As confidence to deliver services and applications in the cloud gathers pace, video conferencing as a service (VCaaS) is starting to evolve.
According to a recent study from Wainhouse Research, the number of solutions available in this space is growing drastically, with many based on technology platforms that were not available until 2013.
With the benefits of video conferencing clear to businesses – including a reduction in travel time, improved workforce productivity, better global links and accessibility – the infrastructure cost and maintenance aspect is still a sticking point for many, making it an unviable option.
But with the rise of VCaaS and video delivered via the cloud, companies can now take better advantage of video to transform their business without the high price tag.
The need for face-to-face contact
Despite living in a technology driven society, the business value of traditional face-to-face communication cannot be underestimated and with more and more of us working on the move and across different time zones and geographies, this can be harder to achieve.
However, with studies demonstrating a rise in response rates, sales and customer loyalty when people can have a visual conversation, and how remote workers feel more connected and productive, finding ways to keep people connected in this way has never been more crucial for business success.
New research reveals that three quarters of organisations want to address this by introducing a mobile video-conferencing solution, and 61 per cent want to integrate video-conferencing with a unified communication platform (that also includes things such as social media, instant messaging, email and other tools) - taking advantage of the way millennial employees want to communicate and collaborate.
Yet for many, the price and complexity of the solutions on offer is a big hurdle, with six in ten struggling to reap the benefits as they simply can't get to grips with the sheer number of options available, according to the global study by Wainhouse Research.
Converting to the cloud
With the demand there but the budgets often harder to come by, this is where cloud and VCaaS options can add real benefit.
By going down this route, businesses have a viable option to take the plunge and add business quality video into their organisation without the infrastructure upheaval, maintenance worries and cost outlay.
However, with many perceptions of video in the cloud often tarnished by free online video calls which were never meant for business grade conversations, organisations need to ensure they are getting the right solution for their business and if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Cloud video conferencing in practice
For global architecture practice Foster + Partners, cloud video conferencing has enabled it to facilitate the widespread usage of business quality video without the high costs associated with traditional infrastructure investment.
As one of the most innovative architecture and integrated design practices in the world, senior audio visual analyst, Renna McDonagh has transformed the use of video conferencing within the organisation and encouraged new ways of working with video technology to enhance productivity.
Utilising video conferencing from the cloud has helped Foster + Partners to achieve a number of key business goals including: to maximise the use of existing video conference technology without additional capital expenditure; provide real value to its project teams and clients; ensure all persons can connect and collaborate regardless of device or location and simplify the way they use technology.
- Wayne Mason is event director of the Business Breakthrough Event and head of group products and marketing at video communications specialists, Imago Group.