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Acano: a case for simpler, more collaborative virtual work environments

August 22, 2014 | POSTED BY Jodie Paradis

 

When faced with clients who aren’t always located in the same place, information-intensive cases and lots and lots of work, who couldn’t use a little helping hand? For most law firms, the ability to process cases quickly, effectively, and accurately is a major deal. On top of it all, saving money and time is pretty important too, right? This is why videoconferencing can be a lifesaver for law firms. A videoconferencing solution that can adapt to a law firm’s specific needs – and, more importantly, be easy for participants to use from anywhere – can enhance productivity and help cases be managed more effectively.

That’s why we’re pretty excited about this solution. This system is a “radically different” kind of virtual meeting room. We tend to agree with this: we have found that Acano really helps individuals collaborate professionally and makes distances less important than ever before.

Acano

Open to anyone, anywhere – and totally simple to use.

The first – and one of our favorite – benefits of using Acano is that access to a videoconference or a virtual meeting space is open to anyone, anywhere. Compared to traditional videoconference systems, it doesn’t require individuals to “dial into” a videoconference from a dedicated office space, such as a conference room. Because of its flexible platform, special equipment, software downloads and special installations are not needed to participate in a videoconference. Anyone – employees at all levels of an organization, clients, partners, experts, witnesses – can click on a link that was sent to them and either open it on their web browser, join on their mobile device or tablet and be instantly connected to the meeting.

Yep, it’s really that simple! All participants can log into a meeting on Acano using the method of their choice. Mobile devices, Microsoft Lync, a web browser such as Chrome, Skype, the Acano client and even a traditional videoconference setup in a conference room can all get involved. So, for example, a partner who is traveling can log into the virtual conference from her smartphone or tablet and communicate with a junior partner back at the office who is logged in through his web browser at his desk.

If the law rather than technology is your strength, no worries: Acano is incredibly user-friendly. There is really no new technology to learn. The platform is designed to be easy to use within already-familiar environments and devices, like an iPad or a web browser.

 

Stay organized!

Okay, so we now know that connecting to the Acano platform is a snap. But once you’re in, organizing meetings and information is just as simple. Acano’s coSpaces provide separate, private virtual meeting rooms.

Members of the rooms have access to the rooms via a permanent link that allows them to join the room anytime they want. Inside the room, chats, videoconferencing capabilities, information and browsers are all shared amongst participants. So, just imagine that you are assigned to work on a specific case. You need to collaborate with a partner who is located in another city, a client who is located in a third city, and also keep assistants and junior associates in your office up to speed. If one coSpace is set up for this case, everyone you need to have involved in the case can access the same private coSpace and discuss the case with each other. With a security pin, participants can be given access to one meeting and not another.

The coSpaces are always “open” – in other words, someone doesn’t necessarily have to schedule a meeting to allow everyone to log onto the space. This allows for the meetings to occur naturally or spontaneously – you might log in at the same time as someone else and can start chatting about any questions or concerns immediately – or, access the material at any time, even when someone else isn’t around. Audio-only participants can also be added to the spaces, which is convenient for meetings where additional people need to be included but you do not wish for all of the saved material in the space to be shared.

Many law firms already use videoconferencing for meetings and discussions for obvious reasons: it cuts down on travel expense and time, it allows individuals in separate spaces and offices to cooperate on cases, and it also facilitates communication when meeting with customers or partners. This is especially useful since it’s more common than ever for partners from around the world work on the same cases. Yet, thanks to high travel expenses and time constraints, business trips are not always a realistic option. coSpaces allow teams to recreate that effective “in-person” workflow that’s missing when individuals aren’t physically in the same space.