Video Collaboration is the efficient way of connecting people over the long distances. It combines video, content and document sharing, data sharing to create live connection between distant and dispersed workgroups. As multimedia is an integral part of collaborative systems, greater emphasis is given on rich set of interaction skills and easy usability. It is not only just a tool, but rather a way of creating a culture where people are able to work any time, any place, anywhere they want to. It offers the benefits of face-to-face interaction without the inconvenience, wear-and-tear, unpredictability, and expense of travelling to a meeting.
Video Collaboration has emerged and evolved from using audio interactions of telephonic conversation in the past to video interfacing in the present, which adds the ability of processing information visually and making decision quickly. Video collaboration is becoming increasingly important as half of the communication efficiency is determined by voice tone and body language.
Types of Video Collaboration based on users
Video collaboration can be used by both business and individuals.
Business Video Collaboration has become a key in the corporate culture. It has become an indispensable tool for doing business as communication in business is twice as important as marketing strategies and five times as prominent as the external market forces. It has a significant effect on the business performance. It allows people to meet virtually from any point on the globe. It removes geographical boundaries, ensures proper communication between disparate business units, improves decision making, increase productivity and delivers a competitive advantage.
Individual Video Collaboration is used for personal communication and is generally restricted to video-conferencing and instant-messaging. It brings people closer and keeps them connected in-spite of distances. It keeps the individual connected through video, voice and content collaboration.
Popular Ways of Video Collaboration
- Video Conferencing – This tool lets people see each other as they talk. A point-to-point videoconferencing connects to two locations, while a multipoint videoconference links three or more sites. Internet technologies, such as TCP/IP connections, are generally used today for conferencing events. Common example of this can be using Skype to conduct video calls.
- Data Collaboration – They turn a video conference into a full-featured video meeting using application sharing, white-boarding, instant-text messaging and file transfer. A screen is used with two small windows on the side displaying the faces of the videoconferencing participants.
- Streaming Video – This is a video clip stored on a server and sent in compressed form in the internet, where users can view the clip through a web browser. It is a substitute for real-time video meeting or for future uses. This is generally used for webinars. In this case while the other party cannot interact using a video they can always interact using written communication.
- TelePresence – It is a video collaboration technology that delivers high-definition video images and stereographic sound. They provide exotic experience delivered in HD where the boundaries between two locations become blur. They speed things by using the Internet Protocol (IP) for voice and audio rather than ISDN (Integrated System Digital Network) as a primary means of connection. They closely simulate the aspects of a real life regular meeting.
- Mobile video conferencing – The growing popularity of Smartphone, iPhone mobile phones has made mobile video conferencing easily accessible. They are designed for personal or individual use. The advent of 3G technology has led to improved cell phones network and smooth video call experience and video conferencing. It enhances business, personal and family communications. It can also visually connect more than one person any time for group video conferencing sessions.
Benefits of Video Collaboration
- Fast Decision Making & Improved Productivity : Better collaboration solutions helps to make better, faster business decisions. Research has found that there is 30% average increase in productivity. It reduces time on travelling and helps in tackling complex problems better that are difficult to solve over telephonic conversations or e-mails. It enables all participants to share ideas, illustrate images and take action more quickly. Straoil, one of the world’s leading oil and Gas Company, implemented video collaboration and significantly reduced their problem-solving time to two weeks which generally took two months by traditional methods.
- Quick Expert Advice and help available : Video Collaboration helps to take advantage of the expertise of talented employees across the entire organization without any inconvenience. Training, translating, and troubleshooting become easier. It increases global collaboration and communication.
- Cost Reduction : Video Collaboration is the critical cost reduction tool. It increases profit margins and growth curves of the organization. It reduces expenses for travel and required for various meetings. It also saves time required for travelling which can be utilized for completing other objectives. Research department can use video for expert advice to cut R&D costs. It also provides sustained competitive advantage, thereby helping in greater return on investment.
- A Green Technology : Greenhouse gases emissions from airlines and vehicles contribute the most to the air pollution. Video Collaboration reduces travelling by 30%, thereby reducing the CO2 emissions. For instance, Vodafone reduced flights trip by 13,500 per year, thus helping the company to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 5,000 tons annually.
- Increase Customer Retention : Many business organizations are also utilizing video communications to satisfy their key customers. They address the problem of the customers, get their valuable inputs and ideas which builds trust and engagement
- Ensures global collaboration easily : It brings the organization together and helps them to work together even when they are in different time zones. It fastens the business processes such as design and development by developing better co-ordination between dispersed teams. They also reduce the cultural gap between different countries such as China, India, UK, USA etc. and leads to mutual understanding between employees. For instance, SABMiller noted 35% increase in collaboration activities in their company with the deployment of video.
- Hiring and training : It reduces the time and expenses of hiring process since multiple people are involved in the interview process. Interviews can be conducted in person or over video, which can also be recorded to be evaluated later on. It also allows better training for new hires by better supervision from superiors from remote locations and easy access to expert advice through virtual meetings.
Challenges and limitations of Video Collaboration
- Poor Internet infrastructure : In many countries across the world internet connectivity is poor, thus video collaboration technique which are highly bandwidth intensive face challenges in these areas.
- Lack of Experience of users : Lack of experience and awareness about benefits and being perceived as difficult to use is the most critical barrier of the video collaboration. The employee must have smooth and comfortable experience sharing their ideas and views, otherwise they are likely to restore to flying.
- One Size doesn’t fit all : Video Collaboration doesn’t provide a single solution that fits all the company’s need and culture. It varies according to the goals which require strategic consultation and planning.
- High initial cost : For certain kinds of video collaboration techniques such as telepresece, there is high initial cost and budget required for setting up the IP network, conferencing rooms and rich multimedia communications is the major roadblock for its implementation.
- Quality of Service: High quality video interfaced with the audio without any lag, data security, risk management and employee privacy are some of the issues associated with the video collaboration.
Future Scope of Video Collaboration
With rising travel cost, improving internet bandwidth, ever increasing need of collaboration and pressure to cut down costs it is expected that video collaboration has a bright future ahead.
- High-definition videoconferencing systems are becoming an important part for the collaboration. They transmit crystal-clear video and audio experiences that enable users to seize the most subtle change in facial expression as well as in speech tones and pitch. Telepresence is the new evolving technology which brings the realistic experience to end users. It simulate an in-person meeting closely by combining very high-quality video and audio communications.
- The videoconferencing collaboration tools are transformed to desktop to enable ad-hoc conferencing in the enterprise. The consumer-grade hardware will need to be improved significantly to provide the same high-quality experience.
- Increasingly lower-bandwidth pricing will reduce the overall cost of video collaboration tools, resulting increased users and widespread implementation of video collaboration.