Sandra Rios explains what her work with unified communications and UCaaS actually involves.
How do you explain to your friends and family what you do for work?
The simple version is that I help people collaborate more effectively, even if they are not in the same location. Admittedly, I often leave out the fact that my team and I develop complex software that ensures efficient collaboration with AI playing an increasingly important role.
Sandra Rios is the Director Product Marketing for GoToMeeting at LogMeIn.
How did you become an expert in Unified Communication and Collaboration?
I entered the technology industry right after my studies, focusing on web hosting and the cloud, and later on cloud-based collaboration platforms for the manufacturing industry. At LogMeIn, I was able to put in all I had learned to contribute to further develop the GoTo product family.
I was also a heavy user of the product at past companies I had worked for and thought it would be a great opportunity to start working with the folks responsible for it. I'm fascinated by the role communication plays in business processes and how you can better organise workflows in distributed teams.
As Director Product Management, you work closely with the developers. What are the biggest challenges?
We are a diverse team with experts from very different fields. This is a great strength for developing new ideas. Together we make sure we hear from our customers and users and build for them, not just for ourselves – even though we are users, too. But of course, we don't always agree on the best way to tackle a problem. That's why we use common methods like Agile or Design Thinking.
And although many developers are based in Karlsruhe and Dresden in Germany, the team is of course larger and distributed all over the world. That's why we ourselves work with UC technology to communicate and work efficiently with each other. That is sometimes a challenge - as in every company. The best part of my job is bringing developers, user experience designers and product managers together. It helps us focus and ensures we’ve covered all aspects.
Be honest: What has bothered you the most so far when you go into a video conference yourself?
Poor audio quality is a a real productivity killer. You cannot have a meeting without decent audio. We now have one of the best audio experiences available, even in low-bandwidth situations. We’ve also developed special diagnostic tools with which IT administrators can monitor audio and video quality and immediately identify and eliminate the causes of problems.
You were born in Germany, grew up in the USA, and started working in Germany in 2007. Do Americans approach video communication and unified communications differently than Europeans?
In the beginning, video conferencing spread faster and wider in the USA, but now I don't see much difference. Videochatting in our private lives equalised the idea. The acceptance of systems depends heavily on the user experience - so user-friendliness is the starting point for all our new developments.
To this end, we ask our users worldwide in which areas they would like to see improvements. We then incorporate feedback and information from thousands of customer conversations - from both the USA and Europe, of course.
The audio and video as well as the web-based and mobile functionality of the new GoToMeeting was developed in Germany. Tell us about that experience?
We have a large development team in Germany and naturally build on existing experience developing GoToMeeting over the past 15 years. At the same time, with the customer-centric new development, we have also deliberately detached ourselves from previous versions to achieve real progress.
This is a completely reimagined product, not just a refresh of an old experience. Take for example the AI-supported transcription: We thought about how we could concentrate even better on meetings instead of dealing with notes and minutes. The result was unlimited Cloud-based recording. With AI-supported transcription, meeting logs are created automatically.
And it is now possible to divide the meeting video recording into presentation slides. They are automatically created during meetings and can then be downloaded in PDF format. This is a brand-new feature that has not been available before.
Sandra Rios is the Director Product Management for GoToMeeting at LogMeIn.
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