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Collaborate Without Complexity Using Smart Video Displays

Videoconferencing has come a long way since Bell Labs showed off its Picturephone at the  1964 World’s Fair. People lined up for the opportunity to speak with and see someone at the other end.

Fifty years later, videoconferencing systems are ubiquitous, making appearances in conference rooms, executive suites, and shared work areas around the globe. But more often than not, these systems are underutilized. Too many video solutions are difficult to deploy and use, and sometimes the hassles outweigh the benefits.

Yet communication and collaboration are highly valued business practices. According to a Gallup report, a lack of collaboration and engagement costs approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity worldwide. Today’s geographically dispersed and mobile workforce makes teamwork even more challenging. And the number of mobile workers—expected to reach 1.87 billion by 2022—is becoming the new normal. Companies need innovative ways to keep every employee actively involved and productive.

In the end, enterprise organizations are looking for videoconference solutions that deliver on the promise of better collaboration and communication. Internal meetings, external presentations, webinars, and training are driving the need for flexible, easy-to-use, and open unified communication systems. Companies of every size need solutions that can truly provide solid benefits such as those described in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Videoconference and collaboration solutions must offer tangible benefits. (Source: Intel®)

New videoconferencing technologies are enabling companies to achieve these goals. This means systems that are simple to deploy, offer great video and sound quality, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. Interactive Flat Panel Displays (IFPD), built on open, industry-standard computing can deliver the performance and flexibility needed to enable teams to work better together—no matter their locations and computing devices.

Meeting the Needs of Distributed Workplace

Today’s IFPD solutions empower businesses to turn scheduled meetings and impromptu gatherings into efficient collaboration sessions. They look, feel, and behave like the systems people use every day—HD video, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones.

One example is the TRUTOUCH X Series Unified Collaboration System solution by Newline Interactive The TRUTOUCH series is an open, flexible, all-in-one system built on powerful Intel® technology.

The solution enables individuals to easily present ideas and information, whether they are in the same room, down the hall, or on the other side of the world.  Unique to the TRUTOUCH X Series is onboard computing that runs on standard operating systems. This makes it straightforward for users and IT staff alike.

With this open architecture, TRUTOUCH solves the challenge of many unified communications systems. With support for a broad range of conferencing software, organizations can use whichever client is appropriate for any given meeting.

“With TRUTOUCH, it’s very common for a Series X to be on the wall of the meeting room and have two or three or even six UC soft clients loaded on the desktop,” said Chris Bradford, president and co-founder of Newline.  “We're not trying to push a customer toward one or away from another; we think our job is to support all of those soft clients, so the customer uses whichever they want—at any given point during the day.”

TRUTOUCH runs standard software applications and extends screen sharing to laptops, notebooks, tablets, and other mobile devices as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The Newline TRUTOUCH X Series supports off-the-shelf software that best suits an organization’s needs. (Source: Newline)

The system includes a handwriting-enabled touchscreen to add text and illustrations. Participates can view and annotate material directly on the screen and from their own devices. Picture a brainstorming session or design review, where as everyone contributes ideas, their input appears on the IFPD and on all other connected devices.

The powerful on-board computer makes accessing files, folders, and meeting information just a click away. “These functions are more than nice-to-haves,” said Bradford. “The ability to express ideas visually can foster better brainstorming and spark new approaches to difficult challenges.” And since iteration is an essential part of innovation, collaboration sessions on an IFPD can be easily saved and shared either as a work in progress or a finished presentation—using email or uploaded to the cloud.

Simple and Intuitive

With TRUTOUCH, meetings begin effortlessly so that they’re more productive from the start. Starting and joining meetings is intuitive and uncomplicated for all attendees, with no pre-training required. And it integrates with company networks.

“Let’s say you’re a large enterprise, and you have 32 salespeople starting today in a class down the hall. So you've got 32 laptops that you're giving them to start their job, and the TRUTOUCH X Series is going to look just like laptop number 33,” said Bradford. “It's going to have the same image put on it, it's going to have the same IT policy, and it’s going to map to the same drives.”

TRUTOUCH works out of the box without customization. It can be easily mounted just like a TV on a living room wall and be up and running in under an hour. The TRUTOUCH system can also be set up for integration with other in-room systems such as lighting and temperature controls, additional microphones, or ceiling-mounted speakers.

Videoconferencing systems often go unused due to poor visual and sound quality. TRUTOUCH addresses these issues. With two integrated 1080p wide-angle cameras, participants can have a clear view of what’s on the screen regardless of where they are in the room. Just as important, they can be seen by attendees in other locations. Echo cancellation and noise reduction produce clear sound quality for all.

Built-In Confidence

Newline’s choice of Intel technology has enabled the company to develop a solution that offers a premium computing and communications experience with hardware-enhanced security and flexible management. In fact, compute is a key discussion point when Newline meets with reselling partners and customers. “When they learn the TRUTOUCH X Series runs on Intel technology,” said Bradford, “they know exactly what they’re going to get. Intel creates that level of confidence.”

About the Author

Robert Moss is an independent consultant and strategist who focuses on the value gained through IoT, AI, machine learning and other technologies. He also helps give voice to executives at leading technology companies, enabling their personal stories to show how they encourage innovation, overcome obstacles, and improve their leadership skills. Tweets @RobertMoss_IoT

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