Ask the expert: Why should I have an integrated, cloud-based presentation system? [UPDATE]

Posted by Johnny Kromer on 08 May 2019 11:00:00 AM

Integrating your presentation system in your boardroom and taking it to the cloud is the future of the mobile boardroom. We chatted to our expert Andrew Fouche to explain what makes ThinkHub an industry favorite

In a country like South Africa where the petrol price keeps rising, it’s becoming more difficult for businesses to justify the expense of having a meeting with everyone in the same room. Luckily, with the advancement in cloud-based communications, it’s becoming easier for teams to collaborate from across the country.

Here at Nashua Communications, we always strive to be a leader in the industry and we practise what we preach. That’s why our own presentation system is a cloud-based system that offers our team (and by extension our clients) a seamless collaboration experience that saves both time and money. With over 150 branches across the country, we need to be able to be able to have large scale meetings with teams without delay, and we need to be able to share any relevant documentation at the same time.

What the expert has to say:

Our Product Manager and collaboration expert, Andrew Fouche, spoke to us about the importance of having a cloud-based presentation system and took us through how these systems work. Here’s what he had to say:

Why are these collaboration systems optimal?

It’s simple. Having a cloud-based system brings workplaces together! These systems make collaboration and video conferencing work seamlessly together to ensure your team can collaborate not only one-on-one but also with multiple team members anywhere in the world. It’s a different way of thinking of video conferencing. Before you could just dial in and maybe share one screen and some direct messages. Now you have a canvas where multiple parties can work from, sharing not only their ideas, but their content too.

What can these systems do differently?

These systems let teams visualise and problem solve collectively without needing to be in the same room. The systems consolidate all the moving pieces of a meeting session onto a large shared presentation system, making content accessible and visible to anyone anywhere.

What kind of content can be shared with these systems?

Everything! If it has a digital footprint you can share it. All types of content can be shared and viewed, including images, videos, PDFs, Powerpoint presentations, and more. And the systems can display multiple pieces of content on one screen all at the same time allowing multiple people to work individually or collectively in the same session.

How has the presentation system advanced since Nashua communications started using it?  

Cloud computing is fast becoming the standard for businesses operating in the modern world. Not only with the aim of saving on infrastructure costs but for driving continuity of information and collaboration across disparate teams. New industry features include;

  • Being able to book conference rooms.
  • Digital signage (internal communication, marketing, and automation/control for security and confidentiality).
  • Integration with web-based systems like Zoom, Skype for Business etc.

Where does the mobility aspect come in?

The systems are 100% mobile. You don’t have to be in a boardroom to access them, you don’t even have to be on the local network. You can even login from your cellphone and still participate.  The systems connect in different ways via the cloud or on local networks and are therefore preconfigured for mobility, so you don’t need internal processes to open ports. It’s a plug-and-play system.

What is ThinkHub and what makes it an effective collaboration tool?

ThinkHub offers innovative options by taking collaboration sessions from the meeting spaces and making them available to teams regardless of location or device. With the Thinkhub Airconnect app (an application available for any mobile device like Windows, Android, iOS and Mac) and ThinkHub Cloud access, you can view and edit existing sessions or create new ThinkHub sessions without even having to be in the room.

The ability to share files, view the Thinkhub canvass, and share your device screen from anywhere in the world is now possible with Airconnect. Full interaction via the app and ThinkHub’s free cloud service is possible with teams collaborating on the ThinkHub canvass.

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Can you explain ThinkHub MultiSite’s edge regarding remote collaboration?

ThinkHub MultiSite is for remote collaboration sessions from one ThinkHub enabled device to another ThinkHub enabled device in real-time. It can bring up to 10 sites into one session so teams working in various locations can now work together as though they were in the same room. Users will have complete interaction on the same canvass across all of the locations, along with video and voice. Other features of ThinkHub’s MultiSite are;

  • Shared network folders and content across multiple locations.
  • Any site can utilise any display configuration (For example, Johannesburg office could have a single display, whereas Cape Town office could be using a 2 x 2 video wall display configuration).
  • Two MultiSite network options – Enterprise and SMB (On-premise and Cloud service).
  • Supports up to 10 ThinkHub MultiSite locations in a single session.

What features does ThinkHub have that significantly changes the way Nashua Communications runs its meetings?

ThinkHub Videoconferencing is designed to work with the systems you already have in place. Because it allows you to utilise your current assets, there is no need to rip out and replace hardware. Some of the features we have found useful at Nashua Communications are;

  • Compatibility with all hardware based in-room video conferencing equipment, such as Cisco or Polycom.
  • Integrations with WebEx, Skype For Business, Zoom, and other web-based systems.
  • Videoconferencing Add-On is also available for ThinkHub and ThinkHub MultiSite.

Nashua Communications has dynamically configured its workspaces and customised them for multiple uses. We can do the same for our clients and there are a variety of additional options available upon request such as;

  • Integration with Outlook and Exchange for seamless room booking and meeting initiation.
  • ADA support and Multilingual capabilities.
  • Crestron/AMX room control configuration allows you to control and automate your meeting environment -  kicking off video conferencing sessions, dimming the lights, drawing the blinds/curtains and automatically starting your video conference call all at the touch of a button.  You can also manage energy efficiency by switching off rooms that are not being used (occupancy sensing).
  • Take control of your meeting room reservations by using your existing calendar systems to improve and streamline your workflow. Make an impact on employees and visitors by installing our sleek touch screens and wayfinding solutions in your office locations. Room and hot desk booking also gives you full control over your meeting room environment from visibility to which rooms are available/busy via your Outlook calendar as well as the touch panel outside your meeting room. Double the Room booking panels as digital signage for internal communications and tie this into your evacuation systems in the event of emergencies (i.e. wayfinding to exit the building)

Does the ThinkHub system allow for recording and if so in what format?  

Yes, through your chosen video conferencing application, e.g. Skype for Business, Zoom, Cisco etc. Recordings can be stored locally (on a server) or in the cloud. The recording will include video and voice, and your entire collaboration session on the ThinkHub canvass.

What are the security policies within the system? For example, if people are having a meeting that is of a sensitive nature how can you guarantee the security of the session?

Dynamic session IDs and passwords for each session enable complete security for every session started. 256 SSL encryption used throughout, from the cloud storage where your content and session are hosted right down to communication from mobile devices. This end - to - end encryption ensures information integrity and security. Additionally, through Room Booking, administrators have complete visibility into who is participating in every meeting, and which visitors should have access to which meeting rooms within the building.

Who are these presentation systems perfect for?

Any business would benefit from these systems. Though we find that companies who need to facilitate training of staff, especially over different sites benefit greatly from it as it lessens travel costs. Companies with operational staff and multiple remotes sites also benefit the most. Ultimately, it’s a huge money saving asset for any company needing to do correspondence and real-time content sharing.

Ready to embrace the presentation system of the future? Contact us today and we’ll help you reduce costs and save time on every meeting in the future.

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Topics: Integration

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