Enterprise video convergence

Enterprise video publishing solutions have traditionally relied on television broadcast technology. More modern video technological solutions have generally been ruled out as viable option. Now as technological evolution progresses a more flexible, but still dependable solutions based on video conferencing technologies may bring changes to the status quo. A converged solution could mix the best of both worlds and be first adopted in corporate communications.

For any new solution to fly new added-value needs to be created. The problem is that the suppliers and customers who have been involved with creating webcasts and other types of corporate video communication have been trussed to old ways of working. They have too much to loose and risk in sense of time and money spent on previous generation solutions. To succeed it is obvious that the new value proposition needs to be presented to a new group of users.

Corporate communications departments have two clients. The executives have a need to communicate and the employees or other stakeholders have a need to understand and respond. It seems that there has been a real awakening in both customer groups. The awareness about the importance of non-verbal communication has been identified by top management in many companies. On the other hand the recipients are progressively more and more used to visual communications methods. Now this is very promising, but does still not imply genuine progress.

For the market to grow there would need to be a clear customer demand for a specific solution. It would take quite a while for the customers to grasp their need and understand how to fulfill them on company-wide level using existing video conferencing components. As is for most end-users video conferencing is still not an application, but a physical mesh of single vendors’ devices. Few-to-many information sharing use case has not been high on the list of users’ priorities. Consequently there is only very basic support available at the moment.

Obviously for any market segment to launch off the enabling technology will need to be in place. One important fact already helping in the transition is that the devices are starting to be built based on well-known standards (SIP/h.323, h.264). For a more adaptable future this is the single most important enabler, but more trustworthy network connections and active network elements would start creating real added-value. The services need to be totally fault tolerant.

Networks have been and still remain the weak spot of video conferencing technology. There have been successful efforts to dedicate either virtual or physical network infrastructure for video conferencing needs. However such measures really miss the point and session management protocols just end up generating unnecessary overhead. Essentially they are really just copying the old model from broadcasting. Instead an ideal situation the needed network resources would be reserved dynamically based on content-aware session management.

When pitching a technical solution to non-technical people there is nothing more important than the ease of use. No other issue seems to be more intimidating and worse turn off than visible technical complexity. To hide some of the inherent complexity the communicative needs of the users demands to be identified. Again the simple solution would be to dedicate facilities to one kind of need (telepresence for collaboration). The more audacious goal would be to build content-awareness into the systems.

The very first basic building blocks for content-aware systems would let the user give clues or select the communication needs. As complexity grows (number of sites, feeds, events etc.) software-based tools for intelligent information flow management would become important. These could actually identify communication needs automatically from usage patterns and other available information. To be able to do this dynamic communications event response mamapping would be a relevant topic for study.

To make true enterprise video convergence reality few things would need to happen. Quality of service (QoS) mechanism would be required in corporate networks. The true needs would need to be mapped to solutions. Finally the whole thing would need to packaged to a simple practical package. Despite progress on the technical arena the classic communication truths remain. Until we get to the age of true machine intelligence the real meaning of the messages still count. Garbage in-garbage out.


Fideocam concept

Fideocam is a pioneer in automating video tools for personal experience capture.

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