Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s video everywhere!
If you ever have the opportunity to join a commercial pilot for a training session in a full-scale flight simulator, you should do so! It’s an incredibly detailed and realistic experience: from immersive screens that recreate the views from the cockpit (weather conditions and city lights included), to the gentle whine, slight jolt, and final click when the landing gear fully extends before landing.
Most shocking, however, is the rushing perspective the simulator creates when it simulates another airplane heading towards you in a near mid-air collision. What was a pinprick on the horizon just a moment ago, suddenly becomes a massive, roaring threat in a matter seconds. This is due to the incredible speeds at which large airplanes would approach each other in such a heart-stopping situation.
When I think of how rapidly video capabilities have rushed into the market, I often think of that simulation. Before the business world knew what was happening, video was everywhere in the home space with consumers firmly behind the yoke. Consumers fell in love with video far more quickly than businesses did, mostly thanks to the video tools they started using at home, such as Skype. Although the quality wasn’t great, it did the trick … and everyone enjoyed catching up eye-to-eye with loved ones living on different continents. Soon video became available on practically any communications device that could be carried around … from laptops, to smartphones, to tablets.
On the business side, however, things moved more slowly. Organisations first invested in telepresence equipment to help executives save on travel time and costs. Videoconferencing was revolutionary at the time … but exclusive and expensive. Typically, these rooms could only connect to one another, and to no other tool or device. Those ageing telepresence rooms are still around, and therein lies the rub. Thanks to the pervasiveness of video capabilities today, video belongs to everyone, not only to the executives in the boardroom … and for the everyday user, the inflexibility of typical corporate video equipment is just not good enough anymore. They want the ability to speak to – and see – any colleague, using any device, from anywhere.
What can an organisation do to outmanoeuvre the possibility that its initial investments could go to waste because its users prefer cheaper, more flexible, and more user-friendly desktop and smartphone video? Can the situation be saved, or is it a matter of too small a course adjustment, too late?
It’s time to have a whole new conversation about visual communications in business. Video everywhere is no longer just a speck on the horizon … it’s upon us!