April 7, 2016

Article

Now is the time for employers to invest in live video

Attention American businesses: A technological overhaul is needed. Nationwide, companies are falling behind the modern curve by failing to take advantage of the workplace video opportunities that now define successful employee engagement, marketing, outreach and financial growth. It’s time to invest in live video.

Ready to be utilized
Enterprise-ready video is already available across much of the country through hosts like Kollective, yet despite its availability, many businesses haven’t embraced video in the workplace. CIO Insight cited a new study from a Microsoft partner showing that of the 41 percent of businesses using video as a collaboration tool, more than half – 57 percent – actually only relied on it less than once a month. Needless to say, that’s hardly enough frequency to exploit video’s full efficacy.

Christopher Martini, vice president of Microsoft Skype for Business, responded to the study by describing how too many businesses react to video rather than initiate it. It isn’t for a lack of suitable technologies – SD-ECDNs are more than capable of supporting all of a company’s video traffic – or worker enthusiasm. Actually, the opposite is the case. Workers are more than ready to embrace video. CIO Insight reported that 51 percent of surveyed employees appreciated video’s ability to reduce travel time and costs, while 46 percent reveled in the faster communication offered to them.

Younger workers in particular are waiting on their employers to catch up with the times. Millennials and Generation Z – now more than 23 million strong, and soon to form a major part of the workforce – have grown up with live streaming, live video and video messaging platforms like Snapchat. This “digital native” generation is (or will be in the next few years) sitting around offices wondering why their employers have so largely failed to adapt practices to the modern age. A lack of live video in the workplace is the prime cause of their exasperation.

Moving on from outdated communications
American workers have had it with outdated communication methods. That’s the central message of a new report from a prominent cloud-based video service, according to VentureBeat. While a company offering video solutions obviously has skin in the communications game (and therefore a unique interest in seeing its adoption increase), the in-depth survey of 4,000 employees from the U.S., U.K., France and Germany is certainly worth listening to. These employees’ message is clear: We love video, so let us put it to use at work.

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents reported that video was a pillar of their everyday lives. Yet those same respondents said that only a disappointing 28 percent of employers actively encouraged them to communicate via video while at work. Why the huge disparity?

“Video has been a lesser part of company collaboration for some period of time, primarily because it’s been really hard to use and expensive to set up and maintain,” Lori Wright, a chief marketing executive, told VentureBeat. “What’s changing is that companies who make video a part of their first-line communications strategy are overcoming this setup ‘tax’ and now there are solutions that are cost-effective and easy to adopt.”

By all accounts the young workforce agrees with that assessment. Nearly two-thirds – 63 percent – of participants in the survey felt that their employers could put live video to better use, particularly with regard to culture, collaboration and onboarding. When asked if video conversations would improve employee retention at all levels within a company, 69 percent responded affirmatively.

“Companies are building video into every room, making it available via kiosks, ensuring their employees can access it on any device, consistently, anywhere they are in the world,” said Wright. “This is the video communication that people love, and they are seeing the direct benefit in workplace productivity.”

If companies are going to realize video’s full potential, they’ll need to step up their game. Only 14 percent of surveyed workers felt that their employers handled communication tools effectively, that is, in the same way those tools are used in private life. This needs to change. Collaboration, sharing and improved communication all thrive when video is used as it should be. If a company is going to be successful in the modern world, adopting live video now, not later, is absolutely crucial.