The world we live in is becoming richer and more interactive, and the workplace is no exception. Partly because consumer devices include video and mobile networks that do a better job of transmitting video, people are using video much more than even two years ago. There has been a shift occurring and video collaboration is a primary part of that movement.
In his famous piece, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman speaks about the flattening of our world due to the level playing field created by globalization. Geographic distances are now irrelevant, with collaboration tools that enable real-time interactions between people in different cultures, geographies and time zones.
The workplace gets closer
While emerging collaboration tools, like video, are making the world flatter, they are also making it a much smaller place than previous generations experienced. This shrinking is dramatically evident in the workplace, where enterprises find themselves in a much broader ecosystem of organizations.
Even more noticeably, people in global organizations find their teams expanding to include co-workers in many different geographies and time zones. My co-workers are no longer in the same building or department as me. The new worker has to be much more collaborative across groups, organizations and distances.
What organizations have to focus on now is developing a collaboration strategy that is all-encompassing and includes video collaboration to support specific work processes.
Video-enabled collaboration explosion
As video-enabled collaboration has emerged, it has brought a sense of face-to-face reality to virtual communication. People use video tools like Skype, Hangouts and Facetime more and more in their personal lives to connect with their families and loved ones. In my own life, letting my mother see her grandkids via video on her smartphone or tablet is priceless.
This growing use of video has raised workplace expectations for seamless, high-quality, real-time video interaction with colleagues in support of business activities. The bring your own device (BYOD) and consumerization phenomena have made video accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. People want the same access in their professional lives to get their work done.
Recognizing this growing need, vendors have made strides to enable high-definition (HD) quality video on desktops and mobile devices. Those that produce traditional room-based videoconferencing systems, like Polycom and Cisco, have extended their capabilities to tablets, phones and laptops, as user expectations have grown.
On top of that, software providers, such as Fuze, BlueJeans, Acano, Pexip and Vidyo, are changing the economics by offering low-cost HD videoconferencing. Features, quality and reliability are all things to evaluate.
Focus on business processes
What organizations have to focus on now is developing a collaboration strategy that is all-encompassing and includes video collaboration to support specific work processes. The focus has to be on video enabling applications and the processes involved. It’s about video where it matters to people in supporting the work they do. Also, enterprise planners have to ensure technology investments can integrate and work with existing infrastructure investments as well. This is a huge topic, and I’ll be publishing a full market report on web and video conferencing in November of 2015. Stay tuned!
Dave Smith is the research director and lead analyst for collaboration at Aragon Research. Previously, Mr. Smith was a research analyst at Gartner, where he covered collaboration and web conferencing. Follow him on Twitter @DaveMario.