Integrating Videoconferencing

by Carl Weinschenk

There still is resistance to videoconferencing. Some folks don't like to be "on camera" and others don't think the place where they work should be seen. Another problem – and one that is being addressed in a UC environment – is that switching from a voice call to a videoconference is cumbersome.

The news is good for videoconferencing, which is receiving its second boost in a year. The first was the volcanic ash from Iceland. The current pan-European storm system, according to WSJ.com, is a boost to the initial growth.

Not all is smooth-sailing for videoconferencing, however. Network World reports on a survey by Damovo that support is mixed. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed don't want to go “on camera” out of concern for their appearance, and 19 percent think that their location is inappropriate and shouldn't be seen. The survey does report good news: A majority – 63 percent – are more likely to take an action if instructed to do so over a videoconference than if they were to get the same instructions via e-mail.

Videoconferencing is on the bubble, but seems to be making gradual strides. Alteva Chief Innovation Officer William Bumbernick makes an excellent point in this VON commentary. Videoconferencing to date, he writes, has been disruptive in that parties generally start with a phone conversation and, when they decide to videoconference, must end the call and switch to video.

Unified communications (UC) offers a way around this. Indeed, the core of UC is presence and escalation, and the ability to change the type of communications (the fancy phrase is “communications modality”) on the fly.

UC, coupled with easy-to-use tablet and smartphone video, is gradually alleviating the issue pointed out by Bumbernick. The underlying societal trend – an evermore sophisticated user base – also suggests that video and videoconferencing is destined to become a more central part of work and consumer communications.

This article was originally published on Tuesday Dec 21st 2010