Telemedicine by Satellite

You can conduct a telemedicine consultation over any kind of internet connection. For patients in remote areas with no connectivity, satellite internet is the answer. The VSee team relied on satellite internet when we deployed telemedicine to refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Watch this video to learn more about how satellite internet works.

As you can see, satellite internet allows people to connect when wi-fi and 4G are out of the question. Thanks to satellite internet, anyone can see a doctor through telemedicine.

Is WebRTC Video Conference Ready for Market?

webrtc video

WebRTC and the promise of video calls right from your web browser has captivated the media and businesses over the past few years. So it’s not unusual for us to get questions about how VSee compares with WebRTC video.  Recently, we got this interesting question from a customer:

From your expertise, how much dev time would VSee save me over building my own VC system utilizing Web-RTC with other supporting open-source technology?  I have a development team with 4 engineers.

Building your own video conferencing system using WebRTC with just 4 engineers is an impossible task – if you’re trying to go to market fast and if you want to achieve high performance.  With that many engineers, you can touch up the interface of WebRTC video, but you can’t improve its performance. When Google open sourced WebRTC technology, it opened up an exciting new world of possibilities for developers.  However, it’s also worth noting that Google also held back a number of WebRTC components when it purchased On2 (the source of WebRTC video) and GIPS (the source of WebRTC audio).  So the truth is that while WebRTC performs better than Flash, its raw open source performance still isn’t that great. This is why even Google uses Vidyo to run Google Hangouts instead of fully employing its own WebRTC technology.

The Road to Great Video Performance

To develop great video performance, you have to do deep video work, and there are only a few companies out there who have successfully done this – VidyoLifeSizeZoom, VSee and of course, the big guys such as PolycomMicrosoftCisco / Tandberg…. Every one of these companies have two things in common 1) they have spent years working on video, and 2) they have large engineering teams devoted to video work. Working on video is like an arms race – either you commit a lot of engineers to constantly upgrade or you quickly fall behind on the performance curve.

Furthermore, developing great raw video performance isn’t going to be your only issue.  Keeping your servers operational 24×7 under a heavy load will be another big chunk of engineering time that is more than enough work to keep your developers busy. People expect video to work like the phone—when you need to use it, it works. Since everybody starts with SIP or XMPP server open source stack, you will need to do a lot of hands-on engineering to fix and improve what’s needed.  We have 4 engineers alone dedicated just to improving our server performance.

To Use or Not To Use WebRTC Video?

So your choices are:

  1. Stay on the WebRTC video performance curve. In that case, using 1 engineer to keep up with its interfaces would be more than enough.  You could also use OpenTok video API, which gives you a nice wrapper over WebRTC.

  2. Go native yourself. This would require investing in a large team of engineers and years of work – as VSee and our competitors have done.

  3. License video conference from VSee or one of our competitors and get the highest video quality out there.

WebRTC is a fantastic technology, and is definitely the direction to go.  In fact, VSee uses the WebRTC audio echo cancellation code in our audio pipeline.  However, at this point in time, WebRTC video is still immature, and companies betting on WebRTC will probably still have to wait 2-3 years before it is ready…or at least wait until Google starts uses WebRTC in its own products.

Milton, VSee CEO

Worksnug Interviews VSee on Video Conferencing Productivity

Video link: Worksnug interview – Milton on Video Conferencing Productivity

Check out Worksnug community manager San Sharma‘s interview of VSee CEO, Milton Chen.  In 20 minutes they packed in everything from

  • why Cisco WebEx is great for sales presentations, but bad for virtual teams
  • how a 1 second delay in clicking can mean a 50% loss of productivity
  • what you need for good video communication

About Worksnug

WorkSnug is a tool that connects mobile workers to the nearest and best places to work in the major cities of the world.  With dozens of teams around the globe, they review hundreds of viable workspaces for such things as WiFi, noise levels, power provision, community feel, even the quality of the coffee.  Users can also add their own reviews to Worksnug’s extensive database.  Get reviews from the website, or better yet, from WorkSnug’s free Augmented Reality iPhone app.

