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5 Steps for Developing A Video Work Culture

March 1, 2013 | Telepresence Options

By Simon Dudley, Video Evangelist for LifeSize

No organization will argue with the fact that video communication tools will change the way the enterprises do business and for the better. Moreover, the technology exists - it works well, and in most cases, it's affordable. So why the slow adoption rate? The answer is a variety of limiting factors that show videoconferencing just isn't ready for prime time: high cost, lack of interoperability, poor quality, IT resource requirements and overall usability issues. These barriers will quickly be eliminated, but will your workforce be culturally prepared to adopt the idea of video as an essential communication tool?

Here are some tips for how to instill the culture of video at your organization and get the most ROI out of your video investment:

1. Figure out what people want/expect from video tools:
You are well aware of video's benefits and how it can be used, but that doesn't mean the organization will greet the implementation process with open arms. Skype and FaceTime might be commonplace consumer applications, but professionals can be very wary of using video in the workplace. Issue a survey to your organization asking them if, made available, they'd use video tools and if no, why not? This information will help you to proactively address concerns before people have a chance to spread fear among themselves about a new technology.

2. Don't mistake desktop video as a gateway for room solutions:
If you really want to ignite someone's interest in video, desktop video isn't it. Webcams are suitable for one-on-one situations, but it doesn't ignite self-perpetuating interest because the quality of the experience is subpar: You're very aware of the technology enabling the interaction. Video conferencing needs to be "looking-through-a-window" quality so that the participants forget that they're on a video call. When rolling out video, launch a room solution in a bigger environment that will highlight the�� visual quality and then, once everyone is onboard, roll out a ubiquity story for desktop and mobile.

3. Simply ask the question: Can this be done over video?
I once worked with a company that, before deploying a video, racked up nearly $9 million in mileage reimbursements for its mid-level managers to drive to meetings at three offices hundreds of miles from each other. When video became an option, they were required to submit a travel request form online. The form asked one simple and important question: Can this call be done over video? Little did the managers know that any response more than 10-words long was approved - regardless of the content. This simple question alone resulted in a travel reduction of 75 percent by these managers.

4. Encourage video usage in non-critical situations:
Video isn't a magic wand. You can't expect people to walk through the door and know how to use the system, let alone want to use it for critical business meetings. To help achieve the necessary comfort level, run training courses, hand out cheat sheets and host open days to show what you can achieve by using the system. Encourage people to practice using video for non-critical meetings so they overcome their fear of new technology and feel confident enough to use it for business calls.

5. Make the technology accessible:
If your organization only has one video system, don't make the mistake of placing it in an executive suite. Set it up in a meeting room that many people in your organization have access to and aggressively market it internally or else people will walk by that room just to go hop on a plane. If you have two systems across two offices, have IT preset the camera and keep the call open so when people need to meet they just walk in the room without having to deal with the process of dialing. Just remember to turn off the picture-in-picture function: People don't like to see themselves on video (it's like putting mirrors in a conference room).

Video is a $2 billion business on the rise. However, companies need to understand that an investment in video is not analogous to an investment in a new phone system. This is why most video implementations fail. Companies continuously underestimate the ways video will fundamentally change the way they do business. If you always do what you always done, you'll always get what you've always had. The phone can disseminate information, but video is all about commitment: a look into all the nonverbal cues that can only be captured visually. As a result, video not only makes the workflow more efficient, but helps eliminate instances of miscommunication and second-guessing that can stifle any business. This is why executives understand the value of video because their success heavily relies on the power of commitment.

About The Author:
Simon Dudley, Video Evangelist, LifeSizeSimon is a veteran in the video communications industry with over 20 years of experience developing, marketing and selling video conferencing technology. Simon has been an integral part of the LifeSize team since its inception in 2003 and has held a range of roles within LifeSize including product design, product marketing, Director of Sales EMEA, UK Country Manager, Public Sector Director and Director of Global Emerging Markets.

As Video Evangelist, Simon represents LifeSize to the world, regularly speaking at events and to bloggers, press and industry experts across the globe, evangelizing how video communications can help drive social collaboration and accelerate business success.

Simon resides in Austin, Texas, working at LifeSize headquarters.

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