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Multimedia PTT – Improving Collaboration and Increasing Productivity for Those That “Get Stuff Done”

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Since it was first uttered some 470 years ago, people have been using the phrase “two heads are better than one” to describe the positive impact collaboration can have on our productivity ̶ and for good reason. Ryota Kanai and Michael Banissy reported in their 2010 Scientific American article, Are Two Heads Better Than One? It Depends, on test results that showed, when allowed to communicate freely, collaborators could, indeed, combine information to reach a level of productivity and performance that was not achievable individually.

The enhanced level of productivity and performance is why knowledge workers, you know the ones that “think for a living”, have long used collaboration as integral part of their work process. Knowledge workers took advantage of a common office environment to meet in person because face-to-face communication allowed them to talk, see and share with one another in real-time, as part of their normal workflow. Face-to-face communications also provided them with immediate feedback on whether the message, idea, or thought being conveyed was understood.

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Many companies are now coming to understand that their success is also dependent on the productivity of workers on the frontline, and that collaboration has just as big an impact on their productivity as it does for workers in an office. As John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison noted in their 2010 Harvard Business Review article, Are All Employees Knowledge Workers, if Japanese automakers taught us anything it’s that workers in what appear to be highly routine roles are problem-solvers whose productivity also benefits from collaboration.

At the forefront in this expanded use of collaboration are those frontline workers who “get stuff done” in industries such as service, construction, manufacturing, and transportation. Companies are finding that enhancing collaboration for frontline workers, such as these, is the key to increasing productivity, reducing costs, and improving quality throughout the organization.

As with workers in an office environment, successful collaboration for frontline workers relies on free flowing, real-time multimedia communication to allow them to use voice, video, and images to share thoughts, ideas and concepts. And, the communications must be available whenever and wherever the collaborators are, in the plant, in the field, across the state, or across time zones; organizations are geographically distributed, workers are mobile, and their collaboration tools need to support this new reality.

Which brings us to the importance of Multimedia PTT. Workers who “get stuff done” aren’t sitting in a meeting, in a video conference room, or at a desk, so they need a solution that allows them to walk and talk and collaborate without disrupting their normal workflow. By integrating voice, video, data, and text in a single push-to-talk application, Multimedia PTT provides these workers with the tool they need to bring the robustness of face-to-face communications to remote collaboration. Utilizing different media in a single, instantaneous communications session, makes it possible for users that need to walk and talk while collaborating to still increase clarity, enhance contextual understanding, and exchange real-time feedback while they work. 

For example, an HVAC installation team at a customer site needs assistance with the startup procedure for an air conditioning system with a new central controller. This is the first time the new controller is being installed and the instructions in the field manual aren’t working. The crew supervisor uses Multimedia PTT to first describe the issue to an engineer at headquarters, and then push a video of the startup procedure the team is following. Because the engineer can see the procedure, the mistake is quickly identified and the engineer pushes a text message with the updated procedure to the supervisor. With Multimedia PTT, the time to correct the mistake is reduced, a second site visit avoided, and the productivity of the crew increased.

In summary, there’s no doubt that, in harnessing their collective knowledge, workers can create better products, more efficient processes, and an overall safer and more productive work environment. What’s also clear is that effective collaboration cannot take place without free flowing, interactive multimedia communications. Only with Multimedia PTT can companies, organizations, and agencies get information where it’s needed, to those on the frontline so they can continue to “get stuff done” with greater speed and efficiency than ever before.

About the Author

Michael Doerk is senior manager of product marketing at Kodiak. He has extensive experience with telecommunications solutions, having previously held marketing and management positions with Nortel Networks, Ericsson, Intervoice and DSC Communications. Mr. Doerk holds a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Dallas and a Bachelors in Engineering from the University of Central Florida.

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