More mobile working tips

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VSee Live Demo at Sales 2.0: Face Power To Build Trust (And Get More Sales!)

Sales 2.0 marketing conference

VSee is the simplest way to bring the face back into today’s technology-mediated sales process, allowing sales people to make more money.  As Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference opening keynote speaker Gerhard Gschwandtner says, VSee could be “the next big breakthrough for online sales presentations!”

Check out first hand what makes VSee a game-changer for salespeople.  As a silver sponsor of this year’s Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, VSee will be doing on-site demos at this year’s conference.  Swing by the VSee booth in the Veranda Ballroom Foyer between talks on the value of social technologies for enterprise.

Sales 2.0 Conference info

Monday, Oct. 22: 7:00 am – 6:45 pm
Tuesday, Oct. 23: 7:30 am – 6:30 pm
Location: Four Seasons, San Francisco
757 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: 415.633.3636
Follow on Twitter #s20c

Research shows us that trust is a key ingredient to getting people to change their behavior.  But we all know this because we’re more likely to go to a restaurant recommended by a good friend than one recommended by a newspaper. It’s also why salespeople are regularly advised to build trust and rapport with customers and clients.

While this may be great advice, actually getting people to trust you can be another matter.  This can become complicated and time consuming with all the different media channels and social technology available for communication.  However, most of us tend to find richer media more satisfying emotionally and more conducive to building interpersonal trust.  Management researchers Kahai and Cooper have found that using “richer media can have significantly positive impacts on decision quality when participants’ task relevant knowledge is high.”

Perhaps a large part of this is due to the role of nonverbal communications in conveying trust.   Professor Rebecca Naylor from Fisher School of Business notes that “judgments based on nonverbal cues can be surprisingly accurate, particularly of personality traits relevant to the domain in which the target is being judged.” According to an article from the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, for salespeople, 60 to 70 percent of communication can hinge on nonverbal communications.  Furthermore, it cites research that says “buyers today continue to assess the trustworthiness of relationship partners based on their impressions from the initial face-to-face encounter.”

As the simplest video conferencing and screen share tool, VSee makes face to face encounters for salespeople easy and effective.

Articles referenced

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Telecommuting Robots Can Boost Your Career

Would you consider using an office robot to telecommute? -WSJ poll

telecommuting robot

I’m a definite “yes”!  As a remote worker, I know that getting in face time and making myself seem “real” and personable to coworkers is crucial.  In fact, studies show that workers who put in less “face time” are less likely to be credited for working as hard as the one who does.  Studies also show that seeing and interacting with team members in their regular work environment is a big factor in improving virtual team relationships. So anything that boosts my presence and improves my work relationships sounds good to me, even if it means being a telecommuting robot.

But just how much “presence” and work context does a $9700 proxy robot give you?  Over the summer, WSJ reporter Rachel Silverman has been trying out one of these QB-82s (by Anybot, Inc) from her home office and tells of her experiences as a telecommuting robot:

“The robot made me feel closer to distant colleagues…. During my robot days, I interacted with co-workers I’d never met before, as well as others I hadn’t talked with in years; each of them was compelled to greet me as I cruised down the hall. I chitchatted at the office coffee bar, a more lively scene than sipping coffee alone in my kitchen.

…People connected with Robot Rachel, whose friendly mien was hard to resist….  I even chatted with the Journal’s top editor at the daily morning-news meeting, which never happened before from my desk in Texas.”

Source:  WSJ – Life As A Telecommuting Robot

Silverman shares that another QB user, Faith Brady at Elance Inc, is even able to fulfill her receptionist duties from across the country in Illinoise, greeting guests and offering them a drink at the company’s location in Mountain View, California.

