October 29, 2013
Yorktel CEO Ron Gaboury Talks Past and Future of Video Managed Services
By Blaise McNamee Web Editor
The concept of video conferencing has been around for a while, although the technology itself has not always been mature. Nevertheless, many enterprises bought into its promises during the technology boom of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and undertook massive investments in communications infrastructure. When the performance of such platforms didn’t pan out as hoped, many enterprises ultimately shied away from the technology.
As continued improvements in bandwidth, mobility, and IP communication technology were made over the years, these enterprises slowly began to gravitate back toward the technology. With video conferencing having been refined and proven in the government sector, many enterprises decided that it was now time to give video communications another shot. However, they faced a looming problem: enterprises were stuck with an outdated and defunct infrastructure that needed a complete technological refresh. The prospect of making another multimillion-dollar investment to overhaul their communications infrastructure seemed daunting.
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According to Yorktel CEO Ron Gaboury, that is when enterprises started to embrace managed services.
A services model is preferred by many organizations as it presents a cost-effective means to embrace new technology with a manageable operating expense. Some organizations that updated their infrastructure found that they did not have the internal resources to understand the intricacies of the new technology, or the inherent interoperability issues needed for secure communications with both internal and external audiences. Others moved to a hosted cloud infrastructure to avoid the hassles of managing on-premise equipment, but still needed expert help in managing their system. Accordingly, Video Managed Services offered a solution.
In an interview with TMCnet, Gaboury expanded on this point and articulated that video managed services initially grew from a need to avoid large-scale capital investments on hardware and infrastructure. With time, enterprises realized that for a far smaller investment, per the aforementioned operating expense, they could realize far higher adoption and utilization, a better user experience, and ultimately a larger ROI by embracing a fully managed services model.
Since then, the adoption of video communications has continued to grow, and it does not show any signs of slowing. With the ongoing development and utilization of Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC), smartphones and tablets, and now WebRTC, high-quality video capabilities are becoming ubiquitous across all platforms and devices.
“It has to be this way for video conferencing to take off,” Gaboury said. “Years ago you had to go find video — now video finds you.”
In fact, a Redshift Research survey commissioned by Polycom (News - Alert) reveals that 76 percent of businesses use video conferencing solutions at work today, with 56 percent of them participating in at least one video call a week. Moreover, 52 percent of business leaders surveyed expect video to be their most preferred collaboration tool in three years.
Gaboury believes that once video conferencing becomes fully entrenched in UC, businesses will truly come to prefer it over teleconferencing. Humans naturally desire to see who they’re interacting with, and this can be seen in the way people interact with communications technology now.
“Go into your next audio call when you’re all in the room. If the attendees are engaged with whoever’s on the phone, they’re going to be staring and talking at the conference phone, despite it being an all audio interaction.”
Gaboury argues that after using video conferencing long enough, users won’t feel like they’ve had a true meeting unless video is used. This underscores the fact that the benefits of video conferencing lie far beyond ROI on travel reduction. While it’s a pleasant perk, and often required by management for cost reductions, increased productivity and engagement are the true differentiators. The level of visual accountability afforded by video is where it ultimately edges out audio, too. On an audio conference, attendees could be emailing, texting, talking on their cell phones while muted, or wrapped up in any number of other distractions instead of participating. With video, participants are truly engaged in the conversation and the topic at hand, driving productivity through the roof.
Thus, while it may have had a shaky start, video managed services can look forward to a strong and stable future.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson