Sudhir Rohilla writes about how cloud-based video conferencing is making small businesses global.
Cloud-based video conferencing in its new and open avatar is changing the digital landscape like no other technology. It has the potential to disrupt like few other technologies and become the most important pillar of the digital disruption that we are witnessing across the globe.
From what was hitherto considered a domain of large corporations, video conferencing has moved from the boardrooms of large corporations to the laptops and mobile phones of SME and even individual service providers. The ever reducing costs and easy adaptability is helping its mass adoption.
Today's $2.41 billion global web conferencing market is expected to be worth US$8.9 Billion by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 8.3 per cent during the forecast period between 2017 and 2025 (Source: Frost & Sullivan and Transparency Market Research). The overall market is seeing accelerated demand propelled by easy-to-use, lower-priced, simplification, and migration from stand-alone audio to web conferencing and collaboration.
Flexibility is driving adoption and opening up newer segments. From what was just a boardroom phenomenon, based on propriety hardware and software, its moved to open technologies like WebRTC. Both technology and infrastructure problems are being eased at rapid rates. We are seeing the growing adoption both in businesses and consumers.
Products like DUO (Google), Chime (Amazon), and Skype (Microsoft) are addressing the needs of consumers through their apps which are currently being given free. The growing usage of these apps has broken down the barriers that people had in using video as a tool to communicate regularly. This has also increased the adoption of Video in business communications.
Collaboration needs of organisations both within the organisation and with potential and existing customers have seen a large increase. Both large companies and SMEs are now integrating video meeting in their various processes, like, cross-office collaboration, sales meetings, customer care, product demo etc. They have clearly benefited from the adoption by reducing travel times of their employees, increased productivity and reducing the cost of sales and customer care and also improved response times to various stakeholders. The key has been to integrate the video meetings as a part of the existing process. Newer players like GoConsult are solving the problems of flexible integration and ease of using video meetings. They are bringing the services to the doorsteps of the small and really small players. Want to have a like call, don't have to go Facebook, do it from your own website. Want to consult online, don't have to ask your customer to come to skype etc, do it from your own website. And all this happens quite incredibly easily.
One of the most innovative adoptions has been by the consulting fraternity. They have now been able to extend the reach of their services beyond their localities. Imagine an Indian Astrologer or a Vastu consultant now being able to extend his practice sitting in Jaipur to the UK and USA. Companies like Goconsult.in are now providing the complete solution for these people who can seamlessly get integrated into their websites and they can start their services. Similarly Imagine Financial consultants, Doctors, Lawyers etc managing their customers from the comfort of their homes and simultaneously being able to extend their geography of services.
To enable speedy adoption of video-based communications where video is a part of the work flow, a large number of platforms providing specialised solutions are coming up. Platforms which can help hospitals extend their services to locations where they don't exist currently, a platform where financial institutions can do eKYC. Online portal for hiring where we can get to see the interviewee online before have an in-person meeting.
Government is showing great keenness in adopting cloud-based video conferencing in a large number of their process like courts getting to testimony online, jails getting the inmates to talk to their visitors online, hence reducing the risks.
The video-driven transformation has truly begun. Businesses will have even more sway on their customers if they are encouraging them to directly interact with the brand – in real time and all from wherever they are. Entrepreneurs are now holding meetings, training employees, and encouraging a collaborative approach to doing business. Using technology to engage with customers worldwide is no more a thing of the future. It's here. From now and beyond, brands and consumers will be pushing the boundaries to build business relationships without affecting productivity – and those who don't embrace live video communication just might get left behind.
(The writer is a digital expert and CEO of Eyas Ventures. The views expressed are strictly personal.)