Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams (ugh), aren’t going anywhere, so as business professionals, leaders, and owners, we need to improve our game on these video conferencing platforms.Today we hear from Charles Kanozak of Technica VMT on what you can do to host better meetings and conversations virtually.
Rich: My guest today leads all operations for the virtual meeting technology company, Technica VMT. He also oversees the company’s strategic growth initiatives into emerging markets and expansion efforts for their current legal services across the country. He has a passion for improving client’s remote meeting experiences in the legal industry, Technica VMT enables remote depositions by implementing real time technicians, so that lawyers and court reporters can focus on maintaining the integrity of the record.
What he enjoys most about his role there is the team’s implementation of industry changing solutions that are driving the evolution of how the profession practices. Today, we’re going to be diving into how we can best leverage video conferencing and communications to grow our businesses, with Charles Kanozak. Charles, welcome to the program.
Charles: Yeah. Thank you, Rich Brooks. I’m excited to be here.
Rich: All right. So tell me a little bit more about Technica VMT and how you guys got focused on virtual meetings. Was that your mission from day one, or did it kind of evolve over time?
Charles: I think like a lot of people’s lives in the current times, they’re all evolving over time, and Technica is no different. So we started from the direction and intuition of two court reporters in Maine. So I have to mention them, they’re a part of our founders and my partners, Michelle Feliccitti and Beth Gaige, and they have a court reporting service in Maine. This remote world of meetings is nothing new. But to some industries, it is, and specifically the legal industry. They saw the need to shift it right online quickly during the pandemic. I loved the vision. I was all in and it just made obvious sense for the legal industry at the time. So the idea of these remote meetings being in that industry is an evolution, for sure, in that industry. And then we’re just taking it to the next level and now providing it to other businesses throughout the state.
Rich: Awesome. And obviously your expertise, or the company’s expertise, really isn’t a legal thing, but we’re going to be talking just in more general terms today. Now I think even if we were to conquer COVID today, it’s likely that we continue to use video conferencing in virtual meetings regardless. Would you agree with that statement?
Charles: I agree. I think it’s here to stay. And if nothing else, we’re all kind of going back into a hybrid model. So it’s very much a part of all of our lives. And I don’t see that going away. If anything, I see more businesses saying it is something that we have to offer our employees.
Rich: Yeah. In fact, as we’ve started to move back into the office at flyte, not everybody even has a phone. I’ve discovered – we hired three people during COVID – we never gave them a phone, they just started using their cell phones when they weren’t using zoom. And most of the time they were using zoom or some other platform. And even now we’re talking about, like, I had my phone on ‘do not disturb’ for months and I didn’t even realize it. So it’s just, I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see if we go back to just phones or if we even have phones that way in the future.
So by far, it seems to me that zoom is the most popular video conferencing platform today. But what are some of the other tools or platforms that companies are using besides zoom?
Charles: I agree. Zoom is the most prevalent one, just because of its accessibility. Anyone can go on the internet and download it and off you go. I’d make a case that Teams might be more widely used, especially in larger businesses and corporate environments. It easily integrates already with their Microsoft 365 platforms that they’re using. And it’s widely used in the schools, as well as Google Meets. But Teams more prevalent. So, I’d say between those – zoom, Teams and Google Meets – those are still leading the way. You have things like WebEx that people, if you’re my age, you might’ve been used to using too. It’s still there. But I think that we’re really seeing those as far as the clients we serve, those are the ones that they want our technicians to use.
Rich: And before COVID we were using quite a bit of Go to Meetings, and then all of a sudden just everything seemed to shift for us. And yet you’re right, it might be more small to medium sized businesses. So with so many options out there, what are some of the questions that we should be asking ourselves before we choose one platform over another?
Charles: Yeah. And I think the first question for every business, large or small, and it’s nothing new but I think everyone revisited it when the pandemic struck because they’re gonna more widely offer this virtual remote meeting platform to employees, or maybe they’re working at home is efficiency. Every business just wants to know how is this going to affect my bottom line? How’s this gonna help me achieve that goal? So I would look at your systems that you already have. Like I said, if maybe a lot of larger businesses likely are already on the Microsoft platform for email or Outlook, well maybe Teams is the best option because that easily integrates. And maybe you’re already paying for it, so it doesn’t make sense to pay $3,000 for these business class zoom licenses.
