Collaboration: Why Video and Why Now?

Dan Stephens, UC Practice Manager
02/25/13 at 04:44 am

Over the last two years I have been atop my soapbox screaming VIDEO…VIDEO…VIDEO! The one question that stumps the sales guys and customers alike is, Why? Why video and why now? It’s been around for 25 years and hasn’t gone viral so what is different about today. Three things are at the epicenter of this movement, Bandwidth, Quality and Relationship Management.

Bandwidth in the 80’s and early 90’s was calculated in bits per second, and in the late 90s to early 2000’s it moved to kilobits per second and now in the early 201x’s we are measuring bandwidth in the megabits and even gigabits per second. Video is about the experience; it’s about being able to talk to someone face to face without having the voice lag 2 seconds behind the facial movement. Bandwidth to present the moving pictures with high enough resolution to forget you are using video has begun to hit the market wholesale. Even 4G wireless carriers are bringing speeds between 50 – 100 MB to mobile devices. The bandwidth to our offices and homes is more stable and affordable than ever before. The bandwidth is here for video.

Quality is the ability to get the video from one device to another reliably every time. Now that we have conquered the size of the pipe we have to manage the flow control of the pipe. Quality of Service defines which data packets get priority on the wire. QOS has blossomed into a critical component of all networks as the telephony industry has moved away from traditional analogue PBXs to Voice over IP on converged networks carrying both voice and data on the same wire. With about 10 years of VoIP in the industry QOS is now both pervasive and considered high priority in a majority of corporate networks. QOS guarantees that voice and video data will receive priority over web surfing, music streaming and file sharing. The corporate investments in QOS for VoIP have created the ideal network to enable Video.

Relationship management moves us beyond the technical aspects of our conversation and into the reason for video in the first place, the experience. Video is not about communicating it is about communication. When one makes a phone call and talks to someone there is no doubt that you are communicating, but the subtleties of communication are missing. Facial expressions, eyes rolling, yawns, grins and frowns all say as much if not more than the words someone chooses to express. Communication builds relationships by capturing attention during the moment of the conversation and either builds trust or expresses visually points that one may feel are not being accepted as true via the individual hearing and seeing them. Managers want to see their employees, business partners want to see one another, team members want validation for ideas and numerous other use scenarios all rotate around the experience.

Relationship management can now us video collaboration because it has low cost bandwidth and pervasive quality to provide a real life experience. What are you doing to enable video?

Also See: 

Mobile Collaboration vs Collaboration Mobility: what’s the difference?

Dan Stephens, UC Practice Manager

What is the difference between these two phrases, Mobile Collaboration and Collaboration Mobility?  I would suggest that the difference is in the connotation, technicalcapability versus defining a business challenge.

Mobile Collaboration is a marketing term that describes the technology of making applications that allow people to collaborate, mobile.  Some types of mobile applications are for voice, presence, video, conferencing, virtualization and file access.  Applications like Cisco Jabber and Microsoft Lync for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices make Instant Messaging and Enterprise voice available on your mobile device.  VMWare view can even make virtual desktops available anywhere and anytime.

Collaboration Mobility on the other hand is a term that describes the business drivers around why the mobile collaboration applications are important.  First, Collaboration is a process whereby we can reduce the “mean time to decision”.  Another way that I define Collaboration is “inserting the correct technology into an existing business process to improve efficiency without disrupting the corporate culture.” So Collaboration Mobility would be the taking of an existing or new business process and inserting the correctmobile collaboration applications as to improve the process without impacting the corporate culture.

The key drivers for Collaboration Mobility are and should be 1.) what is the problem we are trying to solve?  2.) will including mobility in the process make the process more efficient? 3.) Is it worth the cost, will the improvements save money, or make someone’s job satisfaction increase?  There are many other drivers that can be thrown into this list, but I am suggesting that BEFORE you rush in to build Mobile Collaboration you shouldreview your requirements for Collaboration Mobility.  Many customers will find investments that have already been made which can be recycled into a larger Collaboration Strategy that includes mobility.

The final thought I will leave you with is as you build Collaboration Mobility and you allow for employees to BYOD (Bring your own device) you must begin a balancing act between privacy and security.  While some Mobile Collaboration apps will include security, a Collaboration Mobility strategy will require it more holistically.  Enter the Mobile Device Manager or MDM.   MDMs are a critical component of your new architecture because they can help keep corporate data secure and allow for device governance policies to be applied.

By understanding your Collaboration Mobility requirements, governing your data and reducing your mean time to decision you will create a successful collaboration improvement strategy.