A video strategy should be an adoptable solution across divisions which enables human-to-human interaction by empowering collaboration, education, communication and engagement.
In the last few years, mobile has dominated the conversation at enterprises and what they should do about it,: mobile first, mobile responsive, native or hybrid, in-house or outsourced, with code or no-code, etc. While it is an important item for any company – small or big – to address, companies are facing similar questions on new waves of technologies: AI, Chat Bots, DevOps, etc. Among all of them, one of the items that can play a very important role in making technology decisions and is usually taken as granted is selecting a video or web-conferencing solution.
Introduction of VoIP and complimentary features such as Screen Share, has played an important role in adaptation of web-conferencing solutions in various organizations. Relatively low-cost or no-cost of VoIP phone lines made it possible for specially small organizations to become connected to their audience globally, the days that having a toll free number was an indication of a big or well funded organization is well gone.
The above advancements has created a market for several web-conferencing technologies to be used by enterprises to be used by various departments and different usecases. According to Gartner’s report for Web Conferencing (Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing – 2015), historically, enterprise buyers have been from lines of business (LOBs) where support for specific use cases (such as group meeting among employees and customers, corporate training, and sales and marketing webinars) is needed. However, the strategic impact to the organization of web conferencing has made its sourcing a strategic decision for most organizations. Aside optimizing cost, in the lack of a one-solution-fits-all-needs, many enterprises choose a tiered approach, rather than a single vendor to meet all of their Web-conferencing needs and that’s what needs to change.
There are several reasons that companies take a tiered approach, some of them are:
- Optimizing price: different solutions provide different pricing models. For example, using a software suitable for group calls might not be a good choice to run webinars with potentially hundreds or thousands of attendees
- Unique user experience needs: Some solutions are geared – technically and price-wise to small group calls, others for large sessions such as marketing webinars.
- Adaptability: A group call software might be good for ready online meetings, however not provide an easy way to integrate it with ERPs to be used by HR systems to conduct interviews within HR platforms, or to support sales personnel to easily use it inside their CRM used.
Another disadvantage of not having a unified platform for all video-conferencing needs is that IT and users have to manage multiple accounts among different solutions. For the regulated industries such as finance, healthcare and government, compliance and controlling access control is another source of concern: where meeting data is stored, who has access to it, how additional access can be granted or revoked.
What has been listed above is only a review of existing usecases that virtually any organization experience them. Opening to new lines of technologies such as AI, Chat Bots, and new productivity tools is another front to be adopted. Gartner – in same report – predicts that virtual personal assistants (VPAs) will participate in a capacity to support team collaboration in “smart meetings.” An algorithm would gauge from the amount of conversational traffic in chat rooms whether workers are reaching a point at which a meeting is advised — to convey complex concepts or make critical decisions, just for an example. Other example is scheduling meetings: scheduling a meeting among attendees inside the same organization who users share their calendars being Microsoft or Google Calendar is still a challenge. Suggesting and aggregating content from documentation repositories and upload them to the meeting whiteboard automatically is another area of intelligent to be added. So video conferencing is not just one tool or function inside the organization, it becomes a placeholder or platform to connect many pieces, processes and help the organization to improve in productivity and efficiency.
The above items have been the factors informing LiveH2H Video-conferencing platform architecture and features:
- The core video-conferencing technology is free, no cost to use it for group meetings, one-on-one or webinars. While all the core features for a group call is provided for free – voice, video, chat, screen share, whiteboard, etc. – the monetization model is per value-added services built on top of the platform and its marketplace.
- It is offered in SDK/APIs, so it can be used as a SaaS model, turn key, or it can be integrated with any third party system and be used within those systems. Those enterprise system can be CRMs (i.e. a salesperson can schedule or launch a meeting right inside a lead profile), a recruitment system (i.e. HR can schedule an interview inside current system). Additionally integration with other internal tools such as Slack is available.
- The meeting experience is customizable per meeting: Each meeting can be unique, what layout should look like and what features to be included can be pre-set per usecase:
- A corporate training meeting might need whiteboard being in the focus, with chat and no videos of attendees
- An interview session needs the videos of attendees side by side with chat or other features in the background
- A collaboration meeting needs to be empowered by Screen Share in the center and thumbnail-size videos in the footer
- Being an Open Platform: Ability to integrate and add new modules and features to a meeting room, selected by each organization and user, per their need from a marketplace. As examples, a speech-to-text technology has been integrated into liveh2h Meeting Rooms to create script of the meetings automatically (powered by Naunce). Another example is offering a secondary live voice channel for live translators to join the meetings and translate the current conversations to any other language, similar to interpretation services in UN committees and gathering.
In a broader view, video-conferencing is about people meeting to accomplish a task. Therefore, providing an environment to enable Human-to-Human interaction, is the core value it provides being a sales call, a design task or a corporate training session. A H2H experience consists of one or all of the following criteria:
- Collaboration: being able to exchange ideas and co-create content
- Communication: Make it easy to present and share ideas
- Education: Sharing content and supporting materials
- Engagement: Effective 1-on-1 interaction in a way that simulates a face-to-face meeting
It is time for IT leaders and Chief Innovation Officers to rethink and revisit organization video-strategy and go beyond conventional methods and solutions.