Again, if you’re a small or medium-sized businesses, a lot of them are using Google, and Google Meets makes sense because it’s right there on your Gmail account and it’s an easy tab. So it really just depends on your business. And everyone I think is going to look, everyone’s kind of obsessed with eliminating waste and they’re going to look at their value stream so to speak, and what makes sense for their business. And maybe it may make sense to bring in a different platform if your clients are the ones that are using that the most. So that’s what we’re seeing a lot is, maybe I like using Teams the best and it’s free and it might be a little add on my email account and easily accessible. But that’s not what the general population and the clients that we’re serving are used to. So you want to meet them also where they’re at. You don’t just want to force a new platform onto them. So those are some of the basic considerations. But I think it comes down to efficiency and what will work best in your business.
Rich: Do most of the platforms that are popular today have storage options and the ability to share docs, to share screens? Is that just something we should expect from every platform we use?
Charles: You should. Unfortunately it’s not widely spread out, and it depends on your licensing, right? So you have decisions to make at that point. Everyone wants to go zoom, it’s free. But it’s only free up to 45 minutes and limited to no storage. If you want that big one terabyte of data storage, you’re going to have to pay for that.
Rich: Definitely important stuff. So there’s a lot of different ways that people are using these video conferencing platforms. They could be sales calls, it could be internal meetings, or it could be presentations. You’re in this industry, do you have any best tips or best practices we should keep in mind depending on the type of engagement or interaction that we’re doing on these platforms?
Charles: Yeah, absolutely. First of all, I say if it’s still new to you and a lot of the times it’s not, it’s been out here, reach out to a business like Technica VMT or otherwise another one, and just ask. People like me are happy to do a quick consultation, even walk you through the steps. That’s what we do and we like doing it. Otherwise, easier said than done, but set some time to practice. what seems intuitive at the time, I’ll use screen-sharing for example, we could probably do that right now no problem. A lot of listeners say, “Yeah, I got that. I got that.” But it’s a little different when you’re in the meeting. Or like I always pull off the legal examples in a deposition where the timing matters the way it pops up on the screen. You don’t want to fumble during those things. If it’s internal, you might have a little more flexibility than when it’s an external client. You really don’t want that fumbling you up. You just want it to be seamless. So again, practice.
But you know, there’s also companies out there like us that we’ll talk to you for five minutes and say, hey, I got this big Excel document and it’s got 40 tabs and how am I going to show it on the screen? We’ll do it. And it sounds so basic, but if you have two devices just start the meeting on both devices and pull it up. Even our technicians still do that and fiddle with the fine details to make sure it pops up.
Rich: So you mentioned that people outsource some of the aspects or tasks of their virtual meetings to companies like Technica VMT. So what kind of tasks are they outsourcing? What are some of the workload that you take off our plates? And I guess why wouldn’t we just do this ourselves, if you don’t mind me asking.
Charles: Yeah, that’s a good point. I’ll start narrow and then broaden it. And just start with the legal industry. It was just an obvious need for us. And it’s our biggest market share simply because these depositions attorneys are asking people questions under oath, quickly, time matters. These fees for attorneys and court reporters and otherwise are quite substantial, and every second counts. And just while they are thinking of the next question or digesting the next question, you can broaden it at this point.
Say you’re leading a sales team or any meeting internally – big or small – and you’re answering a question, but you’re also preparing for your next slide or document or question. To take that mental piece out of looking at the technology sounds very basic, making sure that’s uploading and making sure everyone on the screen is looking at the same time. That peace of mind really can improve that meeting in a big way. I mean, obviously the legal example is a great example with the deposition. Any meeting can kind of apply in that sense.
Rich: I would think any sort of sales call where you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation, or if you’re just doing a webinar and you’re teaching people something, that might also be another opportunity. Especially like I know sometimes when people are asking me questions during a webinar, I don’t even see them until the last few minutes when I go and look. So it sometimes can help to have that extra set of eyes on the screen.
Charles: Yep. Absolutely. They can read the comments and keep track of them. And you see that a lot with moderators, whether it’s internal or outsourced, and they can read that back. And that’s nice, because you’re just focusing on your presentation and not worrying about that. Same thing if the PowerPoint needs that you could change next slide, very simple. Or can you pull up that sales data or that graph while you’re going through the motions, especially when the stakes are high, it’s just much easier to say it and it happens rather than do it and say it at the same time.
