VEBP - Visual Enabled Business Processes
Eight to ten years ago the concept of CEBP emerged as new thinking about how to use communications to enable and optimize business processes. The result was the beginning of a new discipline that defined one part of UC (UC-B, or UC for Business), as well as a whole new set of use cases focused not on productivity per see, but rather on how fast communications could reduce time to a result. Through the years, the UC Experts at UCStrategies have emphasized the value of UC-B and CEBP as being potentially larger than the more common UC Collaboration for productivity by Knowledge Workers. CEBP seems now beginning to really take off as users are comfortable using their multiplicity of devices instead of the telephone, reducing integration costs and complexity. At the same time, a new concept is emerging: VEBP or Visual Enabled Business Processes. Just as CEBP enables processes with communications, VEBP enables a business process to include real-time streaming video and other visual information that is actually used as part of the process steps. It seems to me that this could be an exciting new area in business process optimization and interaction. Visual enablement could have major impacts on a wide variety of processes.
For example, a camera located in a mine or on an oil rig is focused on an area where an alarm occurs. The alarm processes the local video streams along with the alarm. The first person in the process uses that video to engage others and bring them into a VEBP process dialogue about the issue, and adds additional video and other visual information into the discussion and reaction. As the process moves forward, the visual information flows with the process and is used by the respective users in the process steps.
In this case it is not about the process participants just seeing the other participants, but the other visual information and streams that are part of the process. Another example could be using visual information with a smart device in retail to help identify customers needing assistance, and to manage shrinkage through theft and other losses. The potential use cases for VEBP seem to be endless.
VEBP is different from simple video conferencing, where people come together to interact using a video of themselves, and then collaborate on relatively static documents. It is the ability of someone to receive a stream, and then engage others about what is going on using the stream as a critical part of the process. The stream and how it is forwarded and interacted with becomes the conversation.
Ken Davidson, of Magor, a vendor integrating VEBP capabilities into its platform, used an example of a video steam of some event being sent to a 911 center. The concept is that the stream could be forwarded from the center to the responding officers and others, assuring they have current information along the way.
Market data shows the number of cameras is doubling every two years. Using those cameras in interactive real-time scenarios through VEBP is an obvious solution. As all of those scenarios are business processes, visually enabling them through a structured process seems a logical way to focus on this potential. For example, if any Internet-connected camera could be "authorized" to be used by the local police department, a map of potential cameras to use in emergency situations could be created. When an emergency call came in, the closest cameras could be correlated and their streams uplinked. Then that stream could be used by the dispatcher, or forwarded to a first responder or sent to a trauma center to have a trained professional assist in the instructions to an on-site provider.
What makes this exciting is that it may be a very large market. Video conferencing is typically used by either Knowledge Workers in collaboration situations or as an adjunct to selling and customer relations by a very small group of Information Workers (video contact centers, for example). The volumes of these use cases seem to pale in comparison to the information and service workers who could use VEBP as they do their jobs. With only 10-25 percent of the work force being Knowledge Workers, capturing just 10 percent of the rest of the workers to use VEBP could be a larger market than Video Conferencing.