Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tipping Point for Telepresence

Tipping Point in Videoconferencing/Telepresence and Unified Communications

A tipping point has been reached in the videoconferencing/Telepresence/Unified Communications industry. As defined in Wikipedia, tipping points are “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable."[1] Martin Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term: "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point."

This is precisely what is happening in the videoconferencing/Telepresence space. A convergence of factors is driving this industry’s growth. Travel disruptions, cost containment, budget cuts, carbon footprint and social responsibility concerns, the need to enhance client and partner engagements and team decision making, quicker product introductions, telecommuting, the globalization of work, all these factors point to a need for all corporations and organizations to seriously look at videoconference, Unified Communications and Telepresence solutions.

Videoconferencing now features a range of solutions, from desktop to HDVideo Telepresence room solutions. The cost of hardware is falling in this competitive market. Most importantly, Polycom has launched a major interoperability forum, the UCIF, which will ensure compatibility between vendors. The UCIF initiative should spur additional competition in the field with a subsequent growth of the market. It should also reassure users about the viability of their investment.

I recently learned about two organization who could benefit tremendously from videoconferencing solutions. A non-profit organization, with budget problems, had people attend to a one day conference, disrupting work, spending money on food, travel and conference facilities instead of using a videoconferencing solution that would have enabled it to accomplish the same goals. Another non-profit organization is planning a new training program that would require constant training on a regional basis with its training consultants on the road constantly. Both of these organizations, with limited budgets, would benefit tremendously from videoconferencing solutions.

The business case for a videoconference solutions shows that companies recoup their investment quickly by reducing their travel time and expenses while improving their productivity, communications and collaboration across the organization as well as externally with clients and partners.

When we look at our limited resources, be they natural or personal, it is incumbent upon every company and organization to seriously consider using videoconferencing, Unified Communications and Telepresence solutions to improve their business operations as well as their profits. As a shareholder, contributor, partner or client, ask key executives of an organization, be it a non-profit or a profit-making company, the question: have you recently looked at how you can benefit from the latest advances in videoconferencing, Unified Communications and Telepresence solutions? Sometimes just asking the question can get the ball rolling. The payoff can be tremendous, to the environment, to employees, shareholders and society as a whole.