These days, video conferencing is everywhere. In fact, according to this Wainhouse Research survey, the collaboration tool has been deployed in 99% of companies. Therefore, it is far more likely than not that some form of video conferencing has been deployed in your organization. For IT teams, it is especially important to know whether or not it is being used properly and to the fullest extent.
Just because it is available to your workforce doesn’t mean that employees have learned how to or want to utilize video collaboration. And one of the reasons is often due to lack of support. IT departments can have the tendency to treat video conferencing like any other IT application when, in fact, there are a number of elements unique to enterprise video that need to be taken into consideration. Here is a short list of those key differences that count for a lot when supporting video conferencing:
1 – Specialized technologies
Death by acronyms! H323, SIP, MCU, GW, Codec, HD, SD, CIF, WebRTC, H264, SVC, VMS, VaaS, etc… Video conferencing boasts its own set of specialized technologies, the meanings of which can differ greatly depending on the vendor. Having a good handle on these terms is important not only to provide IT support to internal departments but also to effectively communicate with hardware and software vendors and service providers.
2 – Outdated technology environments
Like many things in the world of telecommunications, technology evolves rapidly. As a result of expanded global networks, improvements in bandwidth capacity, increase in CPU on devices that are growing smaller and smaller yet becoming more and more powerful, and a prevalence of social media everywhere, a new generation of technology natives are in the workforce today. IT departments are tasked with staying abreast of the latest video trends, software and hardware in order to deliver a professional user experience consistent with what employees see in their personal lives.
3 – Troubleshooting
Video conferencing bugs can be simple or complex (most of the time, it’s a mix of the two). For IT, being able to navigate the sea of support issues makes a big difference to overall user adoption. Simply identifying which device is at the root cause of an issue can turn into a nightmare: is it the camera? The Codec? The cable? Or it is the network? The room lighting? The sun shining on the camera? Is our solution still under maintenance warranty?
In short, if you’re planning to handle video conferencing support on your own, ensure you have enough resources to address these regular problems without postponing other IT projects.
4 – Live assistance
There’s no way around it – live assistance is time consuming. And in the majority of scenarios, time is something you won’t have. The nature of video conferencing means that when a problem occurs, it will need to be sorted immediately. IT support is usually called in urgently a few minutes after a video conference should have started to fix the hardware, software or connection problem in a room full of busy and impatient people.
When this happens, your IT resources will have to stop what they are working on to dedicate themselves to providing live video support. What will happen if the problem is not solved within five minutes? Ten minutes? If the call must be canceled? Again, if you are providing live support for your company’s video conferencing system, ensure that you have sufficient resource so other IT projects will not be impacted.
5 – Executive users
And now, imagine the same scenario as described above except that the busy, impatient people waiting on a fix are all top executives! Video conferencing – particularly expensive telepresence room systems – are primarily used by VIPs for board meetings and other important events. They have invested a lot in these impressive Polycom, Tandberg or Lifesize systems to offset the cost of business travel, and expect a seamless and intuitive user experience every time.
With that said, video conferencing as a collaboration tool has the potential to connect your teams and boost workforce productivity in amazing ways! However, jumping headfirst into enterprise video support without considering technical repercussions can quickly leave IT teams frustrated and feeling strapped for time and resources. Keep these key elements in mind and consider all options for providing internal users with video support and assistance.