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Collaboration is Hot … Very Hot: Video and Collaboration

We’re seeing a heightened interest from customers in using video inside the enterprise.  That’s because video is quickly becoming the most multi-faceted form of communication.  It can be used very effectively in a variety of ways:  as a tool to communicate with your own team, for executive leadership, company meetings, and for training in the areas of sales and new products, HR and new hires.

A video is worth a thousand words.  There is simply no replacement for face-to-face communication—and this assertion is backed by science:  a study by University of California at Los Angeles showed that only seven percent of human communication comes from words while 38 percent comes from the way the words are said, such as tone, emphasis, and speed. This is why emails and texts are so often misinterpreted. The study found that more than half of human communication (55 percent) is nonverbal and includes body language and facial expressions.

Moreover, video enables companies and leaders to build trust faster.  The School of Information at the University of Michigan verified this point in a study that showed that “trust takes touch” – concluding that even brief direct contact can be powerful and groups meeting over email could not develop enough trust to reach the optimal outcome.  Considering that we all need to quickly build high performing teams to meet our goals, building trust is extremely important.

Another key point:  if you are running large scale programs, video is a great tool for delivering productivity within the enterprise, particularly when you’re communicating across different world geographies. 

In academic circles, video is quickly becoming a preferred educational channel.  At Cisco’s Collaboration Summit two weeks ago, Duke University’s business school professor Tony O’Driscoll told our audience that “video is the new essay.”  Given a choice of writing a 15-page term paper or creating a five minute video, students opted for videos – which subsequently are loaded into the school’s video library.  Faculty, too, are embracing video as a new channel for classroom lectures.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that video traffic has been exploding!  Here at Cisco, video comprises over 22 percent of our overall network traffic, up from about nine percent just six quarters ago. And, we’ve seen an 80 percent growth in the amount of video on our networks from Q4 FY09 to Q4 FY10. WebEx video traffic has increased significantly as well: we’ve seen a 200 percent growth in WebEx video traffic in just two quarters (Q2 FY10 to Q4 FY10).

As companies embrace the idea of more pervasive video, they are realizing there’s more to successful video deployment and enablement than just endpoints and sufficient bandwidth.  We’ve seen a heightened increase in the need to develop an overall video management strategy along with a deployment strategy.

At Cisco, our video management strategy takes into account our tiered video strategy which helps to identify broad categories of how video is used today within the enterprise.  The key components of Cisco’s video management strategy include network management, storage, security, policy and process, and business value. We’ve identified metrics and key performance indicators around each component which allow us to better measure our progress towards our goal of linking our IT strategies to the business objectives.

A final note:  not all video is created equal.  Our video management strategy addresses bandwidth impacts on the network for high definition video but much of our video traffic is lower resolution video, such as teleconferencing. 

So, as you can see:  we are bullish on video and its many uses and benefits as a collaboration tool.

Happy Collaborating!

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