Traditionally and to a good extent in existing scenarios as well, a Video Conferencing solution remains fiefdom of senior and top management. A non-democratised and straitjacketed room accessible only to privileged few whose travel bills are exorbitant enough to create a gap. A huge investment just to ensure that you are able to squeeze in video (into the conversation) and ofcourse lots and lots of “Identity value”. Vendors till date have been able to do a decent job in increasing the “Identity Value” . Products like Apple, Mercedes, Nike etc have done a great job in creating and maintaining “Identity Value” hence keeping the cash register ringing continuously.
Sadly though traditional conferencing vendors have not been able manage sustainable “Identity Value” though. Not because of brand visibility but because of product usability. Let me elaborate a bit more of it, all of us would have the answers on finger tips if asked to name few video conferencing players who are top players in the market. This is brand visibility. Only two key features and lots and lots of “identity value”.
What is does not offer as seamless integration to its core is
- Integrated white-boarding for taking notes,
- document sharing, collaboration or annotation
- ability to work together from multiple locations
- Ability to take inputs from multiple sources (Like laptop, tabs, pads, Internet etc). If you needed it desperately add one more device called switcher to the clutter
- to share MoM/final results after the meeting. These features are a huge contributor to a productive result oriented meeting
- And limited number of rooms/user participation in a conference
What is the cost to get these additional features and many more?
- some eagerness to explore and evaluate new things by uses
- and a manageable learning curve for additional features
- Willingness to explore beyond traditional
Personally as i shifted from traditional conferencing system to software dependent conferencing system what i had to personally invest was some not so dedicated time (about 2 hours, one hour for two days) to run through the additional features and learn to use them. Now i prefer client calls, inter-region conference calls, intra region team meeting all on my vc/laptop/phone with the capability to take notes on the same device on which we discuss, work on a common document and not mail multiple times, not being restricted to 4 or 5 users but add upto 50 users with a click of a button.
What you get from these new age conferencing and collaborating systems?
In a nutshell
- Independence from a team of back-office staff to run and support it multiple vendor integrated solution
- Independence from number of regions and participants barrier
- Independent from being restricted to one room and one device
- Ease of use: This is debated many time and users feel that it is not as easy. When users brought their first touch based mobile/smart phones the learning curve was there, however none bothered much over it. This was because the identity value was so high that the minuscule learning curve was nowhere in consideration.
What vendors need to do probably is create a bit more of Identity value and of course allow as many users as one can to try for free and experience with the products. Having said that even without the identity value, the technology wave is such tsunamic that the traditional technology would be wiped off like mammonths