How UC has Elevated Video

UC Unplugged

How UC has Elevated Video

By Mike Sheridan, EVP, Worlwide Sales  |  November 12, 2012

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Think back, if you will, to a decade ago. The world was just starting to embrace instant messaging, with AOL (News - Alert) leading the way. Prices for digital cameras were dropping, but they were only just becoming affordable to the masses. Meanwhile, videoconferencing was a luxury that only the largest and savviest of corporations could afford.

Your company may have invested in a dedicated, highly built-out conference room to chase the elusive dream of holding meetings in different cities where the principals could see one another rather than peer at the phone in the middle of the table.

As in many areas of our lives, technological advancements have not only made our lives better, but also removed any lingering vestige of the frustration we used to feel. Videoconferencing, in particular, was an altogether expensive and inefficient proposition. The very word videoconference might make you shudder at the thought of your company’s clunky and unreliable system. Remember reserving a room, assembling the attendees, and then trouble-shooting for the next 25 minutes? With the meeting half over, it was difficult to get anything done.

Indeed, the process was so aggravating that I remember simply opting for travel or a phone call.

But today, things are different. High-definition video technology has been integrated into everything from computers to smartphones. This new prominence of video – combined with shrinking travel budgets and skyrocketing fuel costs – has supercharged the migration toward videoconferencing. Lost in the debate over voice vs. video is the realization that the latter is no longer a theoretical argument but a practical application that’s now available to the masses.

Now, video is real, impromptu, and a viable option for collaboration. To paraphrase the jazz standard, what a difference a decade makes.

As we find ourselves in the midst of the era of BYOD and the mobile worker, video has gotten a further boost from unified communications, which seamlessly supports both trends. Much like when the iPod led the mass migration toward digital music files, many leading smartphones, laptops, and PCs have embraced video technology and brought much-needed convenience and mobility to the world of videoconferencing.

And in the current technological environment, a wide array of devices can deliver a satisfying video conversation on a portable device that cost $600 or less – many of which are already on your employees’ desks.

With an expanded palate of communications channels including e-mail, voice, IM and video, individuals can think more strategically about how they engage and collaborate, giving them the flexibility to pick the appropriate channel for any situation. Perhaps more important, UC and video enable companies to take an enterprise-wide approach to consumer engagement. In the not-too-distant future, video will become the currency of consumer interaction, enabling every employee – from frontline agents and sales staff to communications workers and subject-matter experts – to become part of the customer experience team.

When your company embraces video, you’ll find that, as with so many other capabilities, these are no longer abstract notions. They’re just a click away.

Mike Sheridan is executive vice president of worldwide sales with Aspect (

Mike Sheridan is executive vice president of worldwide sales with Aspect (

Edited by Braden Becker