While we should perhaps refrain from making definitive conclusions until the pandemic has ended, there are – at the very least – strong indications that it has changed the world of work forever. In particular, organisations in all kinds of sectors have realised how effectively many people can work out of the office, due in no small part to the increased availability of super-fast domestic broadband.
Consequently, it is likely that a majority of companies will carry on with some form of hybrid working on a long-term basis, although on a technological level it’s a shift that is not without its challenges. Maintaining network and server security when so many people are accessing remotely is one obvious issue. But equally important is the ability for meetings and collaborative projects to take place with everyone – no matter where they are located – able to benefit from the same high quality of experience.
So it’s not surprising that a number of the leading vendors in this space have been revising existing solutions or developing new ones to help support companies through this important transformation. Kramer Electronics is among them, and in August 2021 it announced the extension of its VIA family of sharing and collaboration solutions with the launch of VIA Connect2. This latest version of VIA has been designed to facilitate hybrid meetings and learning for the Hybrid Generation (aka Generation H) in both the enterprise and education markets.
The new launch acknowledges the profound shift towards remote working that has taken place since early 2020. According to the company, VIA Connect2 provides businesses and organisations with “the flexibility they require for employees, clients and consultants to engage with each other, collaborate and maintain productivity in hybrid work environments.”
Unified collaboration experience
VIA Connect2 achieves this objective by creating one Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) experience, including both wired and wireless capabilities. A wired HDMI input allows for automatic switching to an in-room 4K or HD display, whilst the system’s wireless capability enables easy sharing and collaborating from anywhere, using any device or video conference platform.
To this end, the Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) approach is at the core of VIA Connect2. Users can achieve this by either using built-in VIA apps for mobile and desktop, or app-free over local networks via AirPlay and Miracast. Once paired, every meeting can benefit from VIA Connect2’s ability to add professional in-room AV equipment via USB, such as displays, cameras, microphones and speakers. Alternatively, the Teams or Zoom client can be launched with one click directly though VIA Connect2.
As talk of hybrid working has intensified, one of the most frequently voiced concerns has been about security – an issue whose profile has only been heightened in recent months due to some high-profile corporate security breaches. Therefore, it will be reassuring to potential customers that VIA Connect2 enables any Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Android or iOS device to “instantly and wirelessly join a meeting or class with enterprise-grade security”. And that principle holds firm whether participants are in the office or in transit, joining remotely from home, or situated on the other side of the world.
Whilst versatility of meeting configuration is obviously of paramount importance, the same flexibility is also beneficial when it comes to system management. Hence with the new Kramer solution the inclusion of VIA Site Management (VSM) software, which allows IT administrators and integrators to maintain hardware remotely via the cloud or through on-premise networks.
Be in no doubt – we are in a transitory phase in which many companies are thinking carefully about what works for them, and what doesn’t. For some organisations, it may turn out that some steps taken to keep operations running during the crisis are not entirely suitable on a long-term basis. But the overall ‘direction of travel’ towards more remote and hybrid working isn’t in any doubt now, and solutions such as VIA Connect2 are going to make it easier for companies everywhere to take that journey.
Kramer Electronics will be exhibiting at ISE 2022 on booth 3B350. For more information on VIA Connect2, please visit https://via2.kramerav.com.