Dan Tanel, BCS Global CTO discusses why now is the time to reconsider video communications in order to gain competitive advantage, drive operational efficiencies and improve collaboration.
In the past, many businesses invested in video communications solutions to combat rising travel costs and growing globalisation. Yet, not long after purchasing this often pricey equipment, numerous firms struggled to get to grips with video conferencing as they found it expensive to make calls and unnatural to use. Today, almost 90 per cent of these facilities now sit unused [Gartner].
Until recently, video conferencing has not lived up to expectations. Now, this is set to change as visual communications has evolved and this time around it’s here to stay. By taking a second look at video conferencing, it is possible to enhance operation efficiency, productivity and collaboration as not only has the technology advanced, but the user community has become more confident and accepting of such solutions. IT staff and video communications suppliers also have a greater understanding of user expectations, adoption and the support requirements needed to enable video to succeed.
The next generation of video communications technology is far removed from its predecessors. Previously, some of the challenges when using legacy solutions have included the use of video alongside existing communications strategies, technical issues such as unreliable bandwidth and poor visual quality. These challenges placed extra pressure on IT departments to support the service.
Nowadays, the technology has evolved, not only in the advancement of speed, quality and reliability of networks, but also in enhanced integration and interoperability across different hardware and software platforms. As such, it is important to use existing or new solutions to their full potential. The time has come to dust off legacy systems, take stock of existing inventory and find out if the technology has the capabilities needed to succeed today.
A New Approach.
With the advancement of video communications technology, there is no reason why a video conference can’t be as easy, natural and cost effective as making a phone call. The trick is to consider the user experience and set expectations. Video communications offers much more than simply reducing travel costs, it can increase collaboration and enrich communications if embraced and used effectively.
Recently, the user mindset and attitude towards video conferencing has changed as more and more workers are embracing remote and flexible working. The next generation workforce is also well acquainted with mobile video chat. They now expect the same standard of communications service in the workplace – quick, easy and less formal, one-to-one video calls. According to IDC, the single-codec telepresence segment now accounts for more than half the enterprise video conferencing market.
As the call for more mobile working grows, IT governance has to evolve. In the past, visual communications has sat outside of most businesses’ IT governance but not anymore. According to a survey published in 2012 by CIO magazine, more than half of companies (52 per cent) plan to encourage or require employees to BYOD in the next 12 to 18 months.
In order to ensure, these new communication approaches are successful, businesses need to slowly introduce staff to the solutions, starting with the early adopters. It will require cultural, business process and technology changes to achieve the right results. A visual communications strategy should also be measurable to ensure progress is achieved, whether this is tracking the number of adopters or ROI.
Working with a managed video services supplier who offers a cloud-based solution, businesses can benefit from a flat rate monthly fee. This makes budget planning more efficient and the solution far more appealing to use on an ad hoc basis, while working in the cloud there is the capacity for more platforms to be added if necessary. Risk is also mitigated as expert suppliers will be working with proven delivery models and technology.
Video communications deserves a second shot. The latest generation of solutions, when supported by an expert managed services provider, can help any business to improve collaboration and operational efficiency. Video communications really can make a difference to the daily lives of all employees and change working practices for the better – this time around it’s here to stay.