The old adage "time is money" couldn't be more true for CIT Group, the US-based financial holding company. The Fortune 500 favorite, founded in 1908, stays technologically relevant so it can serve client needs across 30 vertical industries. With banking and financial operations rapidly moving online, SIP and IP-based collaboration in high demand, CIT's tech systems have no room for error. We asked CIT Group's Director of End-User Services and IT Services, Eric Eimbinder, to weigh in on how collaboration technology affects daily business for a company with more than $65 billion in assets. He also shares his thoughts on BYOD and how traditional AV technologies are being folded into the broader IT culture.
—Margot Douaihy, Editorial Director, AV Technology
Q&A With Eric Eimbinder, Director of End-User Services, Information Technology and Services, CIT Group Inc., New York, NY
AV Technology: How is AV/IT convergence playing out in CIT?
Eric Eimbinder: AV continues to evolve as a standard part of our IT culture and is relied upon heavily for daily business. Whether it’s through the use of desktop video or video conferencing, demand continues to grow, resulting in the activation of more users and endpoints. While there are still many audio-only calls held, our user community often seeks out video as the preference to traditional audio calls both for a better level of team engagement as well as for content sharing.
What AV/IT problems have you solved recently?
Eric Eimbinder: With AV use becoming more ubiquitous, requirements have grown (and continue to grow) for external connectivity (clients, key contacts, and vendors). We are relying on SIP as our standard communications protocol—yet many firms still rely on legacy technology using IP addresses to connect. This makes the connections more difficult for end-users to initiate and may require more support resources to engage. We are enabling IP dialing for now, and working with our clients to plan connections in advance of meetings.
What types of new tech or products do you want to learn more about?
Eric Eimbinder: We’re interested in more flexible collaboration solutions that require less overhead and system support, i.e. more web/cloud based solutions. Also, as we expand our use of VDI, we’ll look for more specific integration and capabilities to support our expanded use.
Cheaper endpoints would also be welcomed, so that we have greater flexibility in rooms that might otherwise not be setup for AV.
What AV/IT do you hope to buy in the near future?
Eric Eimbinder: We will continue to grow our endpoints as well as our multi-party and Internet calling. We would like to leverage more of the latest capabilities available, including newer codecs and cameras with speaker track capabilities (i.e. pinpoints the speaker automatically). We’ll continue to expand into VDI as well.
Where are tech manufacturers getting it wrong or missing opportunities?
Eric Eimbinder: Continuing to provide lower-cost solutions will enable more deployment in a greater percentage of our conference rooms—yet reliance on third parties to implement the technology is something we would like to see de-emphasized. We would like to see a simplified implementation process that relies less on third-party expertise and support so we can do more ourselves and ultimately spend any realized savings on equipment rather than services. Moreover, having fewer conflicts between multiple vendor platforms ensures a better overall experience.
We would also like to see more integration with audio conferencing, Webex, and other collaboration tools. Also, expanded access and controls of AV from mobile phones, and tablets, to simplify the conference experience, or settings that users like to change frequently, are still not as flexible as we would like or expect.
What is the biggest obstacle to collaboration?
Eric Eimbinder: One of the biggest obstacles is that we still could use better/simpler means to share content from multiple parties on calls. Ideally, this would be a mechanism that enables switching between multiple devices and content sources. Something we are working on our side is to improve the training and education for our employees to better enable them to collaborate with their colleagues.
What are your collaboration strategies?
Eric Eimbinder: We continue to encourage the use of video, expand the use of persistent chat capabilities and the use of mobile solutions, and the integration of other popular platforms into our collaboration approach. We think more video streaming and content availability on-demand will service our users well.