Conference by Video
HP successfully brought unprecedented quality to videoconferencing with its high-end Halo systems for large corporations. It saw an opportunity to scale the technology for small and medium businesses, who increasingly have mobile staff and work in teams distributed across geographies. A high-quality video conferencing and desktop collaboration tool would help these teams collaborate more effectively, and save on travel costs. Because frog helped design the Halo systems, HP returned to us for the new system, dubbed Skyroom.
Good group collaboration is more important than ever for today’s fast-paced, complex projects, but teams are often spread out. Videoconferencing could bridge the gaps.
The goal of Skyroom was to create a user interface that would enable the kind of free-flowing interactions that take place naturally in face-to-face collaboration, but to do so in a virtual, distributed way and at a price that is attractive to smaller companies. High-end telepresence systems cost tens of thousands of dollars, while inexpensive consumer- grade systems are often poor quality, unreliable, and lack the necessary features for true collaboration.
Keeping It in the Room
To maintain the sense of being “around the table” while members of a meeting share a file, application, or item viewed through a webcam, Skyroom needed a modular, scalable user interface that adapted to quickly changing needs. A participant's video window dynamically scales larger or smaller to support the conversation topic. The design allows users to divide their screen between a selected area for file sharing and the participant video pane to continue the conversation. The interface design is approachable and easy to use, minimizing training and maximizing the productivity of each session.
Video When You Need It
One of the challenges with videoconferencing on a PC is the wide variety of hardware capabilities. Universal access is essential to keep the heart of collaboration pumping, so the team created a solution that worked for both high- and low-end systems. This flexibility allows users capable of handling demanding video to do so, with the option for others to use video selectively (for example, when adding clarity, transferring knowledge, or getting a point across).
SkyRoom delivers on two of HP’s imperatives: to deliver real-time HD video, which has never before been available on a platform for small-medium businesses; and to integrate real-time video, audio, and collaboration materials into a seamless experience. SkyRoom enables people in far-flung places interact as if they are sitting in the same room.