Business Video: Channelized success

Business Video: Channelized success

Dinesh Sehgal, Sales Director, Telepresence and Video Sales, Cisco India

Increased globalization is driving the desire for more personal contact across geographic and cultural boundaries, prompting the need for visual collaboration. Technology trends that enable better communication between the various constituents of the extended enterprise are being sought after, while network-based solutions which help to harness the knowledge of the 'collective' by integrating the application stack with networks, communications, and mobility are gaining popularity. All forms of communications, collaboration, and entertainment are becoming digitized, and connected.
As data and voice, converge over IP, video is emerging as the driving force for business transformation and is changing everything including the Internet by helping to streamline business processes, increase collaboration, extend communication, and enhance learning. Unified communication and rich media conferencing solutions along with technologies like Telepresence designed around HD video that allow collaboration with a near 'in-person' meeting experience, are helping to increase customer intimacy and scale knowledge transfer within organizations with little complexity.
To cite an example, an electronics solutions company providing comprehensive design, production and management services to global customers wanted to improve business processes, reduce latencies, speed production and problem resolution, improve communication and reduce face-to-face meetings which were turning out to be too expensive. The company sought a collaboration solution that would help enhance interactions between suppliers, manufacturers, and customers in real-time. The solution also had to help the organization support product launches, and localize crisis and risk management.
The company decided to implement Telepresence technology for remote collaboration and conferencing so that its employees, customers and partners could interact with each to share information via documents, files, and other data for assessment and review in real time. In addition to seeing significant workflow productivity improvements, the company benefitted from significant cost savings -as much as $30,000 on travel expenses for a single business review. The implementation helped the company to easily share information about production, process improvements, and so on-programs that previously required frequent travel for company personnel.
Telepresence also facilitated more intimate and agile interactions between executives, R&D teams, plant managers, sales and service organizations, and distributors helping to enhance relationships with customers and partners. For the future, the company hopes to leverage the power of the secure network and unified communications, to transform the way they work with global manufacturing as they expand in their worldwide organization.
The above case implies that the nature of work is evolving faster today than at any time in the past. Users' demand to view any content, on any device, anywhere coupled with the use of video in everyday interaction with coworkers or customers is leading a market transition to "pervasive video," in which video is infused at work, home, and play . As new technologies like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and software-based solutions provide users with ubiquitous access to visual communications, video is becoming the new 'voice.' If statistics are anything to go by, then 50% of all the traffic on the Internet today comprises video. According to the Cisco Visual Index study, global IP traffic will increase by four times and hit 767 exabytes by 2014. The biggest single component of that will be internet video.
According to an Infonetics Research report the annual enterprise video conferencing and telepresence system revenue grew 18% in 2010 to $2.2 billion worldwide. Enterprise video conferencing and telepresence market will more than double by 2015, when it will hit $5.0 billion with a 5 year CAGR of 17%. Growth for immersive telepresence is strongest, growing at a 5-year revenue CAGR of 34%, and reaching close to $1B by CY15. The adoption of video in business is taking place across verticals outside the traditional IT, in government, education, healthcare, SMB, manufacturing, retail and BFSI.
Video is becoming the core of the collaboration market, and according to Frost & Sullivan the government sector-not only in India but across the APAC-is leading in the deployment of HD video conferencing (Govt - 45%,Healthcare - 6%, Education - 7%, BFSI - 15%, IT & ITES - 20%, Others (Transportation & Logistics, Hospitality, Electric power companies) - 7%). IDC reports indicate that by 2014, the video conferencing and Telepresence market will more than double, and by 2015 Telepresence will grow to a $4.7 billion market globally. The APAC region is expected to account for over a third of that market, i.e about $1.7 billion in revenues.
Given the above, communications vendors are repositioning themselves for competition in an evolving marketplace. Providing affordable, ubiquitous video solutions is becoming a critical element of communications and collaboration portfolios and a key competitive factor as well.

Partner opportunity
The increased use of video in business offers channel partners an unprecedented opportunity to grow, by providing customers with a range of consulting and technology integration services in addition to software support, advanced hardware replacement and basic troubleshooting. Partners need to understand how customers leverage business video, expand their offering accordingly and provide customers with a complete portfolio of solutions that addresses their various needs. They must innovate with vendors to leverage the benefits of business video, so as to evolve across the customer pyramid, improve efficiency, achieve growth and ensure customer satisfaction.
To increase customer signoffs, partners need to inform them about how video can improve business processes and applications in terms of productivity, efficiency, time savings, cost control and team building. By providing a simple demo or deploying the technology in their own company and creating their own case studies, partners can communicate the benefits of business video more convincingly to customers. Right-sizing the solution to a customer's business needs and budget is crucial for partners since customers may be unaware of which solution is best for them and consequently make the wrong purchase, either in terms of functionality or price point.
Partners need to associate with vendors who devise scalable models that enable long term growth with a strong emphasis on speed of execution and local empowerment. As the technology progresses along the product life cycle, it is important that partner training and support become defined and scalable. By helping the partners scale up, vendors empower them to provide efficient professional support services to customers across various business verticals. Increasing incentives for the partners via rebate programs, enhancement of existing partner portfolios, new product offerings and certifications enable to increase partner productivity and ensure that customers are served better.
In addition to working with their vendors, another way for partners to drive revenue, extend their geographic reach, add competencies, or expand their portfolios of business solutions is to actively collaborate with other partners, share expertise and learn best practices. In order to differentiate themselves from competitors and enter new markets, partners must develop broad technical and industrial expertise that highlight the depth of their experience, and additionally specialize in specific technologies. So as to have the best-in-class adoption and penetration rates across architectural plays, partners need to be competitive enough to cause disruption in the market.
Partners need to expand their presence in tier 2 and 3 to capture the abundant market opportunity there. The breadth of partners affords customers' choices based on geography and size, while it helps partners to increase their return on investment (ROI), accelerate time to market, improve productivity, and transform business process. Having the right technology, the right focus, associating with the right vendors and making solutions affordable and getting a buy in from stakeholders could result in faster adoption of business video in enterprises. Targeting new segments with innovative product offerings, marketing initiatives and localized sales efforts could be another key success factor.

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