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Digital Britain: Empowered by Video Collaboration

December 5, 2011 - 0 Comments

I have written before about the proliferation of Video and how this has arrived in a big way; people everywhere are watching more video online.  They can choose when they watch their favourite TV shows, whether that is through their set-top box or web based players, such as the BBC iPlayer.

Consumers are producers as well – they’re making videos and sharing them faster than we can watch them. Video applications are also being adopted in the business world at an accelerated rate.

As an example, employee training is being conducted via VoD (Video on Demand) and company-wide communications can be easily recorded and distributed for team members to watch when they are able.

Video Collaboration in Action

Advances in video communications technology has made it easier for people to conduct face-to-face meetings — or should I say, screen to screen — between multiple locations that are separated by different time zones.   My own observation, however, is that some people are still reluctant to harness the full potential of this amazing capability.

That said, I know there’s a bold initiative using the power of video within a not-for-profit organisation, The Dialogue Cafe Association.  The idea is not new; bring people together to discuss Civic issues and develop a new way of thinking. However, their vision is much bigger – to do it on a global scale.

The notion of a Dialogue Cafe is to connect geographically dispersed people together using High-Definition Immersive Video to discuss social and civic issues, in a worldwide forum.  The Association itself is a collaboration of global partners including; The Social Innovation eXchange, OceanLab and Cisco, to name a few.

Another compelling scenario, where virtual collaboration can have a huge impact, is actually top-of-mind for my entrepreneur friends in Shoreditch. That’s ready access to the all important Angel investor community.

Granted, the evolving UK venture capital marketplace is not as developed or as accessible as the Silicon Valley in California. With a plethora of potential investments, experienced early-stage American investors can more easily spread the risk of a new venture.

So, how can video technology help these UK entrepreneurs fund their start-up business?

The Cisco IBSG team has successfully piloted the practical application of TelePresence systems to concurrently connect the UK entrepreneurs with potential investors — thereby enabling a one-to-many investment opportunity presentation.  This could mean that the headache of airport security hassles and a 13 hour international flight — for a single investor pitch — will now be a thing of the past.

However, we must not forget that savvy investors will always demand direct contact with the entrepreneurs whose ideas appeal to them. They want to meet them in person, before they consider conducting a financial transaction with them.

So, eventually the in-person meeting must happen – but it’s much more rewarding when the flight you have to take is for the sole purpose of closing that greatly anticipated seed funding deal.

The Future of Video Collaboration

Video collaboration technology is here today and it’s providing a much-needed economic impact.

Sir Philip Green discussed this objective in his Spending Review for new cost reduction programs within the British government, but this is just one use.  I have heard of high-end product designers using video communication for quality inspection applications — rather than transporting busy executives to remote manufacturing plants.

As I see it, the question is not if or when, it’s how. Can you describe how you’re going to use High Definition video collaboration tools to improve and streamline your own business processes?

Furthermore, do you believe that this progressive method of providing access to Angel investment will help to advance new start-up business opportunities in the UK marketplace?

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