Elly Yates-Roberts |
According to Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI: “There are only two types of companies; those that have been hacked, and those that will be.”
Cybersecurity continues to rise to the top of businesses’ priority lists, especially as they deal with the increasing challenges of hybrid working.
“We’re now in a situation where people can work from home, a cafe or anywhere else, and they are using public networks in those spaces,” says James Spencer, a video solutions director at collaboration technology provider Jabra. “With this change in network usage and security risk, our video technologies provide an additional layer of protection with edge processing.”
Jabra has enhanced its camera solutions so that they can process video streams and data all within the device. “We're not sending this information into the cloud, which enables us to reduce the likelihood of a data breach on critical data,” says Spencer. “This also has additional benefits for efficiency – by processing data on the device itself we can prevent a video or audio lag that can be extremely distracting during a virtual meeting.”
Cybersecurity defences may not be typically associated with video conferencing solutions, but Jabra is more than just a hardware creator. “A lot of what we do is based around artificial intelligence (AI),” says Spencer. “It is built into all of our cameras.”
Jabra’s in-built AI provides a variety of features for users. For example, it can identify speakers and centre them within the frame, providing optimal visibility for other meeting attendees. Spencer also highlights PeopleCount, which could offer key business insights as hybrid working becomes part of the everyday work environment.
“This can offer crucial information for understanding how people are using meeting rooms as they return to the office,” he says. “If a business leader knows that, on average, five people are using a room built for 10, they might decide to split that room in half. The AI can provide businesses with the data to make better decisions.”
Jabra has also launched a new feature for its personal camera, PanaCast 20, that enables users to blur or replace their video background with a solid colour. “This feature is already available on Microsoft Teams, but we have taken it one step further by making the visual change on the device,” says Spencer. “When you change a background on Teams, it actually happens in the cloud. Data is being transmitted into the cloud and then back out again. This poses a security risk, particularly for highly regulated industries such as financial services.”
There are other security benefits with Jabra’s solutions, beyond its innovative use of AI. “We have a central software platform called Jabra Xpress that provides IT administrators with a more unified approach to device management,” says Spencer. “This is particularly helpful given the hybrid and remote working situations of many employees today. IT staff can change settings on those devices and see exactly what is being used and how.”
A recent report from Jabra found that 60 per cent of the employees prefer hybrid working. Despite this, only 39 per cent have the opportunity to do so. While staff are seeing the benefits of a more flexible approach to work, many employers are resisting the change.
“I think it’s a slightly outdated perspective, because the research shows the success of hybrid and remote working,” says Spencer. “We are trying to help businesses understand the benefits, which include reduced real estate and cost savings. When people are looking for jobs, hybrid working is now a prerequisite for applying.”
While some businesses resist the move to hybrid working, others are fully embracing it. For the latter, Jabra is working to deliver meeting equity between those in the office and those elsewhere. “It’s really about making virtual and hybrid meetings as lifelike as possible,” says Spencer.
For example, PanaCast 50 – Jabra’s video sound bar – has a whiteboard tool that enables meeting participants to use a dual-camera stream, with one focusing on a physical whiteboard. “I’ve been in so many meetings as a remote participant where in-person attendees are scribbling on a whiteboard, but I can’t see what’s going on,” says Spencer. “Our dual-stream capability removes this challenge and ensures that all participants have the same experience.”
PanaCast 50 also now includes Dynamic Composition, a feature which enables those joining meetings remotely to view up to four of the most recent speakers face to face, matching the view of front-facing personal video conferencing cameras. “We want users to feel seen and heard at all times, from wherever they are working,” says Spencer. “These capabilities are a good place for organisations to start delivering the hybrid working strategies that employees want, and that could have huge business benefits moving forward.”
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.