connect, dials the number for you.

At a recent industry conference, Shockley showed a demonstration of awareness in action, using a smart filter in the Avaya Flare® Experience to set up a conference call. Starting with a display of his most recent and frequent contacts, he dragged and dropped contact cards for each potential participant.  As he made selections, the Avaya Flare software analyzed the connections between those people to identify the common project they were all working on and then pulled in documents related to that project.

Shockley said this kind of solution is designed to help “save the first 10 minutes out of every hour,” meaning the time you might waste pulling together the people and information required for the meeting to actually get started.

Awareness: Avaya Style

Mobile devices, the “Bring Your Own Device” phenomenon, remote and mobile workers, and the globalization of business are all trends that have made an impact on the work environment – but can lead to information overload.

With tens of thousands of emails and instant messages sent and received every year, the average worker must deal with assigning importance amid an increasingly complicated meeting schedule (both virtual and physical). In turn, meeting efficiency demands that the most up-to-date documents and other structured and unstructured content be available.

In the Avaya Labs, researchers have developed Avaya Awareness, an intelligent engine that tracks each worker’s collaboration activities and learns  who and what are relevant to each user over time.

While presence technology simply lets co-workers know whether you’ve moved your mouse or typed on your keyboard in the last five minutes, Avaya Awareness is a cornerstone of effective and efficient collaboration –  learning collaboration preferences and the contextual relationships between people, devices, applications and locations.

It’s as if every worker has a personal assistant; it’s highly aware of what’s needed, knows the relevant people needed for the meeting, the documents that need to be shared, the physical or virtual location of the meeting, and other activities, and relevant events and conversations that preceded the meeting.

Read more about how Avaya Awareness improves conferencing and collaboration in our white paper Awareness: Driving the Next Generation of Productivity by senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Applications and Emerging Technologies, Brett Shockley.

BYOD Security: Going Beyond 802.1x

Today, businesses of all kinds are being forced to take a hard look at how they manage access to their network. Employees want to use the latest mobile device. Temporary workers and/or consultants need access to certain resources. Guests want to go online.

Leaving the door wide open for anyone, using any device, is a recipe for disaster.  In certain industries, such as retail, where credit card and identity theft are rampant, it can expose you to major losses and penalties. But every business, regardless of the industry they are in, risks loss of information and disruption on the network if they do not put network access controls in place.

Many businesses mistakenly think it’s enough to simply use the user name and password that are part of the IEEE 802.1x standard. The problem is that 802.1x wasn’t designed for the world of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). In a BYOD environment, you need to identify characteristics about both the user and the device. Also, while most new devices are equipped for 802.1x, they may not be configured or configured properly. For all of these reasons, relying on 8021x is not enough.

That’s why more and more companies are implementing centralized network access control (NAC) solutions. These are available from a range of providers—for example the one from Avaya is called Identity Engines.

Using a NAC solution, you can pre-establish identities or roles for people and devices.  You can set up policies for guests, business partners, employees, the type of device being used, etc. Instead of manually checking the credentials and configuring each user or device one by one as they seek access to your network, the NAC does it for you.

For example, you might set a policy so that an employee in human resources with responsibility for sensitive personnel issues gets unrestricted access to any location on your network, but only if their laptop complies with the appropriate security policy.

Other non-HR employees may get broad access, except for personnel and finance records, but the requirement for security software on their device may be different.

Business partners may get a different level of access—for example only to specific projects.

You can set different policies to take effect based on where a person is working—outside or inside the enterprise

You can set the policy so that an employee using a device issued or managed by your enterprise can get access to your network directly.  However, if the employee is bringing in a new or unmanaged device (i.e., BYOD), they are redirected to a portal (much like the portal you often encounter when staying in a hotel). Their device gets vetted and a decision is made to allow or deny the connection.

Employees or business partners can also be presented with a dissolvable application. This is software that is accessed via a portal and automatically configures the device based on your rules. It then “dissolves”: it doesn’t remain on the client device.  This is a great way to easily configure a large number of devices, for example to bring all employee laptops in compliance with a new 802.1x security policy.

More and more NAC solutions are appearing on the market as the BYOD phenomenon keeps growing. When you pick one, make sure it can work with your existing network infrastructure (wired and wireless) and directories. Your goal is to combine flexibility and control: there are going to be lots of different people and devices seeking access to your network. You want to be able to easily accommodate the safe ones without driving yourself crazy trying to identify the problems. 

 

For more information, check out this Avaya whitepaper https://www.avaya.com/usa/registration/byod-and-the-wireless-revolution/;

And this IT guide to BYOD  https://www.avaya.com/usa/registration/it-guide-to-mobile-collaboration-byod/