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Finding the right collaboration tools for your company

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Organizations of all sizes have turned to online collaboration and communication tools to get their employees out of their inbox and back to work.

In order to figure out what will work best for your organization, you need to look at your office culture and try to understand your collaboration needs.

Are the teams located in one office or spread out across offices all over the world – or is the entire team remote?

Discovering the right collaboration technology for the company to adopt will help employees be more productive.

When your organization is ready to invest in new collaboration tools, you can opt for an all-in-one system – which might be a company intranet or work management platform – or you can go a la carte and choose what will work best.

Most tools can be customized for your business and can also be integrated with apps you may already use.


Cisco Spark is a real-time communication system where team members can message one another, but it is much more sophisticated than a simple text exchange.

For example, Spark allows you to store and archive messages, meaning you can search and find an old conversation if you need to reference it.

You can use hashtags to mark keywords in conversations so that colleagues, who might not be in on the conversation now, can later quickly look up relevant chat histories.

There is also an alert system, so the right people’s ears will prick up when an important conversation is occurring on a topic that’s central to their work.


Cisco Spark also allows users to meet, message or call from the cloud.

Users can easily and quickly move from one type of communication to another – turning a phone call into a video meeting with content sharing or switching from a room system to a mobile phone.

Its ability to connect local calendar servers to the cloud also allows users to start meetings or automatically join from mobile devices.


Barco ClickShare is a solution that doesn’t reside on a network, can host up to 64 users at one time, provides high-quality video and audio and doesn’t affect bandwidth or connectivity of existing wireless networks.

End users can share content from a computer, laptop or mobile device over a Wi-Fi signal.

The content is then projected onto a television, projector or monitor in high definition, all with just a click of a button.


Polycom’s RealPresence Centro is designed as a collaboration and content-sharing hub for local and remote work teams.

The camera captures everyone in the room, even if you’re moving around, and the microphones and powered speakers provide high-quality audio.

Content sharing capabilities allow local and remote teams to share, annotate and save content.

Integration with Microsoft Outlook also makes it easy to start collaborating with one touch.

The RealPresence Centro is easy to use, requires very little training and can be integrated with remote teams to communicate and be seen, making meetings more interactive and easier for content sharing.


Throwing a new tool at a bunch of people and telling them to use it instead of email will never fly.

To start using a collaboration tool successfully, all key players on the team need to buy into it – and it has to be integrated into the existing corporate culture for it to work

Destiny Heimbecker is marketing manager for Vistacom Inc. in Allentown, providing the company with product marketing, business writing and design expertise. She can be reached at dheimbecker@vistacominc.com.

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