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Vpod: An Entire Videoconferencing Experience Wrapped Up In A Modular (Podular?) Package

February 14, 2013 | David S. Maldow, Esq.

It is no secret that when it comes to visual collaboration, the environment and overall experience are crucial. You can't simply drop a videoconferencing system into a meeting room and expect magic. The human factors of a meeting must be considered; it has to be a natural, comfortable, collaborative experience in order to maximize adoption and productivity. Any little thing, from bad acoustics, to awkward camera angles, to distracting decor, can take away from what is really important, the work you team is actually trying to accomplish in any given meeting.

We recently spoke with the folks at Vpod, a company that gives every aspect of the visual collaboration experience the full attention to detail that we feel is required to ensure a perfect experience. Vpod offers a variety of solutions, including full sized rooms, and the personal workspace "Cube" shown above. Vpod's solutions all share the same basic philosophy of integrating visual collaboration technology into a complete environment designed with actual human users in mind.

Vpod is much more than just a video system positioned correctly across a meeting room table. Vpod solutions can be fully enclosed meeting rooms, set up inside a large interior room (the Vpods are scalable to fit your space). This allows Vpod to ensure that every aspect of the experience is conducive to a distraction free, productive, workspace. In fact, Vpod reports that their customers often find themselves using Vpod spaces for in-person working sessions, or just for a little privacy from the general workspace.

Today's working teams often work in common areas, using shared workstations, or cubicles. As much as we appreciate desktop videoconferencing, a more immersive experience is still incredibly valuable. In particular, longer working sessions with detailed shared data are less of a mental strain in a Vpod due to its design and attention to detail. Each element, from the lighting, to colors, to acoustics, to furniture placement and positioning, to the whiteboard, to the choice of carpet and air filtration system is designed based on studies of actual meeting room usage.

The attention to detail is impressive. For example, Vpod noted that meeting attendees often place their jackets across the back of their chairs, which then annoys them throughout the meeting. As a result, appropriate Vpod rooms have coathooks on the wall near the entrance. In and of itself, this is not a groundbreaking feature, but it is indicative of the level of focus and attention that Vpod applies to aspect of their solutions.

Despite all the discussion about telepresence being "dead" we continue to see the principles of telepresence effectively applied to collaborative environments. There is just no way of getting around the fact that if you take the human factors of a meeting into consideration when designing your collaborative workspace, you can create a much more productive environment. Setting up a Vpod room doesn't just give your employees a videoconferencing tool, it gives them a private workspace with minimal distractions for maximum productivity.

About the Author
David_Maldow, Esq.David Maldow, Esq. is a visual collaboration technologist and analyst with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration / rich media solutions. David is focused on providing third-party independent analysis and opinion of these technologies and helping end users better secure their telepresence, videoconferencing, and visual collaboration environments. You can follow David on Twitter and Google+.

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