It’s been a sheer pleasure to watch videoconferencing grow up and get personal all at the same time. In just a handful of years we’ve gone from fuzzy analog images over phone lines to razor-sharp content flying over the Internet. We’ve gone from viewing on dull oversized tube TV’s, to thin bright HD monitors in a conference room…and in my hand.
It’s a dream come true to be able to join a video-based conference using many different tools; a codec in a dedicated meeting room, my PC in the office, or my tablet or phone from anywhere. It allows me to tell my story with passion or collaborate with others valuable to my cause. That’s where it gets personal. It’s become a tool that allows individuals to reach into an organization or for the organization to reach out to the individual.
There are a number of excellent tools currently available. I love watching the healthy and burgeoning competition amongst providers. I eagerly await the creation of new providers and innovative software. I can’t imagine corporate life without a personal conferencing tool. But what will it take for companies to fully embrace this burgeoning technology?
Bandwidth: We must have multiple megabytes, both up and down, wired and wireless. It has to be available everywhere whether it’s work, home and between the two. Think ubiquity.
Security: We must have confidence-inspiring security solutions for IT departments. Executives have to know that their conversations are secure. No one wants to be responsible for the leak of key information.
IT Integration: We must have apps and software that will be accepted by IT and the many requirements they have. The tools must play well with various operating systems, hardware, and software that already exist inside the enterprise.
Perception: Key stakeholders in an organization need to acknowledge that personal conferencing is a serious tool for business. It isn’t simply a novelty used to allow geographically distant grandparents to see their grandkids.
Corporate Climate: People at all levels of the organization must WANT to be available. They need to actively promote their ability to connect with video, audio, and data sharing. They need to set boundaries and timeframes of availability. This could be a big shift of reality for some people and their businesses.
Evolution: Continued change and improvement in this communication segment for business is inevitable. Companies continue to tighten travel budgets. Reporting structures span continents. People need to be “present” more than ever. Personal conferencing will become a strategic advantage to those who chose to embrace it.
I think that CMMA members are uniquely positioned in their respective organizations to be leaders in this area. Who is going to investigate the options and facilitate the demos? Someone has to organize the effort and champion the cause. I suggest that you pick up the banner or throw down the gauntlet….sooner than later.
Article Contributed by Roger Hansen, CMMA Board of Directors