Research with telepresence robots also has also proved to be very positive.  Cisco researchers found that people tended to be “more honest and open” with robot proxies than with human colleagues.  Microsoft researchers led by Gina Venolia found that they improved work relationships. A previous VSee blog post sums it up:

Remote workers…felt like they were more connected to the team and able to participate more fully in office life.  Their coworkers felt more familiar and friendly towards their remote counterparts and were able to interact with them in a more physical way, which also made them seem more real, especially those they had never met in person.

Source: VSee – Move Over Mini Me, Meet Virtual Me

Of course, with all the time consuming technical glitches Silverman and WSJ staff faced, it doesn’t look like the world of Star Wars or Buck Rogers is right around the corner.  Besides, robot proxies only work if you’ve got a few telecommuters.  What if you’re running a virtual office or an office where the majority of people are away from their desks on any given day?  In many cases, videoconferencing is still the way to go.  With more and more people working “flexibly,” video is becoming an essential work tool and not just an amusing diversion.  Versatile desktop video solutions like VSee abound the market these days, so it’s now easier than ever to find something that fits your remote work needs!

Related articles:

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photo courtesy: Anybots, Inc.

VSee: Video Chat + Collaboration Go Together Like Chips and Salsa

video conference interview over VSee“So how is VSee different from Skype?”

This is one of the most commonly asked questions we get at VSee.   It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain unless you’ve seen VSee in action.  I like how E27’s Joanna Yeo says it in her recent VSee article: VSee kicks “video conferencing up a notch with simplicity in performing collaborative work and high security of information transmission.”

What this means is VSee is a business tool specifically designed to make the collaboration workflow fast and seamless while Skype is more about chatting with friends and family.  That’s not to say people don’t use Skype for business purposes, but why use a rock to nail something together if you’ve got a hammer at hand?

Continue Reading…

6 More Video Job Interview Mistakes To Avoid

businessman-with-wire-messIn another video job interview tips post , we went over 6 bloopers in video presentation and environment control.  Today, we’ll talk about 6 technical/equipment pitfalls to avoid in your upcoming video conference interview.  Video calling is still relatively new, and people sometimes don’t have enough experience using video conferencing software and end up making mistakes that can easily be avoided.Continue Reading…

NIH Successfully Uses VSee For Medical Interpretation Over 3G Networks

Polycom telemedicine cartWhile videoconferencing carts (H.323 standard definition) are supposed to be portable and easy to use, this isn’t necessarily the case. It becomes quite an inconvenience if the unit regularly needs to be set up in a room that is off its network, like the interpretation office of this study. The complaint was that these units “took time to set up and…used up space,” causing NIH and Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston) researchers to look for a more mobile and convenient videoconferencing solution.Continue Reading…

Is It Okay To Check E-mail During A Video Conference?

 width=Last week, I came across this Entrepreneur article on video conferencing etiquette, and now I’m dying to hear what everybody thinks should be in the “rules of video conferencing etiquette.”  As noted in the article, we’re on rather new turf when it comes to video conferencing, so the rules are still evolving, and the traditional politesse of face-to-face and phone don’t necessarily apply.

Why bother with etiquette?

For me etiquette deals with two main issues:

  1. Beauty – making the visual and technical experience as painless and pleasant as possible, and
  2. Social Sensitivity – making participants feel respected, acknowledged, and able to contribute.

Of course these two things often go hand in hand, like the rule of no gum-chewing.  Aesthetically, it’s not particularly pleasant to have to watch and listen to someone chomp on gum as they’re talking.  Culturally, it’s probablyContinue Reading…

In the Year of Video Calling

 width=Has The Day Arrived?

