Businesses are looking for new and unique ways to support mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. These devices play a crucial role in any comprehensive mobile communications and real-time collaboration strategy. One of the main applications of mobile devices in business is video chat, a fast-growing part of the Unified Communication and Collaboration (UCC) market. Video chat allows people to work effectively from anywhere by simply equipping their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices with software that enables seamless business operations.
Businesses should include video chat as part of their communications plan now, especially since more and more Millennials are joining the workforce and video chat is something they have grown up with and expect in business. Some additional reasons to include video chat as part of a business communications plan include:
- Support for Clients – For businesses focused on client and customer relationships, video chat can become an invaluable tool that allows the business to balance client face time with the realities of modern work.
- Colleague Collaboration – Even those working from a remote location or those who are mobile can meet to discuss ideas and make decisions in a timely manner via video collaboration solutions.
- Instant Collaboration – The mobile video chat doesn’t require users to sit in front of a computer, so business can be accomplished anytime and anywhere.
- Visualization – Mobile video chat allows coworkers to show others what they are looking at; this is much better than lifting up a laptop to share the view.
- Visual Cues – Video chat allows people to read body language while discussing issues, giving everyone a better understanding of what everyone else is thinking.
When it comes to incorporating video chat into the communications business plan, there is a lot to consider. Companies need to understand how their employees are using video chat today, what they would like to see now and in the future, and if IT can support it. After that, things to consider include:
- Bandwidth – Is there enough in place, or will there need to be some engineering done?
- Video Chat Hardware – What will work for the organization? Is it a matter of using Google Hangouts, or is something more sophisticated required? Are PCs and laptops used by the business today all equipped with webcams?
- Software – Are there other applications that should be considered for use in conjunction with video chat? Will it work with the chosen video chat hardware?
- Mobile Devices – Will the company decide on what type of mobile endpoints should be supported, and will it provide them to employees? Or will “bring your own device” (BYOD) be supported? Will BYOD work with the hardware and software desired? How much control does the organization require over mobile devices?
- Cost – Is there a budget for video chat, or is the company depending on using free applications? Will the applications work for the company’s needs?
- Implementation and Management – How will video chat be implemented, and who will manage it? Is there enough IT staff, or should the company consider applications based in the cloud? Which method makes more sense to the client?
- Growth – Will the chosen method of performing video chat support upcoming applications like WebRTC, 4D video screens, and other technologies that the company can grow with?
Value-added resellers (VARs) have an opportunity to educate clients about the future of video chat, the many applications and benefits, and the reasons to consider it as part of a business communications plan. By acting as a trusted advisor, VARs will gain opportunities for product and service revenue, professional services contracts, and future sales and opportunities to be the customer’s vendor for life.
What applications for video chat does your company find are important for customers to consider as part of their business communications plan? Does your company have additional suggestions? Please comment below.