For large parts of your organization to benefit from state-of-the-art conferencing, it needs to be fully self-service. This is because traditional, managed video conferencing, where calls are manually scheduled, cannot scale sustainably
Managed video conferencing typically costs your business US$300 per call. When switching to self-service, large enterprises typically budget US$600 per user, per year. In other words, if a user makes two calls or more in a year, money is being saved.
VQ Conference Manager (formerly Acano Manager) is built for self-service. It integrates with your existing meeting management and communication tools, including Microsoft Outlook. This enables your employees to take advantage of your Cisco Meeting Server investments at their convenience, using familiar apps.
Because each of your users has their own, always-available meeting Space(s), calls don’t need to be booked in advance or fitted into busy meeting room schedules
Anyone in your organization can hold a meeting at any time, simply by letting participants know their meeting Space details.
Sharing meeting Space information is as simple as clicking a button in Microsoft Outlook, which adds the necessary details to an email or calendar invitation.
Join a meeting using existing communication tools
Recipients can click a link in an email or calendar invitation to be placed onto the call using your enterprise communications platform, such as Skype for Business
Alternatively, the invitation will contain details to join by phone, through Cisco CMA, WebRTC, or with any video conferencing system in your organization. The organizer doesn’t have to know how others will join, meaning there’s no need for complex address books or questions over what the address of the device to call is. Everybody simply dials in to the meeting Space in the most convenient or appropriate manner.
All of this minimizes the learning curve for those participating in conferences, thereby driving adoption of your communication service.
Call capabilities match users’ needs and skills
Tiered services make conferencing easy and convenient for everyone
Different employees will have different conferencing requirements: VQ Conference Manager (formerly Acano Manager) enables you to create tiered services that match the skill levels and demands of different individuals.
By providing services that align with users’ needs and skills, you encourage widespread adoption of self-service conferencing.
Meeting Space templates deliver predictable and reliable in-call experiences
The most successful conferencing services are those where users’ calls work the same way, every time. This predictability builds trust, which is generally followed by explosive adoption
For each group of video conferencing users, your administrators set exactly how calls will behave, using pre-defined templates. So whenever a user dials into their virtual meeting Space, they know exactly what to expect.
For your operations team, it means they don’t have to manually configure every call, so can support a much higher volume of calls than under a managed model.
If a user needs to hold several different types of call, you can set them up multiple virtual meeting Spaces that work in distinct ways
Your management team could have one Space for calls where they present to all employees, and another for confidential customer meetings, for instance.
The first would need to allow large numbers of participants, using a common passcode. Participants would need to remain muted, while the layout would keep the management team member presenting as the main image.
Conversely, the second Space would require a one-off passcode to ensure only those who are invited can join. Once they dial in, the Space would need to allow anyone to speak, perhaps with the video layout set to give equal weighting to all those in attendance.
Why predictability matters
For your conferencing service is to be a success, predictability is essential
If some part of your service didn’t work as expected, users would typically call your support desk. Unpredictable systems mean large numbers of support requests, which require large teams to handle. This would push up the cost of providing your conferencing service. Conversely, a predictable service results in fewer support calls, meaning less spend on ‘keeping the lights on’ and more money for higher-value activities.
Secondly, when the service behaves consistently and predictably, users’ trust in it will grow. And once they trust it will work as expected, they’ll be comfortable relying on it, and so will use it more.
Control calls and meeting Spaces from Microsoft Outlook
VQ Conference Manager integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook, enabling your employees to manage their calls and meeting Spaces using the tools they already use to plan their days
Compatible with Outlook 2016 and Office 365 on Windows and macOS, VQ Conference Manager 3’s user control panel puts conferencing at the heart of workplace productivity – and removes the need for employees to log into a separate web portal.
By using tools your people are already familiar with, you encourage large-scale adoption of self-service video conferencing.
Self-service meeting Space and passcode management
Using the Cisco Meeting Server Outlook add-in in VQ Conference Manager, your employees can manage their virtual meeting Spaces and passcodes from within Microsoft Outlook
Update the settings for an existing Space, create a new one, or remove a Space that’s no longer needed.
VQ Conference Manager also enables users to change the passcodes for their Spaces in an instant. This means they can protect access to their conferences, making sure the required participants can dial in, but no one else.
Self-service call control
As well as managing their meeting Spaces, VQ Conference Manager’s Cisco Meeting Server Outlook add-in gives users full control of their calls, directly within Microsoft Outlook
For any in-flight call, the meeting Space owner can:
See who is on the call
Mute or unmute participants’ audio
Change the video layout
Choose to end the call
Manage your meeting Spaces and calls from your iPhone
Give your conferencing users ultimate convenience when controlling their calls and meeting Spaces, with the VQ Conference Manager iPhone app
Having both a mobile app and Microsoft Outlook integration means your employees can manage their conferencing wherever they are, using whichever device is easiest.
With just a few taps on their iPhone screen, employees can add, edit or remove a meeting Space. They can also change its name and alter its passcode
And when a call’s in progress in one of their Spaces, the app shows that the Space is active and how many participants are in it. The user can drill down into an active call to see the participants and perform actions like change video layouts, mute audio or video, set Importance and remove participants.
Optional web-based user portal
If your organization doesn’t use Outlook 2016 or Office 365, your employees can still manage their meeting Spaces and control their calls, using the VQ Conference Manager web portal
Direct from their browser, users can create and remove virtual meeting Spaces, as well as edit existing ones. This includes changing the passcodes on Spaces.