The Future of IP Video

By TMCnet Special Guest
John Shaw, COO, VBrick Systems Inc.
  |  December 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of Unified Communications Magazine

To prepare for the security considerations of IP video, one must anticipate how its adoption will evolve over the next few years. Business use of video, more than any other communications technology, is driven by consumerization – the expectation by employees, customers and business partners that they can leverage the same type of communications and collaboration tools in their professional lives that they employ in their personal lives. 

Unified communications has been discussed for many years, but it was not until consumers experienced the truly integrated experience of devices like the iPhone (News - Alert) that an equivalent level of seamless communications became an expectation in the workplace. Over the next several years these consumerization forces, and the business benefits and threats they portend, will only intensify.  Two-way and multi-party personal video delivered by applications such as Skype and the iPhone 4 will become a normal mode of business communication. For example, Microsoft's (News - Alert) Office Communicator Suite and Avaya's Aurora UC environments already incorporate desktop video. Use of videoconferencing will no longer be relegated to expensive video-equipped conferencing and telepresence rooms.The overwhelming popularity of Internet-based video sharing sites is driving businesses to explore how they can create their own "enterprise YouTubes". Employees will be equipped to create rich media content including product training materials, HR updates, video newsletters and the like directly from their desktops and share it with co-workers. Companies will be able to easily populate their web sites or social media locales with compelling rich media material. In doing so, they can create inbound marketing campaigns that will motivate prospective customers to learn about the firms' products and services.CEOs in large, distributed organizations have long sought to use the power and intimacy of broadcast video to communicate with employees. In the past, this often entailed building CEO studios, rolling in a satellite truck or an expensive video streaming service, and orchestrating highly staged events. Looking forward, live broadcast video will be used by executives across the organization to communicate in an ad hoc way to their sales teams, distributed product groups or for company-wide meetings attended by tens of thousands of employees. 

Any video-equipped conference room or even desktop can become a virtual broadcast studio, and the company's LAN/WAN can be fully IP-video enabled. Employees will use chat to ask questions in real time, and the presenter can dynamically poll the attendees. Outside the firewall, firms will use web-based media management portals combined with a content data network to broadcast their message to customers, shareholders and business partners.The amazingly immersive character of telepresence systems will be further advanced by high resolution 1080p/60 and 2K/4K display formats, and 3D video. The cost of these systems will decline rapidly, making them accessible to more of the employee base.These IP video-based applications hold great promise for companies that plan for their adoption, and sizeable risk for firms who simply bar the door or conversely allow unfettered video to overrun their networks, content management repositories and security systems.

John Shaw is chief operating officer of VBrick (News - Alert) Systems Inc. (

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Edited by Stefania Viscusi