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Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS


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Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS

  1. 1. E-Guide Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Despite, or even because of, the economic recession, the enterprise video conferencing market is growing. Whether it's room-based, desktop, telepresence, or an integration of all three -- the business value of video conferencing is undeniable. This E-Guide will help you develop plans and polices for video conferencing, ensuring you not only meet user demands and improve collaboration, but also deliver measureable ROI. Sponsored By:
  2. 2. Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Table of Contents E-Guide Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Table of Contents: Recession generates interest, adoption in video conferencing Winning users over to video conferencing Resources from Citrix Online Sponsored by: Page 2 of 7
  3. 3. Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Recession generates interest, adoption in video conferencing Recession generates interest, adoption in video conferencing Robin Gareiss Rather than read another story lamenting the woes of the economic recession, prepare for the opposite. The eco- nomic recession actually has helped the video conferencing market, and it's forcing employees to pay attention to a technology they once shunned as difficult to use and of poor quality. Companies are eyeing three primary types of video conferencing: room-based, telepresence and desktop, and -- in many cases -- looking to integrate all three. The lines between room-based and telepresence are just starting to blur, but for now, there are some distinct differences. Room-based systems include single screens mounted on the walls or on movable carts. This year, 77.6% of companies are using room-based systems, compared with only 53.8% last year. Room-based systems are seeing the fastest growth of all video conferencing equipment. Telepresence typically includes two or three large screens mounted on the wall, along with matching furniture in every telepresence suite and directional acoustics. The images on the screens are the actual size of the people, and everyone appears to be sitting around the same table. This year, 27.8% of organizations are using telepresence. Another 23% say they're evaluating the technology. Desktop video conferencing includes video displays on desktop computers, laptops and IP hard phones. More than half (52%) of organizations use desktop video conferencing today, up only slightly from a year ago (51%). Desktop video deployments are limited in terms of the number of endpoints and usage. The video conferencing market is packed full of vendors. Relatively new pure-play video entrants, such as Vidyo and LifeSize, compete with incumbents including Tandberg and Polycom, while vendors such as Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Mitel and ShoreTel increasingly deliver video as part of their unified communications products. Avistar, BT Conferencing and Glowpoint provide hosted bridges and/or management services, while service providers including AT&T, Global Crossing, Masergy, Tata and Verizon deliver dedicated network services, extranet connectivity, and a full suite of management options. Two key business drivers are encouraging video adoption: the need to meet the online collaboration needs of an increasingly virtual workforce and the desire to use video to reduce, or offset, reductions in travel budgets. And in fact, the two drivers work together: If video didn't enable online collaboration and provide a good meeting experi- ence, it would not be an effective alternative to travel. For senior executives who value high-touch interaction with fellow business leaders, customers or partners, telepresence is the best solution because of the "virtual reality" nature of the technology. It reduces awareness of the video systems, enabling participants to focus on one another. Sponsored by: Page 3 of 7
  4. 4. Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Recession generates interest, adoption in video conferencing Distributed workers who must communicate with one another are more likely to use room-based, desktop or some combination of systems simply to provide for more effective meetings. Video, in these cases, provides a higher form of social interaction that captures verbal and non-verbal communications while reducing the amount of multi-tasking that often takes place during voice-only calls. None of the drivers for increased video conferencing adoption would mean much if not for a third factor – falling cost coupled with improved quality. High-definition video has made the leap from home theater to home and office, with room-based HD systems starting at about $5,000 per room (for camera and codec). Telepresence systems, meanwhile, cost about $250,000 to $300,000 per room, plus ongoing costs for maintenance, support and band- width. New systems from vendors such as Polycom, Tandberg, Telanetix and Mitel offer lower-cost telepresence, starting at about $60,000. Room-based and telepresence will grow substantially during the next two years. But desktop video conferencing still has hurdles to overcome. First, bandwidth requirements are variable. Desktop systems typically require 128 Kbps to 1 Mbps for an acceptable quality of experience (QoE). Many systems are based on a peer-to-peer model whereby participants connect to one another directly, rather than through a bridge. Network managers, then, must estimate bandwidth requirements and usage patterns, requiring regular adjustments to network design to account for video use. Second, desktop video quality -- although improving -- isn't nearly as good as room-based or telepresence systems. As a result, it's difficult for IT staffs to justify the business case of desktop video conferencing by arguing that it reduces travel. What's more, it doesn't take more than a few poor-quality desktop video conferencing sessions to sour employees on the technology in general. Troubleshooting desktop video problems is a challenge because video quality is often dependent on available PC resources. IT managers responsible for video require insight into overall application performance and must monitor issues such as CPU utilization. Finally, IT practitioners are concerned about privacy and the cultural implications of video, particularly among organizations with significant populations of teleworkers who don't like the idea of preparing themselves for a video call. Several participants also say their prohibition of Web cameras for security purposes ultimately blocks the use of desktop video conferencing. Overall, IT staffs should examine their video conferencing plans and policies to determine which types of systems make sense for their user demands. Of course, that means they must understand the demands and make sure employees understand that video conferencing today is better and easier to use than it was in years past. Half the battle is building user confidence that the systems work easily, are of good quality, and can improve collaboration. Sponsored by: Page 4 of 7
