Video collaboration reinvents the workplace

Johannesburg, 07 Mar 2012
Read time 2min 00sec

Video collaboration is reinventing the workplace by allowing people to meet virtually, efficiently and reliably from nearly any point on the globe.

This is according to Allan Bjornstad, director of Emerging Collaboration Partners at Cisco, who was speaking during the Cisco CxO Forum, in Bryanston, yesterday. The executive forum was hosted in partnership with ITWeb.

Among other benefits, Bjornstad pointed out that video collaboration helps businesses through reduced travel, which saves time and costs, and reduces carbon emissions.

He added that the technology is also useful in building trust, improving group collaboration, and increasing competitive advantage.

Citing a recent Cisco survey, Bjornstad revealed that the majority of frequent users of video-conferencing say collaboration technologies save them at least two hours of valuable work time a week.

On the other hand, only 33% of non-users believe they could save time using the technology. “These results demonstrate a significant gap between user and non-user perceptions,” he pointed out.

Bjornstad also revealed that workers who frequently use the technology overwhelmingly value some of the qualitative benefits more than non-users; for example, improving work-life balance, increasing competitive advantage, and bringing people closer together.

During his presentation, Bjornstad also demonstrated one of Cisco's video-conferencing solutions to communicate with colleagues in Norway, where he is based.

However, though most participants were fascinated with the solution, some questioned the cost implications with regards to bandwidth use as well as the rationale of using such a solution in place of platforms like Skype.

Bjornstad said that though using video-conferencing might be bandwidth-intensive, the overall savings realised from avoiding travel and accommodation costs far outweigh bandwidth costs.

He also explained that, although the Skype platform is similar to the solution he had demonstrated, the former was not secure and could be easily intercepted by hackers, while the latter was secure and more suitable for corporate use.

According to research firm Infonetics, video-conferencing would be the top trend in telecoms. The global enterprise video-conferencing market will hit $5 billion in 2015 compared with $2.2 billion in 2010, it says.

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