Using Cloud-Based Video To Support Telecommuters

    Telecommuting has historically faced roadblocks. In the past, enterprise and consumer technology alike was nowhere near at the level it needed to be in order to permit casual remote working. One of the biggest obstacles found on this front was that many businesses lacked face-to-face communication, which is necessary to run an organization effectively.

    "[I]t can be a problem if you put analytics ahead of visiting the very customers, partners and vendors that are the audience for your messages," wrote No Jitter contributor Megan Lueders. "It's a mistake, and we're remiss if we're not making in-person meetings a normal part of doing business. Of course, it's not practical to hold these meetings as often as we'd like. It's inefficient and expensive to jump on a plane every time we want that kind of connected experience."

    This is where consumer technology has made an impressive enterprise impact. Now that things like smartphones and laptops are more powerful than ever before, are enabled by the cloud and are easily operated by countless professionals, it is possible to have functional relationships with colleagues and peers without having to be in the same physical location.

    This kind of modern success is only achievable through the use of cloud unified communications. Being able to access every channel in a single interface and from any device will allow employees to be incredibly productive from remote locations. This is thanks in no small part to the power of present-day video connections.

    Video Increasingly Present In Daily Operations

    Travel has long been a major expense for organizations in one way or another. From long morning commutes to cross-country ventures, few jobs out there do not require someone to come into an office or other place of business. But a lot of this has to do solely with the need for face-to-face interactions - something that modern video tools can provide in spades.

    According to ITProPortal contributor Russ Zack, a recent survey by the online publication found that 75 percent of professionals believe video will play an increasingly important enterprise role in the near future. Much of this has to do with the growing appearance of consumer devices in workplace settings.

    "Sometimes video seems such a familiar, everyday tool that we forget it is only recently that we've seen such acceleration in the market," Zack wrote. "And, just like the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, as people started recording and watching video on their phones and home devices on a daily basis, they began expecting the same capabilities in the workplace too."

    Unified Communications Strategies contributor Dave Michels believes that much of this development is related to advancements in the technology behind it. More professionals understand how to use it in the same ways that they understand email and voice. End users lack one master channel that is perfect for every type of interaction, however, which is why video should be part of cloud UC systems that are brought in to optimize interactions among employees and external stakeholders.

    Video Becoming The Crown Jewel Of UC

    One of the most powerful ways to leverage unified communications is by using it to cultivate and connect a dispersed workforce. Video is an essential channel for accomplishing this. Michels refers to the platform as the most exciting UC technology out there right now because of the strides it has managed to make in such a relatively short amount of time.

    "Video is transitioning from the periphery to the mainstream of how we communicate," Michels wrote. "The democratization of video is upon us - and it changes everything. It's the result of camera ubiquity, inexpensive broadband, and smart mobile devices. I've written before that audio-only is an unnatural approach to communications that only seems normal because video has been the exception. We were taught that video required high-cost equipment and networks. Because it was the exception, it wasn't natural, and remained confusing and frustrating. However, audio-only communications deprives us of sight and that is awkward."

    In order for companies to best support their evolving employees, unified communications must be cloud based. This is because of the universal access that cloud technology provides. It is possible to "be in the office" without physically going in for the day with the cloud in place. But remote working can end up falling flat if employees do not use UC systems to their fullest potential. In this sense, businesses ought to make video a cornerstone of their various internal and external relationships. Since video enables people to connect with others in ways that were once only viable in person, it allows companies to better enable their staffers while saving them a great deal of time and money related to travel.

    Cloud-based video is the way of the future, and it will be essential for modern organizations to realize this if they wish to stay ahead of their competitors.