When video phones were given their first grand introduction at the 1964 World Fair in New York, it had an exciting futuristic implication. However, people probably didn’t conceive then that video communications would become a mainstream technology challenging the traditional telephone.
With super fast broadband, more and more people communicate with video. Video calling and the emergence of Home TelePresence are bringing video to the masses; but how about small businesses?
There are some perception barriers to the widespread adoption of high quality video communications beyond the enterprise – mainly associated with high costs and onerous maintenance. Both these obstacles have now been removed.
In the past, video quality might have suffered from poor latency (the speed at which data reaches its destination via the internet). However, with the market maturing and broadband quality improving globally, there are a growing number of smaller, cost effective, yet high quality options coming to the fore and ready for use on PCs, mobiles, IP phones and TVs.
There are also an increasing number of companies that will manage these services for a business on a flexible, pay-per-use model.
Given these advances, adoption is growing and the business benefits are becoming more widely known. Video communications can play an important role in improving competitiveness by enabling a small business with limited resources to expand trade and the quest for talent on a national and international basis. As teams and customers become more dispersed, it is not always possible to meet face-to-face. Video provides a natural and easy-to-use method for reaching out to customers and partners, helping to reduce travel, while maintaining high levels of engagement. It is that consistent and timely contact with colleagues and customers which can really speed up decision making and collaboration, while facilitating sustainable business practices.
A casino operator, Aspers Group, is using video communications to reduce business travel around the UK. By working with managed services partner mvision-Dimension Data, Aspers Group started using video communications between their London and Newcastle offices instead of making the standard 2-3 journeys a week for face-to-face meetings, which freed-up money and time in the process. The scheme has since been rolled out to the HR, finance and business development teams and already reaped significant cost savings.
Video is no longer a luxury; but evolving into an integral part of running a business, communicating with staff and customers. With the increasing popularity of consumer video across social networking sites and home video communications, in future it will force businesses to adapt their own video use. Those small businesses that choose to capitalise on this changing video landscape early will be best placed to generate new business opportunities. As John Chambers at Cisco recently noted, “market transitions wait for no one.” As the potential of video is further unleashed, those companies that fail to recognise and embrace the power of video will fall behind in their customer conversations and partner networks.
John Chambers Talks about Cisco Home Telepresence: