At $150,000 to $300,000 a room, companies don’t even want to hear the words tech support. The good news, according to industry experts, there are not a lot of pressing issues.
According to David Danto, director of Emerging Technology for the Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance (IMCCA), in video there is something called the Golden Two Minutes. If you’re at a PC and you have a problem, you e-mail the help desk and they open a help desk ticket. That can take two or three minutes. “In the world of telepresence and videoconferencing, the meeting is already lost,” Danto says. “You can’t support these systems from an IT help desk. You have to have somebody answer the phone immediately and to solve the problem immediately.
“Telepresence is easy to use. You literally set up the call by using the phone to dial the distant room and that is it and everything is handled. Multiparty conferencing is still a little bit clunky, so if I want to have multiple cities, that’s a little less graceful. Traditional videoconferencing requires more care and feeding. You almost always have to have a control system in the room like an AMX or a Crestron. We have some clients who decided not to spend the money on those controls because their users would never feel comfortable doing it and they put it on the staff. They literally have a concierge who comes in the room and sets up everything for the users and the users don’t do anything but show up.”
—David Jacobs, principal with TechKnowledge Consulting
“Technology always breaks. It can’t be expected that something will work perfectly every time. Sometimes circuits do fry themselves or a box stops working. That’s the joy of technology and that’s why factoring in support is very important. Some of the biggest problems we’ve had are probably related around the network or improper dialing, so the system might be working fine, but they might be having a bad network day at the corporation or they are just dialing the wrong number.”
—John Vitale, vice president of Products, AVI-SPL
“Most of the time it is scheduling conflicts, the wrong information or two people want to use it at the same time or whatever. User training, certainly more in the traditional video conferencing rooms than in the telepresence rooms. When someone can’t use the room because they don’t know how, what IT needs to understand is that the room is broken. It is broken because she can’t use it. It doesn’t matter that everything works, it is a failure.”
—David Danto, director of Emerging Technology for the IMCCA