Secrets of Smarter Communication

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While statisticians have done a commendable job of calculating how much time we spend sleeping, sitting in traffic, and brushing our teeth, few have troubled themselves to tally the time we spend waiting in conference rooms for meetings to start. Scott Brown estimates that he has spent eight full years in conference rooms during his working career, with significantly less than eight years of productivity to show for it—in part because of the 8 to 10 minutes it normally takes for each conference to start. Brown, President of Enterprise at SMART Technologies—and self-professed “enterprise communications warrior”—is on a mission to return those lost minutes (and years) to employees everywhere. All that’s needed is access to a video-capable device and the Internet. Oh, and one more thing: access to the fourth dimension.

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As Brown sees it, there are four dimensions of collaboration:

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The first dimension involves one-to-one conversations using a single type of media, such as a phone call.

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The second dimension adds a second layer of media, such as a video call that features both audio and video.

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In the third dimension, voice and video are joined by the ability to share and view documents, screens or applications.

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In the fourth dimension, however, participants now have the ability to contribute to ideas, interact with data in real-time and collaborate as though they were in the same location—essentially replicating the conference room experience.

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If all of that sounds slightly scientific, it’s no wonder; SMART Technologies are the “brains” behind many of the K–12 collaborative classroom systems developed over the last 25 years, with multiple patents in interactive display technologies. In the last several years, SMART Technologies has translated that vision into the enterprise space through its SMART Room System™—developed in partnership with Microsoft and leveraging the Microsoft® Lync® platform.

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When asked what separates the SMART Room System virtual conference room experience from first-generation telepresence technology, Brown gets straight to the point. “It just works,” he says. “You walk into the room, touch a button and the conference starts.

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As a modern-day liberator of lost time, Brown shares five secrets from the fourth dimension that lead to better virtual conferences:

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    1. Choose a system that’s user friendly. People will adopt a new system sooner if it’s easy to use the first time they use it.

 

    1. Don’t get hung up on phone numbers. It’s fast becoming a click-to-call world, so make sure your system supports click-to-call connectivity from a variety of applications and devices.

 

    1. Get federated. Federation through Unified Communications is creating a new and more effective paradigm of collaboration where the distinction between employees and partners has disappeared.

 

    1.  Follow up sooner with action items. Virtual conferences can easily be recorded and disseminated right after the conference ends, so everyone has a record of the meeting and their action items.

 

    1. Deploy a session border controller. This powerful device typically sits at the edge of the network, providing a clear demarcation point between video endpoints inside the trusted network and those outside the trusted network.

 

Scott Brown, President, Enterprise Solutions
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About Scott Brown, President, Enterprise Solutions

Mr. Brown brings over 25 years of global experience and leadership in enterprise to SMART. Mr. Brown was named President, Enterprise in May, 2013. Prior to SMART, he held numerous executive roles with Microsoft® Corporation and was responsible for several functions including Enterprise Sales, Technical and Solution Sales, Consulting and most recently oversaw the Microsoft Lync® Global Sales and Partner strategy. Over the course of his career, Brown has been directly responsible for driving business results for U.S., North America and Global organizations with accountability for Enterprise, State and Local Government as well as Education sectors. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mr. Brown is a veteran of the US Army and Nebraska Army National Guard.

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