Polycom isn’t the only one who thinks that the interactive video field is ripe for harvest.  Zillions of video and web conferencing solutions have been popping up trying to get a piece of what looks to be a giant roast.  Consider the signs…

The video conferencing industry has also gotten a big push from a tight economy, rising gas prices, and a fear ofContinue Reading…

How To Keep Your Job When It Moves

 width=Amir was the Director of Quality Assurance for a California-based medical devices company when it was bought out by another company in 2008.  Consequently, it was relocated to Naples, Florida.  Amir was in no position to pick up his family and move there, but because of his 14 years experience and familiarity with the company, he was an invaluable resource that they wanted to keep around. He continued doing some special projects for them and for the past year and a half he has been kept on as a retainer through his own consulting company, Medical Device Diagnostics. This was largely made possible through the helping hand of the VSee software.  I talked with Amir about the difference it has made for him:

Continue Reading…

Videoconference Interviews Are Replacing The Face-to-Face

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Face-to-face interviews are the preferred selection tool for recruiters, but this may be changing as videoconference technology becomes more available and easy to use.   It  doesn’t hurt that videoconference interviews take up less resources in terms of people, time, money, and environmental impact.  They allow companies to broaden their applicant pool in a world that’s becoming more globally competitive.  More than half of the largest U.S. companies do videoconference interviews. The Modern Language Association (MLA) has increased their use of videoconference interviews from 12% to 18%, and any college career center worth its saltContinue Reading…

A VSee Telepsychiatry Story

Summary:  VSee user Dr. Russell E. Brown shares how VSee has helped him successfully practice telepsychiatry.

telepsychiatry telemedicine

Last week I got to speak with neurologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Russell E. Brown from Atlanta, Georgia.  He is the Program Director of Avenia Behavioral Management and works with elderly patients suffering from such issues as Alzheimer’s and dementia. As a physician who provides care to patients at various clinics, Dr. Brown has enthusiastically embraced the use of VSee in his practice.  It allows him to fill prescriptions without having to be there in person, and more importantly, he can greatly expand the number of clinics he can work with!

Me: What differences has VSee made in your practice?

Dr. Brown: Time-management and convenience.  That’s really been the main difference.  Most of the clinics are 4 hour clinics, so in the middle of the day you just have to leave and go someplace else.  I usually go to 2 clinics each day–9 to 1 at one clinic and then another one from about 3 to 7.   Between getting lunch and having to drive an hour, you can burn up 2 to 3 hours in the middle of the day, and in that time you may be able to see 1 or 2 new patients.

Certain clinics may not even have 4 hour clinics.  They may only have 2 hours, so you’re going from point A, another hour, point B, another hour, point C…and what this tool allows you to do is eliminate a lot of that dead space. You can just flip from one environment into another without having that hour of down time and that allows you a lot more efficiency.

Me: What are the direct cost benefits of using VSee or do you feel that the benefits are mostly intangibles?

Dr. Brown: I’m able to get to a lot of rural environments like Savannah and Augusta (I do those primarily on the weekends and sometimes during the week), so I can expand my business across the state, and that’s an enormous absolute benefit.  Even just staying in Atlanta, there is a cost benefit.  You pay 40 to 50 dollars for a [VSee] license, and you may spend that much in a week on gas so that’s at least 300% or 400% savings in cost.  Then in terms of  wear and tear on the car, and the ability to have an extra hour of clinic time, it becomes a no brainer.

Me: How many video conferencing units do you use?

Dr. Brown: We’ve got VSee in about 10 different environments and we’ll probably grow that a little more in the next 6 months.

Me: Have you tried using other videoconferencing services before?

Dr. Brown: We tried Polycom before and had a lot of trouble.  It just wasn’t as easy to use, and it didn’t offer the “collaborative documentation” capabilites benefit.  What I say “collaborative documentation” I mean that if I have a nurse on the other side, he or she can actually start filling in some of the data on my progress report–patient data, history–as I’m talking.  It allows for true collaboration in documentation where everybody can contribute to the construction of a patient’s medical record.  Even the patient can fill in their own data if they’re confident.  Then all I have to do is write the plan and sign off and it’s all right there.  I can e-mail it to them or give it to them across the screen

Me: Thanks Dr. Brown for your time and sharing how much VSee has made a difference for you!

