Over the last few months, we have had many technology officers come to us wanting to understand more about how a Lync Room System would fit into their overall Unified Communications strategy. From organizations with remote workers looking to more easily connect outside of the office, to global corporations and institutions with multiple campuses who are in need of a more seamless distance collaboration experience, all of these interested groups are looking for ways to build meeting spaces and communication infrastructure that keeps better pace with the demands and opportunities of the 21st century workplace. As an audiovisual technology integrator, this is where we come in to help clients successfully deploy and adopt a new technology.
In the case of the Lync Room System, a good first step for many of our clients has been to launch a Pilot or Proof of Concept test in order to evaluate the solution and determine its worth to the organization. This approach is only going to be worthwhile however, if all aspects of the integration are taken into account. Successfully deploying the Lync Room System requires an understanding of both the unit as a standalone technology as well as its ability to join the network and connect users without ugly delays and difficulties. The experience needs to be optimized not only for the participants in the meeting room, but also for remote attendees joining in virtually. Whether you are implementing a recently purchased product or are carrying out a Proof of Concept test, here are some Pre and Post Installation tips to consider when deploying a Lync Room System.
Just as with any other new technology deployment, a network readiness assessment should be carried out before making any moves to install new components. Lync 2013 and the Lync Room System offers a tremendous meeting room experience delivering HD video, conference room audio and real time voice and data collaboration, but it is imperative that the solution’s demands on your network infrastructure are taken into account. Lack of network resources can result in poor performance and will detract from the overall user experience. There are several ways to ensure your network is ready for a new Room System. Microsoft has tools and bandwidth calculators that can be used by experienced and qualified in-house staff to measure capacities, or experienced UC Deployment Partners can be engaged to ensure the environment is ready upfront.
Another Pre-Installation consideration is space. When picking the location for the hardware, you have to be aware of how the setting will affect the meeting experience. Factors such as room location within the building or campus, lighting or lack thereof, and potential background noise need to be taken note of and considered deeply. Even when deploying a Pilot System, choosing the wrong room will result in poor test results and therefore a wasted opportunity. We’ve seen firsthand Pilots being deployed in unused conference rooms which were chosen for the test without considering the reasons these rooms are underutilized in the first place! Without an appropriate setting, Proof of Concept tests with these systems will be useless. An upfront room survey and walk-through can help identify potential impacts to the quality of the experience and steps that can be taken to create a more optimal meeting room environment.
After a system is installed, many organizations are faced with the “now what” moment. While the room system provides a familiar and intuitive Lync Interface to users, it is still a new technology that will not invite adoption without some training. You want employees in your organization to feel encouraged and inspired by a new technology in the office, rather than intimidated and perplexed. For both existing and new Lync users, the learning curve on these systems is small, but like any new technology there can be fear in learning and using something different. It’s important to plan for a series of interactive, instructor led training on system usage and best practices for managers and key employees who will be using the Lync Room System. One of the key benefits of the system is that it replaces the legacies of difficult and hard to use meeting room technologies. But don’t let this blind you to the benefits of a well-planned and interactive training program. For those in the technology field, it’s easy to assume that everyone will get the ease and simplicity of the system out-of-the-box; more times than not though, this isn’t the case. It is important to work with employees after the fact so that the average information worker has the confidence to use the system.
Utilizing System Metrics
After the initial adoption training, it is important to implement longer term performance monitoring. Both SMART and CRESTRON supplied room systems have the ability to provide usage metrics for their Lync Room Systems. Implementing and utilizing these tools provide another way to measure your technology investment. By providing and monitoring this data, organizations can design processes to keep the knowledge base of its users up to date and identify particular rooms or systems that may be underperforming or underutilized, thereby maximizing the overall return on investment in Lync.
All of these factors should be considered both when deciding on a solution and when choosing the right technology integrator for the job. As a design and integration firm with years of experience in system integration for the business environment, Presentation Products offers full service support from consulting to system programming, commissioning, training and maintenance. When you are ready, contact us to learn more about Piloting a system and setting up an initial room survey.