  5. 5. Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Winning users over to video conferencing Winning users over to video conferencing Robin GareissFrom the CIO's or CFO's perspective, the scenario for an upcoming six-person video conference looks like this: The company will save significantly on travel costs, and employees can stay home rather than being on the road for three days to conduct a meeting on the latest marketing strategy. But the employees sigh and roll their eyes at the idea of holding an important meeting over video conferencing -- the technology they used a few times years ago that sometimes worked, usually required IT support for the first 15 minutes of the call, and annoyed the participants by its choppy audio and visual quality. They would rather sacrifice their time home with the family in order to conduct a productive meeting. As companies re-evaluate their video conferencing strategies and enter the "Take 2" era of the technology, many IT staffs must figure out how to re-engage an otherwise skeptical audience of users who were burned one too many times by the technology. In fact, several companies say they have full-fledged internal marketing campaigns designed to re-educate and re-interest employees in the technology. Video conferencing has re-emerged as a key collaborative technology. As companies face travel freezes or slowdowns, IT staffs find a unique opportunity to showcase the technology as a way to vastly improve voice-only conference calls, or as a way to reduce travel budgets during a recession. They are able to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) primarily through travel-cost reduction, but they also point to improved meeting productivity (because of the visual component) and quality of life (because of reduced travel) as benefits. They are winning budgets to roll out the technology, but the key inhibitor is end-user adoption. "We're spending a lot of money on this rollout, and if employees don't use it, we'll be responsible for a failed project," says the IT director for an energy company, which is rolling out desktop, room-based, and telepresence video conferencing systems. How should IT staffs make sure employees keep an open mind and ultimately use the technology? Nemertes recommends the following approach: 1. Conduct meetings with end users long before the rollout starts. Ask them for their opinions on, and experiences with, video conferencing. If they don't have experiences, are they willing to try? Why or why not? If they did have experiences, were they positive or negative? In what ways? 2. If they have had bad experiences, acknowledge and accept that they had problems, rather than trying to justify why the problems existed. For example, don't explain that the IT staff at the time must not have had the network properly configured or the codec sized correctly. Simply acknowledge the experience, and make sure you understand why it was bad. Was it difficult to establish the video conferencing session? Was the quality poor? Was it challenging to conference in multiple locations? Sponsored by: Page 5 of 7
  6. 6. Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Winning users over to video conferencing 3. Solicit help from the company's marketing team members. Share with them the benefits of video confer- encing, and explain why it will be better this time. Specifically, point out the problem categories employees mentioned during the initial interviews, and describe the improvements. For example, if the video quality was inconsistent, explain that the new MPLS network will enable quality settings (i.e., class of service) to give video priority treatment. If they had problems establishing video sessions, explain how the new managed service will use a one-touch system to get the call established, with an on-call support represen- tative available 24/7. 4. Armed with that information, have marketing start an internal campaign to promote the benefits of the technology. Be clear about which types of video conferencing will be available, where, and the process for using each type of video conferencing. For example, is telepresence available only for executives? Is it available for certain types of meetings? Can anyone get desktop video conferencing? Engage business man- agers by demonstrating the ability to reduce travel costs and improve collaboration among distributed workers. 5. Start slowly. Bring in small groups of people to trial the system with colleagues in other offices. Show them that the technology does work, is easy to set up, and will improve meeting productivity while helping to keep them off airplanes and out of hotels. 6. Use a grassroots approach. Within these small groups, win people's support first. Listen to any com- plaints they have and resolve them, and make sure they are advocates of the technology. Then, let them spread the word. 7. Solicit help from Human Resources. Already, 39% of companies have policies around video conferencing, including the mandatory use of the technology for various types of meetings -- and executive override before any employees can book travel. 8. Build a business case. Make sure you benchmark current metrics for things like travel costs, days away from home for various subsets of employees, and number and length of audio conference calls. Then, in order to document success, compare those figures for the next several quarters once video conferencing is in place. Using these steps will help ensure a smoother rollout of video conferencing by engaging the most important piece of the technology -- the customers who adopt it. Sponsored by: Page 6 of 7
  7. 7. Video Conferencing: ROI, TCO and QOS Resources from Citrix Online Resources from Citrix Online Audio Conferencing 2.0: Control Costs & Simplify Administration Next Generation Audio Conferencing Controlling the Cost of Audio Conferencing About Citrix Online Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), offers the leading Web-based access, support, and collaboration software and services. The division offers Citrix GoToMyPC, Citrix GoToAssist and Citrix GoToMeeting. Sponsored by: Page 7 of 7