Have you noticed how the communications and collaboration paradigm has evolved in the last few years? Younger generations use and prefer text messaging (SMS and IM) way more than e-mail. And when given a choice, they will go for a video-enabled, face-to-face interaction, skipping voice-only calls completely. This acceptance of video as a primary vehicle for communication is making a strong presence in the enterprise as a business need. For the emerging workforce, quick, simple video communication is a requirement – not a nice-to-have capability – as they intuitively understand how this form of communication is crucial for their productivity and effectiveness.
Like many other technologies and market trends, such as social networking, video is coming to the business environment from the personal consumer environment. Its effect on the way businesses interact internally and externally with customers, partners and providers is completely changing the game and opening new opportunities to create competitive differentiation and broaden reach and impact.
Deploying video without careful planning can easily turn a great idea into a disappointing mess. From our experience in deploying millions of endpoints for thousands of customers around the world, we’ve learned a few things that can help ensure your video deployment is smooth and successful. Here are five tips to achieve success:
1) Ensure interoperability
Interoperability means simple, standards-based integration between the communications and conferencing platforms and endpoints. It ensures easy, consistent and enjoyable user experiences. Providing users with a choice of endpoint, location and available bandwidth increases the satisfaction with their experience and creates “stickiness”, a higher and more routine usage that leads to better and faster realization of the business benefits.
2) Plan for pervasive
Video is here to stay. Restricting access, making it difficult or expensive to use, or supporting only a limited number of user environments is a recipe for failure. Your business video solution should be able to scale and grow with the business and user needs, both today and in the future. The right architecture for pervasiveness can leverage centralized applications and services and provide support for a wide range of user environments, all while being easy to manage and cost-effective.
3) Select the right endpoints
Video deployment is not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of scenario. By looking at your business needs and user requirements, you can develop the appropriate strategy and usage profiles and pair them with a suitable endpoint. Road warriors may need a software-based endpoint to be delivered across all their mobile devices. For groups that have high intensity meeting requirements, a dedicated personal or room-based endpoint may be the best choice. Desk-less workers (think manufacturing, retail and/or hospitality environments, for example) would be more effective and productive with strategically located hardware-based endpoints that are always on and ready. For most information workers, a combination of a software client on their PC and a hardware video endpoint on their desk (home or office location) will provide the best options for flexibility, convenience, reliability and quality of the experience. In the end, this is not a game between one endpoint OR the other; it is about knowing when to use one endpoint AND when it is better to use another.
4) Maximize collaboration
According to a recent Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) report, “in-person” video-enabled collaboration experiences can improve business process as much as 20 percent. These new experiences help to flatten organizational hierarchies, and aid in better and faster communication across the organization. Additionally, collaboration features provide a number of additional benefits, including, increased user interaction and productivity, higher trust and understanding across time zones, improved customer responsiveness by facilitating access to remote experts, and reduced travel, real estate costs and greenhouse emissions. For example, with the collaboration features provided by Cisco Pulse Video Analytics users can easily search videos for the content that is most relevant to them. Every video can be easily converted into content that is shareable, searchable, editable, likable, and “tweetable”. Now, video is a flexible tool that is integral for a full collaboration environment that supports the complete workflow cycle of every user.
5) Provide appropriate support
Have a clear understanding of all the internal and external support roles, and the source and expertise of each. Does your solution require cooperation and participation from several different vendors or just a few? Do you need to manage the support yourself or will your partner and vendors do it for you? Who takes care of enabling your users and foster adoption and usage? What is the reputation of the vendor and partner you are working with? Most importantly, who do you call if something breaks? Good answers to all these questions will guarantee a long lasting, highly utilized, and successful video deployment.
Virtual, in-person communication and collaboration experiences are key to deliver on the new imperatives for business. Seventy-five percent of global business leaders understand the benefits and are deploying these new tools across user types, locations and devices. What is your plan?
Interoperability, pervasive reach, right endpoint selection, maximizing collaboration, and proper business-grade support are 5 easy steps to a successful video deployment strategy. Cisco knows this road better than anyone in the industry and we’re excited to share our experiences with you.