In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, it’s clear that remote work and distributed teams are here to stay, even after the pandemic recedes. While some workers will gradually find their way back to in-person (office or otherwise) workplace settings, this is just the on-ramp to the highway of working from anywhere for many others. These permanently hybrid in-person/remote teams need the means and tech tools to communicate and collaborate just as effectively and perhaps more frequently than before.

In fact, during his Enterprise Connect 2020 virtual session, Ira Weinstein of analyst firm Recon Research presented data showing that 89 percent of information workers are now using video conferencing more than once a week to connect for work, up from 48 percent pre-pandemic.

Amidst all the change, one thing that hasn’t changed is Lifesize’s focus on customer feedback and addressing real-world business needs. In response to the global shift in work models, usage patterns and that customer feedback, we reprioritized our video conferencing and collaboration product roadmap months ago, focusing on a bevy of new features that make remote work a more pleasant, simple, personalized and secure experience for end users as well as the IT and AV administrators that support them. We have been progressively introducing these capabilities to our customers as they have become available, and have already heard from many of them about the impact these efforts have had on their ability to empower employees to stay connected and get work done.

We tend to group our product enhancements into those impacting user experience and those effecting the IT management experience. Both are represented equally in today’s announcement, and we’ve further subdivided them into those that make it easier to join meetings, those that elevate the in-meeting experience or those that provide more security, flexibility and control.

Enhancing Video Conferencing Experiences for Remote Workers and Remote Admins

Making It Easier to Join Meetings

Nothing stalls out a meeting like when hosts or participants experience turbulence joining or getting the meeting off the ground. That process needs to be smooth, consistent and efficient, no matter what device, browser or work location a user prefers, or else they will abandon the platform altogether.

To ensure consistency, we’ve introduced a newly designed login and streamlined join meeting experience for both paid users and guests across all devices. Regardless of their account type or preferred desktop or mobile device, participants are greeted by the familiar few steps, look and feel of joining a Lifesize meeting. And to address efficiency, we are refreshing our add-on integrations for both Microsoft Outlook and Google G Suite, two of the main drivers of daily workplace productivity. Now, users can even more easily schedule or start Lifesize meetings straight from their preferred apps, without interrupting workflows.

Other new features making it easier to join and start meetings include enhanced directory support and a dedicated ‘call me’ link on the Lifesize dashboard.

Elevating the In-Meeting Experience

Once teams are comfortably situated in virtual meetings, it’s all about encouraging engagement and natural collaboration. Most notably in pursuit of engagement, we are embarking on a phased rollout of new meeting layouts that include gallery, panel and active speaker views plus a revamped user interface and several helpful meeting navigation features, further modernizing the entire Lifesize video meeting experience. Stay tuned to this space for more.

Other new features elevating the in-meeting experience include ‘raise hand’ capabilities for all Lifesize Icon meeting room systems and group chat in all meetings.

Providing More Security, Flexibility and Control

Due to unprecedented growth in video usage and remote work, security, privacy and remote management features have become increasingly important for business and IT leaders working to keep employees connected, safe and productive. Beyond existing security features like passcodes and SSO authentication, we will be introducing waiting rooms to give moderators even more choice and control over who enters their meetings and when.

Live streams have also become increasingly valuable during remote work, as they provide an avenue for customer update calls, company town hall meetings and virtual events. Now, Lifesize administrators can set up, host and record live streams that are embedded directly into their organization’s website, offering significantly more flexible branding options and continuity of experience.

Other new features providing further security, flexibility and control include advanced meeting moderation, user permission settings and remote room system management.

For more information on all these features and functionality, read today’s press release or follow our What’s New support page.