Communication Tools in The Cloud
Communication Tools provided by cloud suites are great ways for people in your company to stay in touch, whether it’s getting a small amount of information form a locally based colleague, chatting to a member of another company on a combined project, having a phone style conversation on your computer (no extra cost), a video chat with someone elsewhere in the world or a large group video meeting where people can allow access to their desktops and literally present online.
Instant Messaging, Secure online chat, video chat, video hosting/casting and web conferencing are all available in one guise or another.
Instant Messaging or ‘IM’ is not just for people wanting to chat to their friends whilst online. With IM, you type a message, hit "send" and a few seconds later, your message pops up on the recipient's screen. Along with eliminating delays in waiting for an email response, IM cuts out the time consuming etiquette of a phone call and lets you avoid leaving telephone messages and waiting for a return call. However, perhaps more importantly, if you have a customer or client on the phone and don’t have a direct answer it is very simple to use the IM console to see who’s available, send them a quick message and get a response without having to call the customer or client back or put them on hold. Business IM functions also allow you to have a private ‘off the record’ chat (which will be made obvious to both parties) or to record chat information for future reference or relaying a conversation. All of this can save your business time and help you work more efficiently.
Some services allow you to post videos and webcasts on a secure platform, making them available to only those people you select. It works in much the same way as you tube but is all hosted privately allowing users to deal with the videos in the same way as they would through their cloud document management systems. The video below shows how Google use the video hosting app:
Chat and Video Chat
The idea here is simple, have a conversation as you would on your telephone or have a more advanced conversation where you can see your colleague or client. This is advantageous as it can sometimes be a great bonus to see who you are talking to and you can gage a great deal from their facial expressions and body language in real time.
Web Conferencing can enable people to have meetings on short notice no matter where they are. Time and money can be saved on travelling to meetings. The functions of some of these products are now extensive. Not only can people have meetings despite their location, they can also have private side chats, share documents with the integrated chat functions offered by products like office livemeeting. You can use for presentations and share your desktop with other users whom you can select. Various privileges can be granted to different users and presentations can be made by multiple users. Meeting participants can use chat to ask questions, ‘put their hand up’ in order to have an input and use video and/or voice chat to participate. The video below shows the advantages that many large companies have enjoyed using Microsoft Office Live Meeting: