Taking a Look at Video

I've been covering the enterprise communications space for roughly seven years now, and since the beginning, the promise has been that video will be taking over as the mode of communication and collaboration.

All too often, people look at me, peg me as a Millennial, and assume I'm one of the video-loving "youngsters" (does grey hair preclude me from using the word "young"?) who has come to take over the workplace and impose my technical preferences on everyone who crosses my path. But in truth, while I am a Millennial, I am not an "all-in on video" kind of gal.

Video Gone Wrong

The thing is, I just don't need video for the bulk of my day-to-day work tasks. When I'm taking a briefing with a tech provider, for example, I'm focused on taking notes, not on making eye contact with the speaker or nodding along to reconfirm that yes, I do hear what he or she is saying. Even for those all-hands meetings in which the CEO broadcasts a message to the whole company, there's no need for me to see a video feed of a pixelated man standing in front of a room talking. And quite frankly, for someone like myself who enjoys the option to work from home a couple days a week, sometimes I'd just prefer not to put in the required effort to be "video ready" (you know, throw the hair in a messy bun and skip the makeup).

Plus, let's not forget the things that can potentially go wrong with video... Take, for example, the experience my colleague Eric Krapf, Enterprise Connect GM and No Jitter publisher, shared in his recent EC blog. As he tells it, Eric came into our office at an "ungodly" morning hour to prepare and practice using the video equipment for an important teleconference with the executive committee of Enterprise Connect's parent company. Following the meeting, Eric hopped on a call with his boss to discuss how he did:

We were exchanging innocuous commentary, mostly me critiquing my performance and expressing frustration over things I should have said or information I felt I should have had at my fingertips. It was then that I saw an email pop up on my computer screen from one of the executive committee members with the subject line: 'Your video is still on.'

Of course, we can chalk up this experience to user error (sorry, Eric), but let's not all pretend we don't make mistakes just like this on the regular. Suffice to say, Eric now has a personal interest in advances made in video conferencing ease of use -- not to mention other technical improvements.

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Getting Video Right

Don't get me wrong, video can be a great thing. Video can be invaluable in gaining context and reducing the apparent distance between disparate teams. It's fantastic when someone can't attend a meeting in person but still needs to listen in or actively participate. Video has been huge for aiding field workers with complex repairs, walking customers through troubleshooting, or providing telemedicine and other services.

The message here is that enterprises really need to know their end users and use cases. Video isn't something that IT can shove down employees' throats and deploy across the board for use in every meeting. Some will use it, while others won't. Video will make sense for some scenarios, while complicating others. Every enterprise is different, so you need to understand what makes the most sense for your individual business and end users.

And hey, help us understand your enterprise's use cases, too! No Jitter just launched its first-annual Video Collaboration Survey to assess the extent to which video plays a role in enterprise communications and collaboration. We're counting on your participation to get a finger on the pulse of hot topics in video and A/V, like huddle rooms, desktop video, mobile, moving video to the cloud, and more.

We'll publish the results on No Jitter so you can see how your enterprise stacks up. Plus, all survey participants will be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards -- a little extra cash video lovers can invest in, say, a green screen... or for video avoiders like myself, perhaps a sliding camera lens cover for your laptop webcam.

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