When it comes to the power of high definition telepresence and immersive Video over IP connections, the lines between enterprise and consumer have become unavoidably blurred. For Canadian organizations, this is a good thing — but only if they understand how to innovate and optimize their networks to take advantage of content sharing, multi-screen systems and dynamic collaboration capabilities, according to Cisco CTO Ken Morse.
Looking at the web conferencing and video technology landscape — enterprise and consumer, the technology has entered the “good enough” age. In the face of declining immersive telepresence systems revenue, vendors such as Cisco have been forced to adapt as it has become about the end user surge in popularity of smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. While consumers largely drive this, organizations have been forced to do a rethink of how effectively they are managing these devices and how best they can provide the same sort of virtual experience within the enterprise.
“(Videoconferencing) is still seen as a senior manager communications tool, rather than being built into how the business works and how people collaborate,” said Morse. This needs to change – users want premium quality streaming video, flexible content sharing and high-intensity collaboration across devices. “Technology is not the issue. It’s (about) consistent technology across the board.”
How Service Providers are Responding
So while telepresence technologies and videoconferencing exist in some shape or form within the average Canadian firm, they are perhaps not taking full advantage of how the tools can improve collaboration and team interaction, along with boosting the bottom line, according to Morse. Services providers are working to adapt, gauging network bandwidth consumption, and working to bridge across the enterprise and into the home. This is with the aim of bridging the work-at-home environment with video services, said Morse, whether it is working from home, enterprise BYOD and ultimately tying into the single dial tone with telepresence as well.
“There’s a change of mindset that needs to happen. That will change the pace of innovation within the business, if they view it as a way to change the experience they have with their customers, partners and employees in terms of how they work — rather than viewing it as videoconferencing.”
A Consumer Network Experience, Within the Enterprise
According to Mark Kummer, Cisco’s vice-president of service provider in Canada, organizations should review and evaluate if they are using video technology to its fullest potential.
“On the service provider side of things, there’s obviously a lot of innovation on the consumer side of things, driven by demand for these devices,” Kummer said, adding that there is a clear shift from CPE devices to the cloud.
Morse echoes the sentiment of many industry observers: Canada is lagging behind when it comes to technology innovation. So while there is growing uptake in the larger sectors such as financial services and banking, midsize organizations are still lagging. It is the larger firms that are starting to see how tools such as video over IP can improve customer interaction and internal collaboration.
“One of the challenges is adoption of technology is slower in midsize Canadian companies compared to where they should be,” said Morse. “Productivity is tracking slower compared to the United States and the rest of the world. It’s symptomatic of slower innovation: We’re just not seeing the uptake of these devices in Canada that’s as fast as we would like it.”
While Cisco’s Morse no doubt has a vested interest in seeing this particular vision of video over IP take off, even from a vendor-agnostic perspective organizations can gain a competitive edge via a strong network optimization and video over IP strategy. This involves gaining operational efficiencies and stronger business processes across the organization.
The end goal, as Morse sees it, is full telepresence from a multipoint perspective. Devices, networks, and the cloud: an “anytime, anywhere, any device” experience that brings the respective benefits together and bridging the enterprise-consumer divide for good. “Video IP (represents a) consistent experience that’s seamless across networks — being able to bridge the experience users have at home with the experience they have at work.”
Learn more about how videoconferencing can transform business by downloading the case study of Allstream’s work with the University of British Columbia.