If you’ve got kids and an iPhone, you’re probably on board with the idea that video is now mainstream. While kids like to snap photos, they love to play with the video camera on the device, endlessly recording each other doing pretty much anything and watching it with fervor.
They are far from alone, of course. Consider that more than 800 million unique users visitYouTube every month. As of May 2011, 71 percent of adult Americans were using the Internet to view video information, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And it’s not just kids using those iPhones for video: a Nielsen poll from October 2011 found that at least one-third of mobile device users engage regularly with video on their smartphones.
As is the case with so many consumer technologies, now employees want – even expect – to be able to incorporate video into their work lives. According to Forrester Research, 53 percent of employees in North America and Europe are using or would like to use desktop videoconferencing on the job. And that data comes from late 2010 – you can bet the number is higher now.
With industry leader’s, like Carousel’s partner Avaya, providing secure enterprise level visual communications solutions to this challenge, there’s good reason for IT to comply with this demand for video. When it is integrated into a broader unified communications platform, video is a powerful tool that presents real business benefits. They include improved relationships with customers and partners, strengthened corporate culture and improved operational efficiencies.
Redefine Collaboration with Video
UC solutions make it simpler for employees to participate in meetings no matter where they may be located. But video raises the stakes, putting faces to voices. That quickly puts a stop to the multitasking that so many employees perform during conference calls and gets their attention on the task at hand.
Not coincidentally, video can also make meetings far more valuable and productive. Consider a healthcare scenario, where one doctor wants to consult with a specialist on a patient. Rather than forcing the patient to make another appointment, imagine if the doctor can simply conference the specialist in via a desktop or tablet-based video connection – no matter if the other doctor is in the same building or across the country. The patient gets better care more quickly and both doctors free up time to see more patients.
Video Adds Visual Cues to Unified Communications
It’s often said that close to 60 percent of the population retains new information better when visual aides are used. In a business context, visual cues can be invaluable in conveying the “true” context of what someone is saying.
When a sales manager can see his direct reports on a weekly sales pipeline discussion, for example, he can read visual cues from the sales people – and quickly gauge how confident each is about their pipeline forecasts.
In the same fashion, video can be valuable for human resources professionals when interviewing job applicants. Many companies now pre-screen promising candidates via videoconference before bringing them in for an on-site interview – saving time on both sides.
Video Enables Companies to Share Knowledge
Video also enables companies to capture and disseminate ideas and corporate knowledge. A particularly successful product team can use video to document its processes and practices, creating training tools to share with the rest of the company. Video-enabled UC platforms make senior executives and subject matter experts more easily available for impromptu consultations, such as to help a customer service rep with a thorny customer problem.
Corporate communications also become more effective with video. Even though he’s on the road, imagine the vice president of sales records a video discussing the quarterly sales pipeline and the urgent need to close specific deals by a given date. He then sends it to appropriate employees, using the UC directory. That will have a far greater impact than a simple email or phone call – and it’s done at a time convenient for the VP.
These are just a few examples of how video and UC can and are being used to create business benefits. To learn more, including some of the keys to deploying video effectively, check out the Carousel Industries white paper, “Video and Unified Communications: Perfect Together.”