Not Just for Entertainment

Video and Web 2.0 are Helping Companies Increase Collaboration
by: Jerry Liao

In the I.T. world, Web 2.0 is usually associated with social networking sites while videos are associated with entertainment. But the technology mentioned is slowly finding it’s way into today’s more interactive and global workforce

Cisco released a study on the use of video and Web 2.0 technology in businesses worldwide. The study revealed that as consumer adoption of video and Web 2.0 has grown, companies are increasingly interested in using video to help grow their businesses, reach new customers, increase collaboration between their employees and look for more environmentally conscious means of communicating.

More than half of the 850 corporate information technology (IT) decision makers surveyed say they are using video and Web 2.0 tools. Another 25 percent said they are exploring such tools. However, nearly all those surveyed said more needs to be done to ready the network before they can implement video and Web 2.0 technologies to support organization-wide communication and collaboration.

Video and Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, Wikis, telepresence and web conferencing are helping companies to keep pace with rapid market changes. Nearly 30 percent of companies surveyed reported that the primary business reason for investing in video and Web 2.0 tools is to address the demand for innovative products and services from their customers. The desire to be more environmentally conscious (26 percent) was also reported as a consideration in rolling out video applications.

“The tipping point for mainstream enterprise adoption of video and Web 2.0 technologies will depend on how clearly business cases establish the link with business growth and competitive advantage,” said Marie Hattar, senior director of network systems for Cisco. “With the increased globalization and spread of the enterprise workforce, IT’s role is expanding from managing network operations to also shaping a business’s impact by innovating how employees, customers and partners communicate and collaborate.”

In this era of the dynamic, collaborative knowledge worker, which is seeing a growing importance in global teaming, and a flatter, more interactive organization, enterprises need to innovate with their communication tools to be more agile in response to market changes. Nearly half the respondents anticipate using video more widely in the next five years, with more efficient collaboration with remote employees (66 percent) and reduced travel costs (56 percent) as the business drivers.

Noteworthy is the fact that in the United States, companies that plan to use video conferencing technologies in the next five years are also most likely to be faster-growing companies, as measured by fiscal year growth. On the otherhand, the fast-growing companies in Europe and the emerging markets are most likely to use Web 2.0 tools in the next five years.

Additional key findings from the study include the following:

– Aside from cost, the biggest barrier to deploying video was challenges associated with maintaining a secure network (27 percent).

– Respondents agreed that IT complexity will increase as companies resolve how to deploy video and Web 2.0 technologies on top of existing collaboration applications.

– Only a small percentage of companies report that their network is ready to support video; the leading barriers are insufficient bandwidth and a lack of network infrastructure.

– Decision-makers in the United States are more likely to state that their network is increasing in complexity, becoming more costly to manage while enabling greater mobility.

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