Home EMEAEMEA 2012 Video conferencing moves to a new level – ubiquity in video collaboration

Video conferencing moves to a new level – ubiquity in video collaboration

by david.nunes
Gary RiderIssue:EMEA 2012
Article no.:13
Topic:Video conferencing moves to a new level – ubiquity in video collaboration
Author:Gary Rider
PDF size:329KB

About author

Gary Rider joined Polycom in 2010 as President, Polycom EMEA. He leads Polycom’s EMEA management team in developing and executing strategies and plans to drive aggressive revenue and market-share growth in the region.
Mr Rider brings to Polycom a wealth of business management and sales experience, a deep appreciation of how to succeed in a geographically complex and culturally diverse theatre, and the ability to lead cross-functional teams. Mr Rider joined Polycom following a successful seven-year career at NCR, where he led the transformation of NCR’s EMEA performance to a highly profitable, US$1.75B success story – the largest market sector at NCR. Prior to NCR, he held several senior roles with StorageTek, HP and Digital Equipment.
Gary Rider holds an MBA from the Henley Business School, University of Reading.

Article abstract

A Polycom’s report shows that 66 per cent of business managers believe flexible working has a bigger impact on the business than cutting operational costs and that video is crucial to that. Video can save significant costs of business trips and can improve performance in health and education. Virtual-desking accelerates the shift towards BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and video capability on latest devices is often the driver. Similarly, the availability of Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) from the cloud enables delivery of quality video collaboration with the desired mobility. These fundamental changes occurring in both the business and public sectors are driving the use of video as the favourite way of communicating

Full Article

Video conferencing technology is not an unattainable solution or an exclusive management tool anymore -it is becoming widely accessible for any employee.Video collaboration is already recognised as a mission-critical capability for businesses and a solution that improves teamwork and organisational productivity, accelerates better decision-making and cuts costs. Video conferencing solutions make it easier for organisations to keep their employees and clients connected regardless of their location. Staff can make video calls to conduct face-to-face meetings easily with other people anywhere in the world, using any device.
In the past, HD business-grade video conferencing was limited to a few room-based solutions that were typically reserved for scheduled meetings. As wireless network bandwidth has increased and mobile network connections expand to 3G and 4G capabilities, companies are now rolling out HD business-grade video collaboration solutions to more and more employees on smart phones, tablets and laptops. Video conferencing is becoming ubiquitous and a standard technology in any company, even in small and medium-sized businesses, as work forces become more and more mobile. Indeed, this new demand for video is bringing the technology to the top of the list of telecoms trends. According to Infonetics, the global enterprise videoconferencing market will hit US$5 billion in 2015 compared with US$2.2 billion in 2010.
Comparing the video markets of different countries, I have observed some trends that have contributed to the expansion of video conferencing solutions around the world.First, video is becoming part of daily life for many people, for both business activities and personal use. The generation entering the workforce now has been raised on video – currently 3 billion videos a day are being viewed on YouTube. Many young people who rely on video in their private life expect to be able to use it in the business world as well.
Secondly, now more than ever, saving money and cutting costs is critical for businesses. Traditional costly business trips are no longer as popular as they were previously – due to both financial and environmental reasons. Modern life changes with the development of high technologies and so does business. That is why one of the most effective tools for efficient communication between employees is video collaboration. A company can save a lot of time and money on business trips per year using video conferencing as an alternative and use the resources saved for other business activities.
Another significant trend is the proliferation of mobile devices – particularly smartphones and tablets. Gartner predicts that there will be 320 million tablets sold in 2015 and a growing number are being used within businesses. The ’bring your own device’ (BYOD) movement has become extremely popular in recent months, with many employees entering the workforce expecting to be able to use their own smartphone or tablet for corporate purposes. Many companies today require mobile devices to be integrated with the corporate infrastructure, which is an indicator of the increased demand for corporate mobility. Bringing consumer devices into the business environment has a significant impact and allows mobile users to be online wherever they are and join video session at any time.
Social networks and cloud services are also a great force for video conferencing solutions. Some companies prefer to move all business communications, including video collaboration, onto social networks and social business platforms. Integrating social business with real-time video is the next logical step in improving how enterprise users communicate and collaborate.
Another important industry development, which will ultimately serve to promote the technology, is the availability of Video-as-a-Service (VaaS). Video collaboration delivered through the cloud is a revolutionary way for organisations to keep their employees connected and productive, cut costs and accelerate better decision making, without huge upfront investments. This also means that organisations using VaaS do not have to upgrade to the latest software or hardware; their cloud provider will do that for them as part of their contract.
Some argue that a relatively low quality of 3G networks in some countries is preventing the wider spread of mobile video services. From my point of view, it depends on the type of video collaboration solution used. If a company has deployed the necessary network infrastructure, it is easy to use mobile HD video everywhere over WiFi and 3G networks. Today it is possible to hold an HD multi-person video conference from a tablet or smart phone with as little bandwidth requirement as 500 kb. As soon as those countries invest and extend the reach of LTE technologies, any potential connectivity problems will be eliminated on a mass scale.
In general, video is becoming much more widely used in all industries – from the enterprise to schools to healthcare industries that use video to extend their services, make decisions faster and enable flexible working while cutting costs. A recent survey commissioned by Polycom that questioned business decision makers across EMEA found that two thirds (66 per cent) believe flexible working has a bigger impact on the business than cutting operational costs and that video is a crucial element to a flexible working strategy.
In healthcare, the use of videoconferencing in administering certain treatments is proving not only to save significant costs but also to provide a much better standard of care to patients. A number of NHS Trusts in the UK, including NHS Cumbria and Lancashire and NHS Surrey, are offering ‘telestroke’ services whereby patients arriving at hospitals outside normal working hours can be seen by remote specialist consultants via videoconference, providing essential around-the-clock access to specialist care. The increased speed of diagnosis that this service allows is vital as a drug treatment can only be given within four hours of the onset of a patient’s stroke. The telestroke service has improved care, made more effective use of scarce medical expertise and enabled the NHS to reduce costs significantly. NHS Cumbria and Lancashire Cardiac and Stroke Network alone estimate savings of £8 million a year.
In education too, video conferencing is beginning to gain recognition as a valuable tool in achieving cost savings and improving learning. For example, remote primary schools in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland are using video conferencing technology to teach musical instrument lessons. Not only does the technology save money and make teaching more efficient (since teachers do not waste time travelling between schools) but it has enabled a new approach to learning at these schools. Teachers benefit from regular Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions and pupils have been able to connect with schools in Poland and the Caribbean and get a taste for how pupils learn in other countries and cultures. Teachers are impressed and excited about the opportunities video conferencing opens up for students to engage with other students at other local, national and international schools.
With high-quality video conferencing being increasingly relied upon, both by businesses and certain public sector departments, it cannot be long before the technology becomes truly ubiquitous. IDC estimates that the world’s video market will grow by a significant 18.7 percent this year. I predict that video collaboration will become a mainstream and important tool in business, healthcare and education. Over half of all communication is visual -“Seeing is believing” – it is a powerful tool. Video is going to become a mainstream communications tool that will be mission-critical for businesses. It is changing the way we work and communicate, and will soon be the preferred form of communication.

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