Ask The Experts: Scaling Corporate Networks to Accommodate Growing Use of Video
For decades, enterprises have shown great interest in the promise of business video. The various benefits of face-to-face communication over audio-only are undeniable. The power of video offers stronger client relations, more effective sales meetings, greater team productivity, a more flexible work/life balance, and a host of other improvements to productivity.
Unfortunately, while the world has been ready for video, the technology was not ready for the world. It was too expensive, low quality, too unreliable, and far too complicated for everyday use. However, in recent years this has dramatically changed. A new generation of videoconferencing technology has delivered the usability, quality, and affordability that is essential for true viral adoption of video communication in the workplace.
In addition to video technology being ready for prime time, we are now culturally ready for massive adoption of video. If you look at consumer use of video on YouTube and social media platforms, it is clear that video is no longer a tool exclusively for performers and entertainers. Video is simply a more effective way of communicating a message, whether it be an instructional YouTube video, or a presentation in the boardroom.
Kollective recently put out a report which included stats showing that 65% of workers are visual learners, and 77% of US employees believe video calls are more effective than audio calls. The study also showed higher levels of trust when communicating over video and a feeling of disconnection with team members and managers when they do not have enough face-to-face contact. Much of this is influenced by the growing consumer use of video, as the report shows that up to 82% of younger workers are using YouTube to get information in their personal lives.
The consumer use of video is a big part of what is driving adoption of business video. As we find ourselves using video more and more in our everyday lives, we are becoming more and more aware of its effectiveness. It is only natural that we want to take advantage of video’s power at work as well. In fact, the report referenced above shows that 25% of UK workers are already using YouTube at work to get information. As workers find themselves saying, “Wouldn’t this be better over video?” more and more often, the pressure to deploy business video increases.
The cultural readiness to adopt video, coinciding with the technology finally being ready for mass adoption, seems like an incredible win/win situation for businesses. However, there is one major concern that must be addressed when adopting video in your business, and that is the effect on your local corporate network. Simply put, video uses a lot of data and bandwidth. To display a typical 720p image you need information about the location and color of almost a million pixels. For moving video, you need to share this information 30 times every second. That is a massive amount of data going through your network.
A fearful network administrator might seek to limit the use of video to protect the network. However, this approach simply denies your organization the full benefits of adopting a video culture. It is preferable to encourage, not discourage, the use of video and to find other ways to protect your network. It is not an easy task. In addition to ensuring your network can handle the traffic when multiple workers use video, you must also find a way to store an exponentially increasing library of recorded videos.
One way to protect your network would be to “beef it up” to the point where you are essentially acting as a content service provider for your organization. This would require massive expenditures to bring carrier level video infrastructure into your environment. It would do the trick, but is it the right role for your IT/AV department? Do you really want to internalize and support a full-blown content delivery network? Seems like it could be a distraction from your company’s true core goals. Fortunately, there are other options.
Many companies are solving this problem by bringing in the help of enterprise content delivery network solutions like Kollective. This technology can actually help optimize your internal network. It has the ability to create a peer-to-peer architecture to distribute the delivery of traffic through your network. Without this optimization, if your entire company tuned in at the same time to a live video it would all be streamed from one server, using more bandwidth than the connection can provide and choke the video. With peer-to-peer optimization, the burden of a massive live feed is distributed evenly throughout the network within your bandwidth limitations.
We are in the era of business video. You can embrace it or be left behind. While we want to encourage the use of video among our working teams, we don’t want to do so at the risk of overburdening our current networks. The one downside to video adoption is that video uses massive amounts of bandwidth. Your choices are to discourage video (not smart), to beef up your network to support video (not affordable), or to find an enterprise content delivery network like Kollective. Video is coming, now is the time to prepare your network. I strongly suggest learning more about your content delivery options before your network is impacted.
Contributor | Journalist
David Maldow is the Founder & CEO of Let’s Do Video, and one of the visual collaboration industry’s most prolific writers of public content. During his time as primary content creator (and eventually managing partner) at Telepresence Options he wrote well over 150 pieces of public content.
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