Work it with video in 2017

The Office for National Statistics’ recent pronouncements on the lacklustre state of UK productivity made for grim reading. UK labour productivity in Q3 2016 was only a little higher than in the pre-recession peak period of Q4 2007. At almost a third lower than in France, the US and Germany, Brits are basically working longer hours just to stand still. While there are many contributory factors - including low investment levels and comparably poorer education standards – the country’s slow adoption rates with regard to new technology have also been mooted as an issue. 

With that in mind, the start of a new year seems like an excellent time to take stock of business productivity tech and do the office equivalent of a spring clean. With so many tools now available, and a constant stream of new launches that claim to not only improve business productivity but also speed up the filling in of your tax return (not quite true yet, but allow me to dream!) it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

What is a given, though, is the growing importance of video in the enterprise as a valuable productivity aid. Just as consumer tech is awash with video, it is now also an important business tool for the majority of enterprises, as the data from Kaltura’s 2016 State of Enterprise Video international survey demonstrates.

The survey of 500 business respondents found that video is a valuable tool for helping to meet organisational goals such as training employees better/faster, connecting geographically dispersed employees, enhancing product marketing and brand awareness, and making executives more relatable. The greatest perceived impact was in improving communication, with a total of 96% of respondents seeing video as somewhat or very valuable.   

The survey also found that video in the enterprise reached a tipping point in 2016, with 59% of respondents reporting that they have integrated video into their corporate intranet, and a further 30% considering following suit. Video integration into social business platforms is also booming: 42% of respondents say that their businesses have done this already, with a massive 45% considering this option. 

Fast forward to 2017 and I think there are a number of interesting video in the workplace trends that will start to take shape. If you are considering adding some cutting-edge video tools then read on for my four predictions. 

Business video will converge. 

Many enterprises currently use a number of different video technologies for collaboration and communication. Relatively recent additions to the mix are the small-group collaborative technologies such as Skype, Slack, and HipChat. Some of the interactions that take place on these platforms don't need to generate an artefact that endures; however, some do. At this point it makes good business sense to put in place a strategy to unify all of these systems. At minimum this should cover the management (recording, storage, search/discovery, and replay) of those sessions that require such treatment.   

As the number and usefulness of these recordings increase, enterprises will choose to store and manage the recorded artefacts in one location in a single management platform. 

A boom in video on demand for customer support applications. 

Consumers are increasingly seeking out help videos online when they need to figure out how to properly perform a task or make a transaction. As a result we expect more companies to add video on demand capabilities to their support sites, and to integrate these sites into their support operations. A branded consumer portal with a library of help videos is now easy to create and make available to customers; it is also just as easy to allow support agents access to this same repository in order to help better answer consumers’ questions.

It will probably be another year or two before two-way video support becomes popular at scale in a corporate context -especially for those businesses with large overseas support centre operations. However, taking advantage of the richness of video on demand in a support function is something that has very little standing in its way.    

Popular live streaming & webcasting tools will get a business makeover. 

In the past year in the consumer world, we've witnessed the availability of a number of easy tools for broadcasting live over the web. Facebook and Youtube have both rolled out their own live service; they, along with tools like Periscope, make it fairly straightforward for anyone to set up a live stream and broadcast at scale. 

As the consumerisation of IT continues, we expect to see a number of similar tools updated for corporate use to include the necessary recording, compliance, and entitlement management features needed by the modern enterprise.   

Enterprises start to view set-top boxes as an effective marketing/communications tool. 

OK, this prediction may be a little further out, but bear with me….Now that it is getting easier to deploy content to apps on set-top boxes (e.g. AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.) it will be natural for some enterprises to begin taking advantage of these technologies. And this will be not just for use in selling to consumers (especially with the Amazon platform) but also for internal employee communication. While adoption will not be huge in 2017, we expect to see some early adopter companies developing their own channels for distributing videos of major corporate events, employee highlights, and employee-benefit related information.   

In summary, if your business is behind the curve on business video adoption then making it one of your 2017 business resolutions might be a wise move. The start of a new year is always the perfect time to rally the troops and make positive changes. Video helps businesses of all shapes and sizes to meet many of their business goals more easily because it is such a natural communication/collaboration tool. So why not work it with video in 2017? 

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