Business Video Moves Towards the Mainstream

Cindy Whelan

Cindy Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Business video usage is increasing, but growth is still comparatively slow.
  • Increasing adoption of business video involves a culture shift that needs to be driven from the top down; executives and managers must champion video usage internally, making it the norm rather than the exception.

Business video communications continues to be a hot topic, evolving from a special event hosted in expensive telepresence rooms to a mainstream UC feature available on any device.  While some carriers have indicated that business video growth is not yet widespread, Current Analysis research did find that enterprise employees’ usage of ad hoc reservationless services such as Skype was much higher than usage of business video platforms from providers such as WebEx.  As with mobile communications, business video is being driven from the consumer base: people that have used Skype for years as consumers are bringing this practice into the workplace.

In response, carriers, as well as business video specialists, are creating more flexible service options, adding reservationless, ad hoc conferencing to their existing reservation services.  Major carriers including AT&T, BT, Verizon and Orange Business Services have added, or are adding, desktop video and support for mobile clients; Level 3 and InterCall have partnered with business video specialist Blue Jeans Networks to integrate business video into their UC solutions.

However, carriers still note slow gains in terms of widespread adoption in their customer base.  This may be due to a combination of enterprises still not seeing the value of video along with limited employee demand.  While benefits such as reduced travel costs are obvious, enterprises are only starting to understand potential productivity gains from video for team collaboration and improved employee focus during meetings, as well as the ability to read facial cues and body language during an important call.  On the demand side, while there may be a group of employees that is quite comfortable using Skype, demand from the broader employee base may be much lower.  These employees may see video as a novelty, but unless someone helps that employee understand how video communications helps them in their job, they probably aren’t going to use it regularly or at all.

Enterprises that make the decision to implement a business video solution will find that increasing usage of business video services and gaining the potential cost and productivity benefits will involve a pretty significant culture shift for many employees.  Usage of the service must be championed by enterprise leaders; they should look at the needs of their teams and determine how video can make each employee more effective.  Enterprises can work with service provider partners to determine the value of integrating video into key business processes.  Internal communications is also an important element in the process – making sure that users are aware of and trained on the service.  Still, enterprises must go beyond a few training sessions in order to get the best return on their business video investment.  Leaders need to push the use of video at every opportunity to make video the norm rather than the exception.  When managers can demonstrate specific team or employee benefits and reinforce this over time, uptake should follow.

About Cindy Whelan
As Principal Analyst, Business Network & Wholesale Services, Cindy analyzes companies, events, products, technologies and technology initiatives in the telecom network services industry.

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