However, Toperczer says that web conferencing can be a great place to start, particularly as the technological hurdles are relatively low: Web cameras today offer good quality pictures, are affordable, and are basically plug-and-play. To utilize Nefsis' technology, he says, all users need is a Windows PC with internet access and a video capture device, such as a webcam.
The economics go beyond the computer screen, as web conferencing can save companies the cost of time and travel necessary to bring people together in one room, adds Toperczer. He says that organizations representing a variety of industries, such as manufacturing and financial services, are using the technology.
One reason video is gaining acceptance and momentum in such diverse industry sectors is the overall quality of the delivery. Simply put, desktop video images are more pleasing to the eye. "You can't ignore the infrastructure support that makes it much more possible and much more palatable," adds Ozer. "Five years ago, a significant portion of the viewing public had low broadband speeds."
Now that technology has caught up to the potential of desktop video communications, the sky is the limit, and customers will likely begin to demand more options. "When thinking about video, both live and on demand, very few customers don't want to do both," says Howard. "Being able to distribute inside the network and outside [is] becoming more important."
An Internal Picture
Interest in desktop video applications is apparently moving as quickly as the technology that powers them.
Yet while some are just dipping their toes into video experiments, others have already proven the value for their organizations.
Ian Palmer, head of marketing at Reprints Desk, Inc., a business software and information services company, says he was introduced to video offerings when he worked for other organizations prior to joining Reprints Desk a year and a half ago. Palmer says that he noticed that video was growing in popularity as a content delivery channel when he worked for Safari Books Online. "Video is probably one of the methods that I think we can really [use to] connect different audiences and also the information to those audiences," says Palmer.
Palmer now plans to lead the integration of video in many different facets of Reprints Desk's business, from company meetings to research (video-conducted focus groups), education (through interactive portals), and social media (with videos created for customer viewing). "I think it will be one of the pillars of our business as we move forward. It's that way because of the effectiveness for everybody involved," says Palmer. "I can't think of a better way to communicate in the type of world we're in today and to facilitate better information absorption and to have the personalization aspect as well. I think the biggest increase in my budget in the next fiscal year will be video."
His first initiative was a minimovie. However, Palmer leverages video for more routine company activities as well. He recently hosted a team meeting via web conferencing capabilities, with 12 people located in various locations across the country on the call. The technology solution from Nefsis enabled the employees to see images of each other on their computer screen in real time. "It's a way to keep our [travel] costs down, but also still have the same benefits of being face to face," says Palmer.