The Hidden Value of Video Communication
It makes you nicer…
There is a lot of talk about video standards lately; H.264 SVC versus H.265, and SIP versus the holdouts who still love H.323. However, I want to talk about something more core – COMMUNICATION. Outside of technology, we’re all trying to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
Have you ever found yourself getting a bit upset, maybe even rude, to someone on the phone whom you’ve never met? Fair to bet we all have at one point or another. Now try to remember the last time you were rude to someone over video? I’ll bet you can’t think of one, or at least it’s A LOT less frequent. That’s the hidden value of video, it inherently adds value to communication through politeness. Somehow video makes the person you’re communicating with more real. Of course it’s not that simple. Visual cues and body language communicate in ways that words and tone can’t. James Borg, author of Body Language, states that up to 93 percent of human communication is nonverbal. And, it’s much harder to be mean to someone you’re looking in the eye.
I’ve discussed this with many enterprises as they explore large video deployments, in that it’s much like the “increased productivity” argument for UC – it’s difficult to measure yet also brings immeasurable value. Time has become the most important commodity to today’s executives and information workers. Leveraging video allows all parties to receive the most value from the minimum amount of time (no travel, possibly not even walking to a conference room).
Teams communicating over video share knowledge more widely, resulting in faster and more informed decisions that reduce the time to market for new products and services. – Polycom
Now we hit the business value… Better decisions, quicker and reduced time to market. I subscribe to the theory that people are generally good and all generally want the best for the business if for no other reason than to increase the stock price and therefore increase return on their options/espp/etc. Improving communication and allowing people to focus on business problems is a competitive advantage.
Finally, video is becoming less immersive but more pervasive. I’ll go as far as to say that telepresence is dead and video has found a home in the growing “work anywhere, anytime, on any device” movement supported by a large majority of the CIOs I’ve spoken with. In addition, Dave Michels notes that he expects mobile video to surpass traditional purpose-built video solutions within the next two years, possibly even this year! This empowers normal “worker bee” employees to leverage video without $60,000-$100,000 rooms dedicated for the purpose. Sure, the quality may not be the same on my iPad as in a purpose-built room, but my iPad is always with me and only cost $700 in capital expense.
Could video make for a more pleasant workplace? It’s possible but it will surely make for a more effective workforce.
Alex Lewis, MCITP, CISSP has a mixed background in telecommunications, IT, and consulting with more than 15 years experience. He has authored eight books including two on Lync. He is currently principal consultant at Modality Systems.