4 July 2011
Video communication has long held much theoretic promise. Adoption has been slow, however, with high costs, technology limitations and user reluctance quoted as the primary culprits. This is changing as a number of forces
converge: social interaction norms evolve to become more visual; technologies advance and costs come down; and across most industries the business case for video collaboration is becoming more compelling.
Says Paul Fick, MD of Spescom DataFusion, a Jasco company: “Exploiting process and technology advances to drive the business forward is high on the priority list of CIOs as well as other executives, but knowing the advantages of technologies and realising them depends on a number of practical realities. The use of video collaboration as a business communication tool is coming of age, however, and the theoretical advantages
– namely reduction of travel expenses and a greener footprint for the business, increased efficiency and productivity, and the spurring of collaboration and innovation – are now within reach.
In just half a decade anyone with their finger on the pulse of communication will tell you there’s been a clear change in the way we interact, much of which has been the result of technologically driven changes in personal and social interaction. Says Fick: “Users are increasingly familiar with visual communication. A large percentage of personnel, especially Generation Y, use technologically advanced personal devices like smartphones and tablets that support high definition video, Web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging and more. Services like Skype and Google Video Chat are also making video conversations over the Internet using webcams and PCs more common. And network providers the world over want to exploit this. They are thus accelerating deployment of the broadband and wireless capacity needed to carry video to the end user. Add a gradual drop in cost, and adoption of video becomes increasingly attractive for businesses.”
There are a number of critical elements for successful deployment of video as a tool in business. First is the need to establish a strong business case for the initiative. “Business and user relevance are two key measures,” says Fick. “Both must benefit from use of the technology and those benefits need to be measurable – be they cost savings, productivity improvements, better customer relations, a greener organisation or a combination of these factors. It’s also crucial to long term success to develop a road map to evolve the video deployment and integrate the benefits of video into existing or new business processes, procedures, workflows and applications.
However, making a persuasive case for personal user adoption will be fundamental to initial uptake.”
Some leading practices to promote and increase user adoption include:
. Identifying real life scenarios to demonstrate the relevance of
video collaboration in daily tasks, within departments and between cross-functional teams.
. Ensure IT support for video deployment and operation across IT
areas, including desktops, networks and operations. and to support users.
. Embed cultural change in the workplace – for example, if a meeting
involves people in two video-enabled locations, human resource policy can mandate that
video be used rather than having people travel.
. A communications plan that includes news alerts via e-mail and the
Intranet, simple and quick reference cards, tips of the day, flash demos and video clips,
will also help drive user adoption.
“The potential for this new way of communicating to make jobs – and lives – easier and more productive is significant. Exploiting the synergies that are now apparent in terms of how people prefer to communicate can offer considerable advantage,” concludes Fick.
About Spescom DataFusion
Spescom DataFusion is a Jasco group company. Jasco’s core focus is to deliver integrated business communication solutions that enhance the way businesses communicate with their customers, leveraging voice, video and data technologies through its various ICT and Telecommunications business units. The deep technical expertise and considerable industry know-how housed in these business units combine to deliver world-class solutions including integrated contact centre platforms and applications, a range of voice application technologies, as well as telecommunications, connectivity and broadcast solutions. At Jasco we are positioned to leverage current and future technology trends and developments to meet the dynamically shifting requirements of our customers and ensure their continued competitiveness.
For more information visit us at Jasco at