Virtual meetings have been the mainstay for many businesses for quite some time, but since early 2020 the demand for virtual meetings has expanded significantly. Not only are businesses doing more virtual communications than ever, social events have moved online too.
As the business world now considers new norms of working, many are looking to “hybrid” models offering staff more work-from-home flexibility with brick-and-mortar office facilities available to support occasional on-site collaboration and team working.
Virtual meetings are here to stay and the global pandemic has created a dynamic where teams have gotten really quite good, and quite comfortable at collaborating virtually.
But are there challenges?
Even long-term home-office workers have their challenging days when network services and telecommunications networks just aren’t up for the task of demanding web collaboration.
Getting into a call is the first hurdle – can you connect?
Connections don’t always happen. Inbound toll-free or toll services can suffer routing errors and wrong terminations. Outbound dialing can be impacted by carrier capacity or carrier interconnnect issues.
Once in a meeting, is the collaboration and information exchange comfortable?
“You’re on mute” must be one of the most commonly used phrases these days, but far more complex issues can, and do, inject noise, echo, latency, and jitter into a call.
One-way audio, low gain, or quality degradation due to carrier transcoding/compression can all impact meetings. In the world of conferencing, where multiple persons each bring some level of poor quality into a call, the collective experience can decline exponentially.
Typical network monitoring toolsets enable businesses to monitor performance on their internal network. Beyond their edge lies a big blind spot.
Employees connect from their home network, customers and suppliers originate their calls from their own private networks, cloud-telephony solutions are supporting some meeting participants, and much of what goes on is going on in the mysterious space beyond the network edge.
Proactive monitoring or “active path testing” helps businesses to gain visibility into this mysterious space beyond the network edge.
A systematic approach leveraging toolsets allows telecommunications and network professionals to generate test calls from key market locations into their private network, and from their private network into key localities, using fixed line providers or mobile network operators.
Active path testing in this way allows end-to-end performance management based on geographic areas of interest, specific carriers partners, or service types. A proactive approach also drives continuous improvement so that the effectiveness of virtual meetings is maximised.