Blair Pleasant
Blair Pleasant is President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and a co-founder of UCStrategies. She provides consulting and market...
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Blair Pleasant | July 10, 2011 |


Video Promises Attention Capture & Location Liberation

Video Promises Attention Capture & Location Liberation Video communications is a reality. Are you ready for your close up?

Video communications is a reality. Are you ready for your close up?

I’ve been thinking a lot about video communications lately, and the way video is going to change the way we communicate. I recently did a webinar for Polycom and IBM focusing on video-enabled unified communications and collaboration solutions for the midmarket, and how companies can achieve "location liberation." On top of that, last week I had a briefing with a video vendor, and when I went online to join the conference, I unexpectedly joined a video conference. To my surprise, the conference participants were able to see that I just returned from the gym. I'm not used to doing video calls, and I generally opt not to use the video when given a choice, but the benefits of video are becoming too compelling to ignore.

Video usage is greatly expanding. Case in point, Skype CEO Tony Bates stated that Skype users are using around 300 million minutes per month making video calls, and 50% of Skype's traffic is video calls. Clearly, video will be the way most of us communicate in the near future for a host of reasons.

The travel savings are obvious--why spend hundreds of dollars in airfare and hotels, or travel eight hours for a one-hour meeting? Dig deeper, and there are other compelling benefits of using video.

Video interactions are more personal--rather than just talking to a voice, you’re talking to a person. You can see the individual, and in some cases, their work environment--including pictures of their kids, posters, etc. I’ve even held up my dog to the camera during video calls--it doesn't get more personalized than that!

One of the strongest arguments in favor of video calls is that participants are less likely to multitask and do other things while on the call. If someone is looking right at you, you're probably not going to be checking your email, playing Angry Birds, or eating your lunch. I do A LOT of vendor briefings, and I have to say that I pay more attention during videoconferences than on web- or audio-only briefing calls, where incoming emails, IMs, and other distractions can easily grab my focus.

Communication is enhanced. Using video lets you see if someone is confused, bored, or angry, so you can modify your message and presentation. Interactions are more personal, which helps to enhance the quality of relationships between the participants.

While most companies are turning to video as a way to reduce their travel budgets, many are interested in the positive environmental impact of video. Video makes it easier for workers to work from home, greatly reducing the impact of commuting to work by car. Two thirds of workers in America commute by private car, with each commuter responsible for almost 7,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year (U.S. Department of Transportation). In addition, the energy consumption from having fewer people in buildings is also lowered, and companies don’t have to buy new buildings as they expand the workforce.

For some of us, it will take some getting used to, and there's a generational difference in attitudes toward video. While I'm not too keen on doing video calls, especially right after going to the gym, most Gen X & Y'ers don’t think twice about it. I was recently visiting my cousin and watched as his 10-year old son interacted and played a game with his buddy over video, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Video communications is a reality. Are you ready for your close up?


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