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Go Back Video conferencing / Telepresence Forum > General > Career > What skill sets will see us into the future?
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Old 07-06-2004   #1
Culver
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Default What skill sets will see us into the future?

I've been involved in VC since 1996. I came into the job as sales, but within month found myself in a technical role. The company I was working for was small, just starting out in VC itself after having some success with Panasonic VC systems. Pretty much all of my knowledge has been learning by doing, with little external training. I tend to just get hold of stuff and explore. I read what I can and as my presence here will show look online for info etc.

I have no IT or comms background, before starting in VC I sold TVs and before that was a student studying Media. Along the way I have become faily PC literate, building a number of PCs for myself and friends and only know the very basic principles behind ISDN and the like.

However I am aware that I cannot continue like this. Although my current position allows me to get hold of kit from Polycom, Sony and Tandberg, I feel that the days of the pure VC End-Point specialist are going to be short lived.

My gut feeling is that ISDN has maybe three years before the proliferation of DSL and IP connectivity in general start to make it look very expensive and poor quality. But where should I look for training and to what level. I have started to study for the CCNA, but what do the rest of you think is the path for VTC guys in general?
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Old 07-06-2004   #2
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Culver,

Honestly, I think you already have it figured out. Your plan is pretty much the exact path I plan to take; and your thoughts are my thoughts exactly. I give ISDN another 3 years or so and IP is gonna start kicking it's butt. So having said that, a few IP networking certifications (Net + and CCNA/NP etc) coupled with your CVE/TCT to keep things focused on the task at hand.

Though you're right about the days of the pure endpoint VTC tech coming to an end, we mustn't lose what we learned from those days. I track outages for a major organization and (literally) 83% of the problems we face during calls are endpoint related. Also let's not all try to focus totally on the connectivity aspect of our craft. Though it is the most important, I get a general sense that a lot of us don't spend enough time considering the audio/video aspect. As VC becomes more and more popular the bar will be raised on quality as people expect the VTC experience to be like sitting in the same room with other participants.
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Old 07-06-2004   #3
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George, I couldn't have said it better myself. I also believe that taking the VTC experience to the next level involves getting the CVE and/or networking certs to gain a deeper understanding teleconferencing.
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Old 07-06-2004   #4
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Not only that, but the role of the vc tech is changing to one of "VC Ambassador". The most successful tech's are those who not only get the equipment working, but facilitate the active use of the technology.
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Old 07-15-2004   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfreeman
Not only that, but the role of the vc tech is changing to one of "VC Ambassador". The most successful tech's are those who not only get the equipment working, but facilitate the active use of the technology.
I know this is an old thread but I though this worth mentioning

You're right. A constant battle we face, especially since VTC is leveling off after it's 9/11 surge, is that corporate execs sometimes still say they like the touchy feely thing that goes with traveling to meet someone face-to-face. But let's be honest here...... Most execs like to travel to different places for reasons totally un-business related. The business is just an excuse to go there for free. Heck they sometimes even make a little extra cash off of the trip.

So selling VTC to the average exec is an uphill battle. We have to take it to the bean counters. Or the higher level execs who've done all their traveling in their younger days and now only care about the company's bottom line (and their retirement/pensions). The savings using VTC with all of it's collaborative tools are staggering for an organization that has the need.

Any thoughts?
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Old 07-16-2004   #6
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Interesting history here....personally I have come full circle in this vtc world..started out in sales of presentation equipment, moved on to video broadcast/corp. video integration sales to an end user trainer/course developer for basic "box" vtc's to full blown custom integration rooms (living out of suitcase for 2 yrs)then as a service tech when our division was bought by vtel......to now heading up a the technical enterprise-wide vtc communications for a children's hospital with clinics and subspeciality sites along the east coast. It was the hands on, face the fire experience that taught me everything along with the most intellegent, diverse group of people I traveled with along the way. I have been fortunate in my career to have been involved in this industry from its "coming of age" in the early 90's and was exposed to all the "players" first hand. I see all the courses and whatnot out there now.....with all respect to them...I firmly believe that getting on board with solid engineers, designers and integrators of "yesterday" is absolutely priceless. I have such a great network of resources out there made up of the "old timers" that posess a tremndous amount of pride in their work and having such creative, open minds to "provide the best solution" to any need without "having to sell" a product.

We were not pc gurus, "techno heads", but rather listeners, researchers and solution providers...we had many in house experts with individual talents who shared their knowledge unselfishly....the advantage we all had (and still have, I believe) is that we were integrators from the start and had to know everything about everything so to speak.

Being on the customer side now, carrying a great deal of responsinbility, I am truly educated in all facets of the industry and know what "value" really means. As I can see the "leveling off" or "box" sales trend happening with this technology...I work very hard to dissuade the sterotypical thoughts of "boxes" and cost ideas of our end users. We are growing....as I can certainly see the entire medical field emerging as the top "group" of users in the years to come.

In my 3 1/2 yrs here, I now understand how hard it is to "rally the troops" to make affirmitve decisions on implementing this technology....there are so many depatments that are independant and they are possessive over their focus, wants and needs that it is sometimes seen as a chaotic, unstructured "country" with many subcultures operating under their own regims. The "seperate but equal" diversity is further evident through our multi-site, clinical operations. As a VTC Team, we have finally begun to break the barriers among our sites and promote unification. furthermore, we highly support the educational aspects of the enterprise and in 2005, we are planning for the expansion into distance ed based in IS (pc training, etc..). We have opened the eyes of medical personeel to grow further into sharing educational seminars, speakers, telemedicine practices and are getting enthusiastic partnerships among the specialities. Finally, we have established ourseleves as service providers to all discaplines and have made the administrators see that the vtc technology is more critical to the "medical side" of our enterprise and not just for non-clinical meetings.

I am sorry for going off on a tangent...basically, I think the medical field is one place that is worth breaking into but it is not easy.

Just one last point for my 2C,,,,a very important lesson learned in my experience...and can so easily spot....is with salespeople. I know it is a way of making a living..but please.....Please do yourselves a favor and learn from the "old school" folks...The winners in this industry, in the end, will be those of us who learn to see, understand and keep open to what is the best solution now and down the road. It still is all about people...Partnering with a solid vendor and promoting the continued need for yourself at your place of work will be your job security....if it is just a job to you, then you are despensable no matter what role you play in this industry. Always try to learn more and share that with whoever will listen.....

That's why forums like vctalk and the people who truly use it.....will ensure its place in "our world".......

Okay, I am getting off my soap box now...
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Old 07-16-2004   #7
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Excellent excellent break down. Don't worry, I too have a tendency to go on a writing rampage when I'm discussing topics I feel strongly about. I felt a lot of your points were right on the mark and needed to be heard. Oh and that last line... "historic".

You get 4 dancing bananas for that entry.
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