When we think of disruptive, cutting edge technology terms such as mobile, cloud, social media, etc. usually own the conversation. Can we now add video conferencing to that list?
The new era of productivity
Traditional tools like email, phone, and face-to-face meetings are still the most common ways for businesses to communicate and collaborate. Nonetheless, in a business world now defined by a disparate workforce, today’s organizations are looking to implement next-generation collaboration tools that help drive productivity. Innovative and scalable HD video conferencing solutions provide a workforce with a high level of engagement. Technologies such as VoIP, WebRTC and software-based solutions can be used to enable face-to-face business meetings without leaving your desk.
But what about when a more intimate or personal business meeting is warranted? Traditional tools such as email and phone are cost effective and accessible, but fall short of providing a rich, immersive environment for collaboration and information sharing. While in-person, face-to-face meetings are considered more effective for communicating and relationship building, they are not always feasible from a time and budget standpoint.
According to data revealed by CNN, the overall 2012 global business travel spend was estimated at more than $1 trillion. Also take into consideration business travel is shifting from the United States and Europe to the more distant Asia Pacific (APAC) region. In 2011 APAC owned 35 percent of the total world business travel spend but that number is predicted to jump to 43 percent by 2016. The latest video-conferencing technology will never fully replace business travel, but it can heavily supplement it.
New tech makes video conferencing more accessible
In the past, dedicated video conferencing solutions were difficult to set up and maintain and often suffered from poor performance. They were also costly and in many cases required generous conference room upgrades such as improved heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. At the other end of the spectrum, a low-cost video conferencing solution led to a less-than-genuine experience due to a lack of technology functionality. In order to supplant business travel for meetings, video conferencing needed to capture the experience of a face-to-face meeting.
Next generation video conferencing technology – also widely referred to as telepresence, a term Cisco made popular– delivers an immersive experience helping users fully engage the people involved. With the emergence of highly accessible features such as HD video, surround sound, touchscreen capabilities, hand-motion sensors and display scalability limited only by high brightness and large size, you can have a meeting environment that creates a more compelling experience. Remote workers can now click through presentations, share documents, speak to and have a more lasting collaborative experience with the other individuals in the meeting than previous conferencing tools delivered.
Solutions have also become more versatile and deliver a higher quality picture. On a single screen, users can hold a simple international staff meeting, yet the image is high quality enough that later a CEO can hold a board meeting with remote members. The value of being able to experience and interact with remote constituents combined with the time and dollar savings that video conferencing provides via travel reduction has not only lifted the profile of next generation video conferencing, it has made it a strategic business productivity tool.
In fact industry research shows a steady increase in the video conferencing market. Market research firm Infonetics reported the global enterprise video conferencing and telepresence revenue grew 10 percent in Q4 2012, and this on top of double digit growth the quarter before. Another research firm, TechNavio forecast the video conferencing market in the United States to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 27 percent over the period 2011-2015.
Next generation video conferencing solutions enable large, global businesses to facilitate a remote collaboration experience that feels like an in-person meeting. It also casts a smaller environmental footprint and emits less greenhouse gas than past conferencing solutions, yet can scale to almost unlimited size. Billions of dollars in tech development, market momentum and corporate spending in the area have proven that next generation video conferencing has evolved into a critical business productivity driver, and has become a competitive differentiator for leading global businesses.
About the Author
Amit Jain, president, CEO and founder of Prysm
Amit brings more than 20 years of executive management, technological and entrepreneurial experience to the Prysm team. With a proven track record of growing successful technology-related businesses, and a career that spans the data-storage, high-end optical telecommunication, and low-cost datacom devices industries, Amit is well versed in the integration of technologies and manufacturing processes. Before founding Prysm, Amit was CEO of Bigbear Network and the co-founder and CEO of Versatile Optical Networks, which was acquired by Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. At Vitesse, Amit led the Optical Systems Division as Vice President and General Manager until the division was acquired by Avanex Corporation.