When Is “Good Enough” Video…Well, Good Enough?
There’s no doubt that video is becoming more pervasive in business. It’s no wonder: humans are visually oriented. We’ve been reading people’s faces since we were newborns, so it’s natural for us to use visual cues as we build stronger relationships and better organizations.
As video makes deeper inroads in enterprises large and small, I keep hearing the concept of “good enough” video. So what does “good enough” really mean? Is there a specific number of pixels, or frame rates, or a certain standard that makes video “good enough”? How can you define “good enough” for your organization?
Here are the most important things to help you define a video collaboration strategy that is “good enough” for your organization’s goals.
- Quality – Think for a moment about the cell phone: when it was first introduced, the equipment was bulky, features were very limited, and the call quality was spotty which led to lower utilization rates. Fast forward to current day and we see a variety of service providers who have expanded their footprint to deliver call quality for users. Add to that the technological advancements we have grown to expect in our personal devices and we now have a sleek powerhouse of communication tools and applications with an easy and more intuitive user experience (young children are even using them). All of these factors have led to a huge increase in utilization. The same can be said for video – quality leads to increased adoption. Consistent and simple user experiences combined with advancements in technology that deliver exceptionally clear HD audio and video solutions which can be integrated into any user environment will increase user acceptance and drive adoption. “Good enough” doesn’t always equal high quality and will have an impact on video usage across your organization.
- Interoperability – Being able to easily connect with anyone, at any time, on any device is critical. There really isn’t a discussion about “good enough” video until interoperability between your users, partners, and customers is addressed. Make sure your strategy includes open, standards-based, and interoperable video connections in a way that is seamless and doesn’t require you to adjust or replace existing investments.
- Scalability – Pervasive video adoption doesn’t happen without scalability. Make sure your video strategy can scale quickly and cost efficiently and consider conferencing capabilities for all users, devices, and applications. If you don’t, you’ll just create “silos” of video and limit its effectiveness. So take into consideration the IT requirements as video adoption grows, but don’t sacrifice the user experience.
- Mobility – Workers today are on the go…and video should be, too. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecasts that by 2016, two-thirds of mobile traffic will be viewing video. While the experience on a tablet is surely different than an experience in an office meeting room, users expect office-like features even when they’re joining a session from their local coffeeshop. Consider enabling the same interface, seamless access to other collaboration tools, and ease of connecting – just like in the office.
- Security –Secure connections are also critical and may even be legally required based on your organization’s industry. “Good enough” can run into challenges in collaborating with external partners and customers that have higher standards, so it’s important to ensure your security requirements have been identified and established.
Cost – this plays into each of the above components, but deserves to be mentioned as a separate entity. Cost is a major factor for every company and it’s important to make sure your organization can deliver what it needs while meeting cost restraints. Free is always an option that catches everyone’s attention, but free doesn’t always deliver on the factors listed above. And given the number of ways users can now experience video, and the importance of a quality experience when it comes to business interactions, you should make careful considerations when it comes to the cost to feature trade off.
There is one major point I’d like to stress. Once you decide on what’s “good enough,” your video strategy should include both software AND hardware. A common misperception is that it has to be one or the other. Don’t forget that the combination delivers a more comprehensive video strategy.
The new discussion around “good enough” isn’t just about enabling video, it’s about understanding what the desired outcomes are and evaluating what you need to achieve them now and in the future. These five categories are important, and Cisco can help you understand what to look for. Through this process, you will learn what is really good enough for your video needs. You might be surprised.