A well thought out plan is necessary to ensure video collaboration is rapidly adopted
Change is uncomfortable and it takes time to adjust and adapt to new things. I have been in this industry for a while now and some of you probably longer than me. When I joined the workforce, I was given a desktop to work on. I had a desktop at home to dial into work.
Then the industry made a huge shift to laptops. I remember the hallway debate ranging from safety of content “securing the IP at the source” to security of laptops possibly “walking away.” It was bulky, not enough “juice” with limited hard disk space. Now I cannot live without one or some variant of the electronic leash….tablet, smart phone etc.. I am not walking you through the memory lane but my point is that unless it is easy to use, the change is harder and slow.
Do you remember when instant messaging started showing up in the work environments? It was viewed as just another tech toy. The idea was nice, but I didn’t know how I could use it effectively for my day job. It wasn’t natural – I had to consciously open the instant messenger application, add a contact, didn’t know if they were in the middle of a meeting when I was trying to reach them. Now it is so well integrated into my daily routine, it is second nature to me. With federated applications I can even reach out to my partners and collaborate outside my company. It has successfully transitioned from a “tech toy” to an essential business productivity tool.
Now it’s video’s turn to become an essential business productivity tool
Video collaboration is nothing new. We have seen the evolution of bulky webcams glued to the top of CRT monitor to today’s hard to find integrated cameras. Rich media communications is picking up steam – because of the rich contextual information you can share is significantly greater than other forms of communication. We are in the early stage of adopting video effectively in the business environment. Conference rooms fitted with collaboration equipment are slowly mushrooming. Desktop-to-desktop video is very minimally deployed or in experimental phase in small workgroup settings.
As video adoption accelerates, what can we learn from the desktop-to-laptop transition and the adoption of IM to help make video collaboration an essential business productivity tool?
Consider these three simple steps:
1. The foundation: How many times have we sat and watched TV or movie when the print isn’t all that great? Imagine having a low-quality video experience when you are collaborating with geographically dispersed team. It is more hassle and actually is detrimental to productivity. Video is very susceptible to delay or having lost frames in transit creating jitter or frozen frames. The underlying network should ensure the real-time traffic of video collaboration gets priority over other traffic on the network, has low latency and high performance. So ensure your network is ready to handle the video traffic and enable a quality collaboration experience.
2. The building block: The video infrastructure has to be simple to deploy and manage. IT is asked everyday to do more with less. Very few can afford to rip and replace when they have to deliver new services. So the solution has to co-exist and interoperate with existing infrastructure. Proprietary technologies hinder and curtail innovation, flexibility and over time will drive up cost (management, maintenance, lock-in). Choosing the right video platform that supports standards, provides scalability and the one that is extensible is critical to ensure IT investment protection.
3. The access: Easy to use. Easy to access. Easy, easy, easy – that’s the key word. Just like IM, integrating it as part of users’ everyday workflow is critical for mass adoption of this powerful business productivity tool. I will think twice if I have to open a new application, walk through five steps to search for availability, book a room, walk over a building or two to use it. Instead if it is integrated with what I do every day, search for resource availability and schedule it as part of my calendar application, look for someone’s availability on presence and one click to launch collaboration, I will use it and use it more often. So integration with your employees’ daily workflow is key to rapid adoption.
For quick adoption of video collaboration, I suggest you make sure your network is capable of delivering high-quality video and audio, the video platform you choose is scalable and extensible and the collaboration tool is integrated with the employee’s daily workflow.
Are you starting to use video more and more in your business environment? I would like to learn from your experiences and insights on the topic. Please share your views with comments below.
>>Read another blog on this topic: 5 ways networks can make or break your video rollout
>>Download this white paper to more about preparing your network for video.
>> Learn more about HP rich media communications solutions.