Rich: Absolutely. So as you think about the future of video conferencing, what are some of the maybe cutting-edge tools that you’ve seen been added to it, or what is on your wishlist for things that you would like them to add to video conferencing that you think would just make for a better experience overall?
Charles: Yeah, absolutely. I think the biggest thing is everyone’s continuing to push for better sharing, right? So we’re all wanting to share the documents and the graphs and all the things that we need and the PowerPoints. But the biggest thing, and I think the biggest challenge technically going into the nitty gritty, is any of these platforms sharing two documents at the same time. It’s very cumbersome. Unless you’re working off multiple screens or you have a big conferencing screen, you never know what your participants are looking at. Often the meetings are getting disrupted. Can you make it bigger? Can you make it smaller? And that’s just not the essence and the idea of the flow of these meetings. So I think that’s the biggest challenge. A type of add on where you can toggle back and forth.
And then additional personal thing, speaking in legal industry, is automated marking. So when I show an exhibit, it’s automatically stored in the database and marked maybe 1 or A or B or C, that way. That’s something that we still kind of have to keep track of on the side, which is fine. But to have that, the whole idea is we just want to build in these efficiencies so you’re doing, and you’re not thinking about it.
Rich: And when companies outsource to a company like technical VMT, does it matter what platform they’re on or do you have your own platform?
Charles: We primarily use zoom. So that’s our biggest license that we have. And that’s simply the pandemic, it pushed it to kind of the number one use platform and that’s what we’re continuing to see and stick with. So if you don’t have your own platform, we will kind of guide you in that direction. But it’s not hard and fast. We’ll use any platform that you want.
Rich: So you’re independent of the platform. Agnostic, if you will.
Charles: You bet. We are absolutely neutral platform, it doesn’t matter. Our services are really the technicians and the people, and physically putting the best technical and personable people in front of you to represent you and run your meeting.
Rich: Charles, what do you think the owners of small to medium-sized businesses should know about this industry or video conferencing in general that they don’t realize right now?
Charles: I think overall a lot of people just don’t realize it’s out there. In general. Especially small businesses, especially in rural places in Maine. Coming from Maine myself, grew up in Maine, I’ll call myself a Mainer. The whole concept of the idea started with that small time mindset that we can help our own community learning to adapt to this platform. They don’t have to do it themselves or say, I don’t want to do it. People don’t want to always learn more things, or they’re stuck in ways and that. But I think it’s just getting the name out there that we are available. People think, well, can I afford that? It’s more affordable than people think. And really, it’s just getting it out there and helping people, especially in the rural communities, have access. And it makes a huge difference. Again, legal industry, they don’t have to go into court, we can bring the courts to them. A job interview that they otherwise might’ve not went to or otherwise not wanting to deal with.
Another component is maybe they don’t have the technology to be on the zoom meeting these things do you no good if you don’t have a laptop. And it’s as simple as our company can also provide those things to you.
Rich: Cool. So I like to ask all the people who come on the show a very important question, and it is this, what one thing would you change if you could to improve the business ecosystem here in Maine?
Charles: Yeah, I love this question, Rich, especially in the time we’re in. I’ll still say we’re very much in the pandemic and every day it’s right in your face. And the one thing that I would change if I could, is the state of Maine’s personnel problems. Businesses are hurting right now. I think businesses, big or small, will have to continue to invest if they haven’t already in human resources to solve their personnel problems. I think they’ll have to be solved internally. So many people are out there shopping for jobs yet we’re hearing there’s so many jobs available right now. So it’s a real crisis brewing, and I don’t see it stopping tomorrow. And I don’t think businesses can sit back and rest assured that the government is going to solve the issue. Anyway, so here in Maine businesses will continue, which likely they’ve always done, how are they going to attract and retain their workforce? How are they going to provide services that can match the larger companies and the employee market and the larger industries. We’re in a real jam right now and a lot of people are searching for employment, but there’s a lot of jobs out there. So if we could match those two together it would be big.
Rich: Awesome. And so where can we find you online?
Charles: Www.technicavmt.com. We also are on Instagram, Facebook, and the like.
Rich: Awesome. And we’ll have those links in the show notes. Charles, thank you so much for your time today.
Charles: Yeah. Thank you, Rich.