New Video Technologies Increase Enterprise Efficiency and Reduce TCO
As enterprises look for new ways to improve productivity and reduce costs, one area rapidly growing is the more strategic use of video and visual communications—in everything from accelerating the customer ordering process to enhancing collaboration among employees and improving security around sensitive areas. Communication occurs through video walls, digital signage, high-performance dashboards, and related form-factors. Effective, efficient deployment of video and visual solutions can significantly increase operational efficiency and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), while delivering high-quality visual experiences.
Enterprises typically fail to grasp the potential of optimizing video and visual communications for one or more of the following reasons:
- Management teams look at video as a series of spot solutions, such as for the control room, customer engagement, or operations. They fail to think about video as an integrated, enterprise-wide opportunity.
- IT teams have taken on the AV function that was previously managed by a separate AV team. As such, they may have less experience and/or resources to identify and deploy optimal video and visual communications solutions.
- The organization has deployed video/visual communications solutions with technology that is now outdated but fails to see the benefit of updating its capabilities to new solutions, such as AV-over-IP.
- Past solutions have fallen into one of two buckets: the first is complex, expensive solutions that require high deployment and maintenance costs and the second is low-end solutions that have proven unreliable and/or unstable.
- Three trends are now lowering barriers to enterprise-wide video and visual communication adoption: the increasing number of relevant uses, the performance enhancement of these solutions, and the lowering cost and technical expertise required for deployment.
First, SaaS has taken the enterprise world by storm and created new efficiencies and opportunities for collaboration in areas such as process automation and operational productivity. SaaS also reduces operating costs by removing networking friction, like working with outdated versions of software and relying on expensive and often inefficient hardware.
At the same time, video and visual communications are growing rapidly across different markets, ranging from healthcare to hospitality, manufacturing, telecommunications, and more. Rapidly growing enterprise functions include control rooms, meeting rooms, executive data visualization, manufacturing/logistics, and other areas.
A third trend, AV over IP, continues to proliferate as well—AV-over-IP is defined as building video and visual communications capabilities over existing voice and data networks as opposed to creating distinct AV networks.
Until recently, even in AV-over-IP architectures, video and visual communications solutions have relied on an abundance of hardware, bucking the SaaS trend. This hardware includes, but isn’t limited to media players, thin clients, cables, and extenders. These hardware components can be expensive, unreliable, and often become obsolete quickly.
Today, a new breed of video and visual networking solutions is emerging that builds on the SaaS and AV-over-IP trends and enables enterprises to more aggressively incorporate video into everyday operations.
While the needs of each enterprise are unique, when researching solutions to create a video and visual communications platform, there are specific features enterprise teams should consider that will help them maximize the ROI of their investment:
The solution should enable enterprise IT teams to obtain content from any source—in-house PCs and servers, live feeds, and the cloud—without the deployment of additional hardware. The solution should also be able to handle content in multiple formats for use in applications as varied as control rooms and digital signage.
At the edge, software embedded in smart displays should replace thin clients, media players, cables, extenders, and other hardware. The software should also enable advanced features such as the creation of zones, scheduling, cloud storage space, display synching for video walls, and more.
The solution should be able to handle video and visuals of unlimited resolution and scale to support as many displays as necessary; in some deployments, this can be more than 100. Enterprises should ask solution providers to demonstrate and quantify significant improvements in operational efficiency and in reducing TCO.
The solution should be scalable for a wide range of enterprise communication needs. These can range from streamlining operations on a factory floor, sharing data for executive teams, managing control rooms, facilitating collaboration among teams in multiple locations, engaging customers that visit an office or retail location, and many more. Management teams should also consider more innovative uses, such as offering telehealth services to their employees.