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Adjusting to hybrid workflows: How AV can help you adapt

Suso Carrillo, NDI marketing lead at Vizrt Group discusses how AV tech can help empower remote workers

The reality of post-pandemic work life is shaping up to be nothing “traditional”, as the hybrid work model continues to be popular among employees – it’s reported that over 83% of workers prefer a hybrid model.

The work-life balance this model provides has its benefits: 69% of workers who went to the office “at-will” – the most flexible of the hybrid work arrangements – reported uplifting feelings of productivity. Flexible models allow employees to come into the office to feel less isolated or stay at home if a particular focus is needed without interruptions.

This new era of working, however, comes with challenges. Hiring, collaborating, and retaining employees requires efficient connection, as does interacting with customers and partners remotely. Communication is key, and businesses need to invest in a digitally based workflow to keep up with the competition, and keep people engaged.

Despite the importance of communication in this hybrid era, only 38% of US companies have upgraded video technology to allow for more thoughtful hybrid connection. Reports also show that nearly half (49%) of US-based digital workers say they would leave if they became too frustrated with workplace technology. 

It’s evident that people need to be able to rely on what drives their work forward: effective communication through connection. But how can companies adapt to the digital workflow without significant risk or cost? 

Thanks to video over internet protocol (VoIP) and protocols such as NDI, users can build video workflows where all technology integrates seamlessly to manage a variety of sources and locations — both on and off site. Also, its unifying possibilities with software, including Microsoft Teams or Zoom, enables high-quality, low-latency, bi-directional communication. This allows companies to engage with employees and customers seamlessly. 

This type of technology is useful to adapt to workers’ preference of hybrid models, but also necessary to meet the demands of many who need to connect in order to carry on. Companies, schools, hospitals, and many others must integrate low-latency audio-video solutions to communicate and collaborate in ways previously unachievable.

An example of this can be seen in the upgrade chosen made by the largest insurance company in The Netherlands, Achmea. When the pandemic hit, the company’s Learning and Development department turned to free-of-cost VoIP solutions to create and deliver educational content in broadcast quality, as well as support multi-user communication across widely distributed corporate and remote locations. 

With an NDI VoIP workflow in place, Achmea was able to use its existing video communications setup without increasing the complexity or supplementing it with new hardware. Every remote employee from anywhere in the world was part of the production.

By creating a robust VoIP workflow, companies can engage remote employees and have cross-office collaboration. Implementing an easy solution that provides near-zero latency for audio and video transmission enables corporations to create workflows that bring in remote employees with high quality as if they were there in person.

Any tech upgrade made now must meet the needs of the company’s future as well. The next generation of employees, Gen Z, are known to be tech-savvy and action-oriented, and as they learn to embrace the flexible nature of the current global workforce, companies must ensure they can work with tools that optimise corporate collaboration at all levels.

So, how can companies implement cost-effective flexible workflows to ensure this connectivity? 

Each setup will look different depending on what the company wants to achieve. Smaller companies benefit from networking solutions, such as NDI, which enable teams to use the technology it likely already has. This can be as simple as downloading an app on a smartphone to use as an external input source for a video feed – and this easy step is already better than the standard laptop webcam. For instance, the NDI|HX Camera for iOS applications is a high-quality webcam in your pocket, which is ideal for professionals working from home participating in conference calls or presenting into a webinar from a remote location. The app makes it possible to turn their mobile into a webcam source that works with MS Teams, Skype, Zoom, etc.

A higher scale setup may include strategically placed cameras and networked microphones, which are positioned around a meeting room and connected to the conferencing platform of choice, picking up on body language and quieter voices during all-hands calls. 

With the pandemic restrictions, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama sought to connect performers to play in sync across buildings. Working with Altered Images, Guildhall found a solution that used NDI video-over-IP protocol, with a complete video production system and multiple cameras across the network to deliver the most realistic experience.

Beyond conferencing, companies moving to make content for both internal and external communication efforts are opting for full TV-style productions. Producing cost-effective video content that not only looks great, but engages the audience and customers is crucial for businesses to retain attention. Thanks to the advent of low-latency, IP-based production, we are now able to deploy solutions that, until recently, would have only been achieved by broadcasters.

One example was when iFast Corporation, a wealth management fintech platform, used their suddenly empty office to create iFast TV – a B2B streaming operation, with a high-end TV studio and production facility fully equipped for operation.

Keeping remote and hybrid employees engaged is crucial for retention. Employee satisfaction, which is essential for businesses to succeed, is at stake. Meaningful and collaborative communication, achievable with VoIP workflows, guarantees the connection and engagement of employees, colleagues, and customers – anywhere in the world.