While we still have to wait until next year for hover boards, powered shoe laces, and all that radical fashion from Back to the Future II, there is one thing that is here today, video conferencing. Just like ‘Marty McFly’ you can dial up your mate, and have a chat face-to-face. So what, you might say, video conferencing has been around for years and you would be right, videophones were first developed in the 70s. But what has held the industry back has been quality, and certainly quality at a cost that is accessible.

Improve Customer Interactions

Video Conferencing has typically been a fixed solution, tied to a specific platform that was only available in the corporate office. With pervasive and high-speed fixed and mobile networks, businesses are starting to leave their desks, but still need rich interaction with colleagues, suppliers, and customers. Only when it doesn’t matter what device, or network you’re connected to, will video-conferencing adoption dramatically increase.

Emerging browser-based technology standards, such as WebRTC, started to make some inroads last year. Everything has a browser that can support HTML5, and without the need for dedicated or costly platforms, this should make adoption a lot more widespread. No need to download software or plugins, just hit an online portal, and begin to chat with good quality voice and video.

This opens up a whole range of uses for organisations in the customer service arenas. Being able to simply connect with the public, without the need for specific technology or skills will drive the demand for video in the workplace.

This transforms video collaboration beyond a tool used exclusively inside the business (like for Marty getting Fired by his boss), and opens up the ability to use video for improving customer engagement, and interactions.

Change in Corporate Culture

High-end, room based systems are declining in popularity. These were sold on the promise of better office communication, and reduced travel costs. But today, cloud and software based services are simplifying a historically complicated solution.

Organisations are leaning towards cloud-based services, as while offering an easy route to adoption (via software or the browser), they can also integrate with the existing investments made in costly room-based systems.

If you’re new to video collaboration, the adoption of software and cloud based services reduces the upfront costs, and provides a solution, that can grow as corporate culture and use cases change within the business.

Find a Business Process

The adoption of video conferencing is not just about ‘better communication’, its about creating a platform to enhance the way your business operates. Lets face it, everyone loves their phone, it’s easy to use, and you don’t always have to look great. But voice only isn’t always the best. Seeing someone at the other end dramatically improves engagement, as you can see and hear participant reactions.

Breaking the cultural habit of voice-only calls is not easy, and successful video collaboration requires integration into a key business application, or process. For healthcare this might mean video for diagnosis, or training. For the consumer sector, it might mean better customer service processes. Imagine having a face-to-face call with a technician or call centre person at the other end of the line, you can share what you’re seeing, around you or on your screen, and feel like you’re being more than just listened to.

So according to Back to the Future, we’ve got a year to make video the primary tool for communication. Whilst this is a pretty lofty ambition, we’re close, the technology is available. Simplicity, performance, and service transformation are key to increase video collaboration adoption.