If you have a VSee story you’d like to share, please tell us!  You can comment below or send us a note. We’d love to hear from you!

Follow us on Twitter (@VSee) and Like us on Facebook to hear about the latest from VSee! By the way, we are hiring too.

photo courtesy to Cea

 

Why It’s Important To See Your Coworkers

monkey see, monkey do

Summary:  Mirror neurons may be the key to explaining why it’s so important to see people for social interactions.

With the remote work revolution seriously getting underway, a recent article from Knowledge @ Wharton Today reminds us that remote workers may be losing more knowledge than we know from the lack of face-to-face contact and physical proximity with their coworkers. More specifically, neuroscience research on “mirror” brain cells gives new meaning to the phrase “monkey see, monkey do.”Continue Reading…

Team Building: A Lesson From Rugby

team building huddleSomeone had asked earlier what team building exercises VSee does.  My initial reaction was “we don’t,” because we don’t really do ropes courses or packaged team building retreats, but I realized that one of the most important team building exercises we do is the daily stand-up meeting.  Jason Yip of Thoughtworks wrote an excellent piece on“Patterns Of Daily Stand-Up Meetings” noted that just regularly communicating, working together, and helping each other does a much better job of team-building than any contrived exercises could. /><a class=Continue Reading…

A Missing Link in the History of the Videophone

There are many historical time lines of videoconferencing on the Internet. A nice one is from an earlier post on this very blog. Most of these histories identify the AT&T ikonophone as the first working video phone. Although a milestone in its own right, it was not the first videophone as we think of them today. While the audio was two-way, the video was only one-way.

The first true videophone system, with two-way video and two-way audio, came about in Nazi Germany.

 width=Continue Reading…

How Critical Is Instant Messaging When Making Video Calls?

 width=At last Friday’s lunch meeting, what started off as a walk-through of the VSee development road map, highlighting recent improvements and anticipating future features and functionality, quickly degenerated into passionate debate about whether VSee needed to include instant messaging in it’s next major release.

I don’t think it was a question of whether or not we want to have this function, but rather  a question ofContinue Reading…

Why Team Building Retreats Don’t Improve Team Work

 width=In a study of virtual teams, Stanford management science professor Pamela Hinds found that 6 months after virtual team members participated in an intense week-long team building retreat there was zero correlation to their ability to work together.  Hinds believes that in order to increase a group’s relational coordination or ability to problem-solve through mutual respect and open communication, members need to “know-who” each other are in their work contexts.  Bringing people who don’t usually see each other to do team building exercises in a neutral hotel doesn’t help because Hinds points out, “the truth is we don’t work in neutral territory.”

She emphasizes, “Learning to work together is learning how people work, not just what kind of beer do you like,” even though she adds, “that’s useful information.”Continue Reading…

Do You Have Collaboration Velocity?

Last September, Frost & Sullivan came up with a new way to measure the “collaborativeness” of  visual collaboration technology.  It looks like a plug for Magor Telecollaboration dressed in pseudo-scientific language to me; but, it does suggest a quantitative way of analyzing whether a collaborative product is worth its return of investment (ROI).

How to measure your product’s Cv
Collaboration goes beyond a simple exchange of information; rather, it’s a series of communication exchanges that moves all involved parties towards a common goal.  To measure a tool’s ability to facilitate collaboration, Frost and Sullivan created a unit of measurement calledContinue Reading…

No Teleworker Left Behind

If a teleworker is fearing that he or she is less valued than an on-site worker I would say either 1) that person has a bad manager or 2) that manager doesn’t know how to manage a remote team.  It has been well-documented that remote workers lose a lot of valuable social interactions with their coworkers over distance, which may lead to lowered personal trust, a sense of isolation, pent up frustrations, and weakened social ties and group identification.  These problems can be overcome with time and effort by recognizing the needs of the remote worker.  Since the manager often becomes the person’s lifeline to the company, it is the manager’s job toContinue Reading…

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