Patrick Geschwindner, CCIE No. 3891

Collaboration in Today's Business

The term "Collaboration" today means much more than just exchanging messages and data (which eventually came to include video conferencing). Asking five different people to lay out their understanding of collaboration will reveal five different opinions. Nowadays we want to exchange information instantly over one or more convenient channels to avoid any delay. Many confuse collaboration with just video conferencing, but this is just one possibility to get together to avoid the odds and imponderables of travel. During the early ages of video communications, video was perceived as “nice to have,” but over the years this changed into a reputable way to meet. With Immersive Video the gap between meeting in person and high quality video was drastically reduced, and the impression video gives to be in one room with others is almost perfect.

All these various ways to communicate are typically used inside the company network. Yes, employees can access their networks from outside but typically they need to initiate a VPN or similar method. How about dropping the need to connect via VPN for seamless communication? It would be way simpler if the smartphone or PC would not need a VPN client to connect to the company network and collaborate securely, especially if the user is roaming between being inside and outside the corporate network. This is where Cisco Jabber comes into play. VPN-less clients for a seamless communication structure, no matter if the user is inside or outside the corporate network, is a reality and it happens automatically.

This structure is called MRA (Mobile and Remote Access) and it does not stop there. Telepresence stations at the telecommuter’s workplace can register through MRA as well as desk phones to extend the corporate network across remote locations, without the need for site-to-site VPNs.

All this functionality sounds great, but there are a few areas still needed to improve your organization’s communication landscape. How about using the same applications internally to collaborate with a client outside of your corporate network? What about your business partners using a solution as we described above? This is what we call B2B (Business to Business) video connections. As long the environmental variables like DNS entries, name-to-user mapping, etc. are setup on both sides, such a B2B communication is not difficult to accomplish. The best part about this is that calling from one business to another can use the same format as an email address. This is another advantage of such a communication structure: The recipient is addressed independently to the way we want to connect.

Last but not least, we still need to enable one of the most important groups of users to collaborate with us in an easy and simple manner. Our clients, the single customer, without having a complex communication structure in their home or SMB network, can simply use their browser to launch a video or voice call to us anywhere at any time. We cannot leave them out and continue to think that collaboration is just for enterprise businesses. Everybody should be able to get in touch using any device - from PC, Smart-Phone or Tablet. There is a solution just for that: Jabber Guest enables anybody to initiate a phone or video call with just a click on a link in a web-page or email. The downloadable browser plugin will turn your customer’s PC or smart device into a video station on demand.

With all the different vehicles available to us, it is possible to offer any preferred communication method for any occasion, any preference, any endpoint, anytime.

Now is the time to contact NetGuys to update your communication structure to a state of the art collaboration network. Don’t be stuck with just a phone - allow your contacts to communicate with you ad hoc in their preferred way.