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Demo of the month: Prysm Visual Workplace

Joanne Ruddock explores a workplace collaboration tool that utilises cloud storage to enhance efficiency.

Prysm Visual Workplace is a cloud-based meeting space that enables users to create, share and mark up documents across all their devices. Designed to tap into the trend for increasing collaboration in the workplace, the solution allows teams across the globe to work on projects within a tool that combines apps, content, video and the web.

As Paige O’Neill, Prysm CMO, explains: “The market around workplace collaboration is really taking off and we feel like we’re in a fantastic place because we have a solution that spans any device – so I can have it on my mobile device, I can access it at my workspace, I can share content, I can use it in a conference room on a screen, or I can be on my laptop and be able to access the same content.”

Users begin by setting up a Project. This can be populated with a wide variety of content – from Microsoft Office documents and video to images and data files. There are multiple ways to access content: it can be shared via a mobile device, a USB can be plugged into the back of any monitor and content can be downloaded – Prysm’s Visual Workplace has integrations with Box and Dropbox as well as providing secure storage of each project. As O’Neill expands: “Any way you can get content onto your laptop you can get content from here the same way.”

It is also possible to pull up a web browser and log in to third-party applications. Participants can have as many pieces of content open at the same time on the screen as they’d like. Content can be moved around the screen, edited and annotated; if colleagues are in another conference room and they’re part of the same project they can see that content and collaborate. It is also possible to add files from a remote location and, as users can see each other from each location, content can be analysed and edited together to ensure a productive session with editing in real time, visualisation exercises and more. Out-of-the-box integration with tools such as Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive and Skype for Business also serves to enhance productivity.

Cloud control

A key feature of Prysm’s Visual Workplace is that a user’s projects and content are saved automatically in the cloud. This means never having to ask a colleague where a spreadsheet or PowerPoint deck is saved, it’s all in the shared Prysm cloud. According to O’Neill, this not only facilitates work getting done as you can quickly pick up where you left off, but it also acts as a visual recall which can aid people who weren’t in the previous meeting – they can go in and review the content ahead of time. Notes can be kept in the project so people can quickly get a sense of what needs to be actioned and in each project there are workspaces that have chapters or dates. If, for example, you have a scheduled weekly meeting you can have a workspace for each meeting and go back week to week to see what was discussed and what actions were meant to be taken. Again, in these dynamic workspaces, any element on the screen can be easily moved, duplicated, stored and emailed.

For those who are unable to attend a meeting, logging back in as their calendar permits allows them to review any new content or even screenshot each workspace and email it to someone, providing another means to share what was discussed. With a key aim of Visual Workplace being to make meetings more productive, participants can also go in and update their documents ahead of a catch-up so all of the content is up to date and everyone can see it. In terms of content management and security, Prysm will manage set-up, hosting and troubleshooting, and all content is secured with enterprise-level encryption and backed up on multiple redundant servers. When it comes to scaleability, there’s no limit to the number of people who can join.

There are two ways to participate in Prysm Visual Workplace, as a subscribed user or as a guest. O’Neill elaborates: “There could be a screen in a conference room and I could go in as a subscribed user and log in to either an in-room display or from a browser. Most likely, I’d have my own user ID so that when I logged in, all of my content would be there. For example, when I go to any of my devices – iPhone, iPad, Mac, screen – and log in I see the same screen. On the other hand, guests who have been invited to join a project can log in to participate, but they don’t have ‘anytime’ access. Beginning soon, casual users will be able to approach a display and leverage some basic functions without logging in first. This new capability is called Quick Start.”

Consistently seeing the same screen and the same content on any device also means users become comfortable with the technology and it takes away the issues associated with having to get used to new kit. O’Neill adds: “It’s all about simplifying the process and saving time. It gives you the ability to make a decision much more quickly – I can change data in real time and see how it affects other data straight away, without having to work through spreadsheets. You can see everything at the same time.”