When will enterprise video be pervasive?

When will enterprise video be pervasive?

Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst, Enterprise, Ovum

The Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), a multi-vendor, multi-carrier association, recently announced one of its first services, which aims to take the use of video beyond the traditional room-based systems and boardroom environments. At a Polycom event in December 2012, meanwhile, there were predictions of similar developments.

Multi-vendor, cross-carrier, and multiple-device support are always mentioned as the prerequisites for the widespread use of video. Judging by vendor marketing, every year since 2010 has been the year of pervasive video within the enterprise, and, as we reach the end of 2012, it seems that 2013 will also be hailed as the breakthrough year for this technology.

Some of the basic elements that are required for video to really take off are still missing. Pervasive video use will require even more than lower-cost technology, bridging, multi-vendor support, cross-carrier connectivity, and video soft clients. The wide adoption of video will require increased ease of use, a video directory, and a broader view of enterprise video that takes it beyond room-based systems and realtime interactions.

Embedding video within business applications and processes

One of the basic requirements for the widespread adoption of video is ease of use. Once video is embedded within business applications, adoption will increase, which will in turn lead to more effective use of the technology within the enterprise. When using video becomes as easy as making a voice call or starting an Internet session, end users will come to see it as a practical and productive mode of communication for business purposes.

Regardless of the specific technology, UI, device, or screen size, video must be user friendly and intuitive within a business process. End users need to feel that video can increase customer satisfaction, enable training, encourage collaboration, and reduce the time taken to perform everyday functions.

A public video directory has to be available

A public video directory is another requirement for the pervasive use of video. Widespread adoption will come only when corporates can provide public directories that support communication with the enterprise’s customers and key strategic vendors.

The OVCC’s announcement that it is to support and implement one of its first available video services is a major milestone for enterprise video, but promoting the scalable use of video across the enterprise (and with external parties) will require a publicly accessible, shared directory. The focus of inter-carrier relationships needs to quickly move from the back office and billing to providing a video directory.

Video applications offer more than realtime, interactive sessions

Encouraging the use of video has to be about more than just bringing down the cost of video terminals or providing video on desktop and mobile devices. There is a lot of focus on expanding the use of room-based systems or lowering the cost of entry to allow increased employee usage and to enable small to medium-sized businesses to take advantage of room-based video. However, there needs to be major innovation to embed video into business processes, productivity tools, and communication channels, and this must go beyond two-way, realtime, and interactive video sessions.

To finally enjoy a breakthrough year, video communication needs to extend into new domains. These could include one-way broadcasts, training videos, stored and on-demand announcements, or video podcasts that replace less efficient and more time-consuming business processes. For example, customer support and video training do not require live video in all cases; instead, videos could be stored in a library for use as and when they are needed.

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