Quezon City, Philippines.
We are quite fortunate nowadays, that technology has provided us with tools that enable us to collaborate remotely—in fact, globally to that extent. I had the opportunity of using this technology in managing to successful-completion, all the regional and global initiatives that were under my watch while working for the Holcim Group Support (HGRS), Inc.—while based in Bangkok and Zurich, respectively.
While my responsibility then covered only Holcim’s initiatives in the Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials (AFR) business sub-segment; but geographically, in the Asia-Pacific region alone, Holcim operated in five countries; and globally, it was a daunting-challenge for 80-countries. There was no other option, but to resort to using whatever available tools for remote-collaboration, among others. We were fortunate to have our own proprietary remote-collaboration software/ application during that time.
My experiences these days point to specific tools currently available in the market, that if properly used would save lots of effort among stakeholders involved in any multi-location endeavors that are now being normally undertaken by Virtual Teams i.e., to include but not limited to, travel time and mileage that eventually will result to reductions in transportation CO2-emissions. When initiating a remote undertaking, however, it is important that a “Kick-off Meeting” be conducted; where all the stakeholders will be given the opportunity to physically and socially interact and assess each other’s personal qualities and capabilities.
There are two (2) important MUST-have components in any remote-collaboration space:
- A voice-system that will allow all participants to express their respective issues/ concerns, and hear each other through synchronous verbal-communications, and
- A visual-system that will enable all participants to synchronously see what is being discussed.
Two facilities stand out among the present crop of audio-visual-over-internet service-providers: 1.) Skype, and 2.) Join.me. While each provides features that address all the aforementioned requirements (normally for a fee) but I will only discuss in this blog the ever-popular FREE-features in each.
Skype is a pioneer service-provider while Join.me is the latest one that jumped into the audio-visual over-internet bandwagon. Using the free-features of these online applications is usually adequate for a small-sized conferences of up to 10-parties. The features that I am referring to are the following:
Once registered, using Skype’s free conference voice-call facility is straight-forward as explained in this video-tutorial. Lacking adequate information on the bandwidth that is being used by conference-participants, it is always safe to utilize voice-calls over video-calls as the latter normally requires a wider bandwidth hence, prone to disruptions.