We’re watching – forgive the obvious pun – the evolution of video as a mainstream enterprise form of information accelerate at an exponential rate. As video has become a standard part of our everyday Internet social experience, a similar demand to leverage the power of video for communications has pervaded the workplace.
Notwithstanding the complexities that have to be overcome in the enterprise to deliver an experience equivalent to what a home or mobile Internet user easily obtains – for openers, enterprise LANs and WANs do not have unlimited bandwidth and were not built to handle video – organizations are zooming past web casting and videoconferencing implementations to begin to use video for live broadcasts or near-live (recorded but broadcast to the masses at particular times) from executives, training (both formal LMS-based education and for other areas like sales enablement), and other forms of communication. But the majority of these applications tend to be driven from the top down, or are at the very least pre-ordained by a part of the organization. While this is far from being a bad thing, there are also many opportunities for individuals to create and share video or other forms of live interaction (think IM conversations or on-line meetings) and make them available to the rest of the organization. Given the increasing proclivity of most organizations to add social platforms as key elements of their infrastructure, the notion of meshing videos with collaborative and social applications (ranging from blogs, to wikis, to content stores, to activity streams) makes perfect sense.
A recent example concerned an employee at a leading home improvement retailer who discovered that Teflon-coated paint trays were reusable – paint poured into them could be peeled off when dry and the tray reused. These trays happen to cost about 10X as much as normal aluminum trays and carry a suitable markup, and the employee wanted to relate this utility and upsell opportunity to others like her across the chain. So, she took a video of the tray and the paint being peeled from the tray and shared it with her peers in other stores. The stores then also posted the video for consumers to see at their locations. Very quickly, the chain sold through its entire inventory of Teflon-coated trays.
Whether you call this ingenuity, knowledge sharing, best practices, or some other term, opportunities like this abound in organizations everyplace. Concomitantly, the now standard availability of webcams in laptops, the omnipresence of camera in mobile phones, and the ever-burgeoning popularity of small, portable cameras like GoPro make capturing video ridiculously easy. Further, while it is clearly nascent in its adoption, Google Glass has begun to find video creation homes in many industries ranging from industrial manufacturing, public safety, and healthcare. Indeed, not only is Glass being used to help train practitioners, it’s being used to help hospitalized children experience life outside their confines, notably in this example.
Clearly, people will find many more uses for video than we can possibly come up with in this short blog, and that’s the point: we are reaching a point at which video can be captured, managed, and delivered as easily as e-mail, thus making the most powerful communications medium as available and reliable as one of the most frustrating. As this happens, it will be the users that drive the next significant increments in demand, eager to improve the way their organizations work and taking personal pride in their role in doing so.