Video collaboration: a vision for driving the next big wave of collaboration
It’s a startling number to fathom but this is where we’re headed: 90% of internet traffic will be in video form by 2013. Think about it. That’s a ton of YouTube views, a whole lot of Cisco TelePresence and WebEx meetings, scads of Skype chats, and heaps of online TV and movies.
How did we get here? Well, video communication and collaboration is where we’ve been headed for a while – as businesses and as consumers – even if we didn’t quite know it ten or 20 years ago. A picture, it’s said, is worth a thousand words. That’s because, at our core, we’re visual creatures – we respond better and retain more when we see rather than read words on a page or on a screen.
But it’s still taken some time for the technology to catch up to where we wanted to be. So we emailed and texted and tweeted and called (remember landlines?) because that’s what the technology and bandwidth capacity allowed. If video killed the radio star back in the 1980s, you might say a new kind of video did a bang-up job of slowing down network capacity throughout the 2000s.
Video collaboration’s day finally arrives.
But then things started to change in a big way. The internet enabled digital communications on an unprecedented scale and we figured out how to digitize audio and video. Bandwidth increased (and continues to increase) and ultimately, it didn’t hurt video’s ascendance that in the economic slowdown travel – planes, trains and automobiles – simply got too expensive to be practical day to day.
The pump was primed for an explosion in enterprise video collaboration and the technology and tools finally caught up. And while cost-cutting drove the first wave of video conferencing, it lead to the realization that the benefits of real-time, face-to-face video collaboration could no longer be ignored:
- Strengthened productivity
- Reduced costs
- Improved relationships between external partners and internal teams
- Ability to scale increasingly scarce resources
- Reduced carbon footprint
Who can deliver on integrated video collaboration?
But while the technology now existed and the promise of video collaboration seemed within reach, there needed to be an integrated secure architecture that enabled real-time collaboration anywhere, with any content, on any operating system and on any device. In other words, someone had to offer up an infrastructure that could make video as easy to use as documents are today, and all with a realistic return on investment for most organizations.
A handful of companies like Cisco, for instance with its TelePresence solution, have begun delivering on the promise of truly integrated B2B video collaboration with products that:
- Embrace richer forms of communication like video
- Harness the power of social software and analytics tools within the enterprise
- Provide freedom of choice in device and location
- Incorporate greater context with user availability and preferences
- Allow secure collaboration both inside and outside firewalls
- Offer flexibility of deployment between on-premises and cloud-based hosting models.
These kinds of solutions are allowing IT to support a new video landscape by offering greater flexibility and choice while reducing complexity, network challenges and cost.
And they’re finally providing enterprises with a rich, contextual, interactive experience tailored to the needs of their employees regardless of location, the device they’re using or the content they’re accessing.
Video collaboration’s time has come.
A convergence of trends ushers in the new collaboration experience.
The nature of work is changing rapidly. A variety of trends have already transformed the way that people work, interact and do business.
- Up to 90% of employees now work outside corporate headquarters.
- 34% of the global workforce will be mobile information workers in the coming year.
- 62% of employees regularly need to collaborate with people in different time zones and geographies.
- Large enterprises are seeing an average growth rate of 70% per year in video traffic on their networks.
- 57% of workers use social media for business purposes at least once per week-but 15% of them use a consumer tool instead of the corporate-sponsored tool.
- Millennials predominantly (50-70%) expect and prefer to use online approaches to customer service and basic transactions compared with traditional methods.
In the face of these dramatic trends, businesses are finally looking more closely at ways to empower their people, helping them communicate and collaborate by engaging dispersed communities of employees, partners and customers to work more closely together in a more natural and integrated way – through the most effective medium of all: vision.