By Nicole Olsen
Corporate communicators have welcomed the increased adoption of video collaboration tools to stay connected with remote workforces over the last year. Platforms such as Zoom, Webex, and Teams have kept employees (and students) around the world engaged and in touch during a time of significant uncertainty.
However, this rapid shift to video collaboration tools has also come at a price. The switch to video-centric workplaces placed an enormous burden on technology infrastructures as well as the internet itself. Ramifications included: frozen images, fragmented audio, and frustrated users.
This isn’t necessarily the fault of the technology, but rather the impact of using technology for use cases it wasn’t designed for.
For face-to-face meetings with small audiences and simple screen sharing, collaboration platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are a solid choice. The priority for these tools is to enable very low-latency, interactive communications which, by default, offer little network buffering. As a result, even the smallest network connection glitch will noticeably impact quality. The more people logged in to a single session, the less likely that participants will all have a good experience and, worse, the company hosting the event won’t really know.
Enterprise webcasting solutions, however, are quite different. By design, these solutions prescribe a slightly higher latency to minimize the risk of buffering when video is being delivered to a large audience. These solutions also provide a visually rich aesthetic that can be highly customized from a branding, interactivity, and feature/functionality perspective. They also provide superior bandwidth efficiency, at extremely high quality, for communications aimed at massive audiences.
Enterprise video platforms also were designed for centralized, secure management of corporate video assets throughout their lifecycle – from the point of creation, through to live and cached video distribution and ultimately to how those assets are stored, and expired, over time.
The fact is that there are multiple video solutions each designed to support a unique set of video communication applications. To get the most out of your video investment, collaboration tools can and should be used in tandem with enterprise webcasting software.
For example, a webcast can originate from a Zoom meeting, which can then be transcoded and webcast to audiences in the tens of thousands with each viewer’s experience available for measurement and analysis.
As the landscape continues to evolve, so too will organizational needs. With a hybrid workplace model, organizations will be seeking solutions that deliver optimal and redundant internal and external distribution resources, allow them to observe network performance and video quality in real time, and to scale and expand resources in real time.
Most of us recognize that, going forward, our workplaces will be different than they were in 2019. Even before the pandemic, many organizations with increasing concerns over both the carbon cost and fiscal cost of travel were already adopting online collaboration and communication mediums to replace in-person meetings.
For the near- and long-term, video is here to stay. Understanding that your company has a variety of video applications, will help you choose the right tool for the job and get the most out of your video technology stack.