NHS Videoconferencing in a Microsoft Teams World
The early dawn of videoconferencing through your PC and laptop has been accelerated to light speeds due to the unprecedented demand created by COVID-19. Thousands of individual users across the NHS have signed up with a plethora of different service providers that offer free web-based conferencing services; Zoom, Lifesize, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts to name just a few. These users are often operating in small groups, and generally getting on with their day to day business of saving lives. But it leaves a significant headache for IT & Network teams across the country to try and provide desktop support on an individual basis rather than a Trust wide basis.
This is not a new problem, seminar rooms with different technologies across the country have been connecting for Cancer Network Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) for over 20 years. MDT seminar rooms that were already enabled for videoconferencing did so using traditional hardware-based videoconferencing systems from the likes of Cisco and Polycom. Until recently they communicated via the N3 Videoconferencing service, but with the migration to Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) access to that service is coming, or for many, has come to an end. Some hospitals are still to find a secure and reliable solution to replace the N3 service, some have an interim solution via the web but many now have implemented a solution to connect via HSCN.
For these, it has often been a significant expenditure but with the strike of COVID-19, the goal posts have just been moved again.
Is Microsoft Teams the Solution?
The mass availability of Microsoft Teams for NHS Mail users from NHS Digital at the beginning of lockdown is creating a nationwide impetus and we are now starting to see Trusts look to Teams as their standard for videoconferencing. After all, its already on the desktop so no additional licenses or subscriptions, everyone is already using it so there is no additional training needed and frankly it just works.
But there is a problem. Teams is a technology island; it has no current open standards interoperability and even the much-vaunted interop with Web-RTC solutions due next year is looking like only a single screen of content can be shown. This is no good for room to room MDT seminars.
So, is it Teams enabled MDT Seminar rooms, or back to remote seminar attendees needing another piece of software…
How Can ClearVC Help?
ClearVC are experts in enabling Teams in all manner of seminar and meeting room settings, with a wide range of options available depending on your individual Trust needs and budgets whether its converting an existing MDT seminar room, using most of your existing equipment or designing one from a blank canvas. It could be delivered using a specialist videoconferencing service hosted on HSCN such as StarLeaf or on the web like Lifesize, or even a simple Teams to open-standards videoconferencing gateway service from Poly or BlueJeans.