The Evolving Role of Video Communications for Customer Interactions

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For the past decade, Enterprises have used video to avoid travel. The videoconferencing impact on transportation is such that Scientific American dedicated an article on its effects reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Lately, enterprises have started to revisit how they can leverage video. In a world ruled by the customer experience, they are finding video can fulfill the strategic mission of enabling high-quality, face-to-face, interactions.

Balancing self-service and automation

Customer Service organizations are continually being asked to improve their operating costs and as a result they are turning to self-service and automation. If these technologies cannot effectively address the modern customer’s desire for convenience, they can often backfire. Consumers can easily become frustrated, feeling stuck dealing with a machine when they really want the personal touch of a real-time interaction.

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Although consumers can call to get help, long wait times, rigidly scripted processes, and the uncertainty of being able to get to a competent associate are making customers reluctant to use the phone. This trend is striking when looking at a Dimension Data survey of channel preferences by age group that finds while the telephone is the channel of choice for people 35 years and older, it drops to fourth choice for the Millennial generation. Many companies have turned to chat to provide assistance, either for websites or inside mobile applications. A Forrester consumer survey1 shows a rapid increase of chat usage from less than 38 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2015. However, chat is limited and can usually only address simple questions. In addition, the experience remains transactional and can sometimes be spoiled either by agent multitasking or ineffective bots.

Enters Video

Meanwhile, the usage of video communications keeps on growing. Video usage on mobile devices grew practically 10 fold from 2011 to 2016 according to eMarketer2. Enterprises of all sizes are now revisiting the advantages of video for customer engagement and are finding it a great communication channel for high-value customers or high-value transactions. BluCurrent Credit Union recently witnessed the benefits of a video-enabled solution and have seen cross sales of banking products increase by 20 percent. Additionally, when surveyed, BluCurrent members rated the system 4.5 out of a possible 5.

Human interactions drive engagement and emotion

As we shift to a digital world, our industry is also rediscovering the importance of emotion as a driver for customer retention. Together with effectiveness and ease, it is one of the three dimensions Forrester uses to measure the quality of customer experiences.

Video has emerged as the face-to-face channel of our digital world. Stay tuned as we continue to explore it.

1. http://blogs.forrester.com/kate_leggett/16-01-28-online_self_service_dominates_yet_again_why_its_an_effortless_way_to_get_to_your_answers
2. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Growth-of-Time-Spent-on-Mobile-Devices-Slows/1013072

WebRTC + Cloud Video Conferencing:
A Perfect Storm for B2B & B2C Collaboration

WebRTC WebcastWhen it comes to enabling B2B and B2C video collaboration, cloud-based video-conferencing is changing the way enterprises communicate. The benefit of cloud-delivered video goes beyond cost-savings: it provides technical and architectural advantages to solving the real-world challenge of connecting external participants, like customers, partners, clients and patients. In fact, external collaboration is the leading driver for IT managers to move toward cloud video conferencing instead of opting for an on-prem solution.

At the same time, WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is poised to eliminate the confusion that often results with external video participants. No client downloads and installations. No plugins. No helpdesk tickets. Outside users can just click on a link to start interacting. Whether external partners are participating through Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, WebRTC delivers the easiest workflow for guest users. By making downloads and plug-ins a thing of the past, WebRTC offers not only a video enabled experience, but also an effortless joining experience as well.

According to a report published by analyst firm Disruptive Analysis, WebRTC will be available on more than 6 billion devices by 2019. Not only is that figure staggering, it represents a huge opportunity for B2B and B2C communications.  

At our next webinar, join me and UC technology thought leader Phil Edholm as we take you through the perfect storm of WebRTC + Cloud, and how it can impact your organization’s external collaboration initiatives, like customer engagement, partner engagement and more.

Vidyo Joins the Alliance for Open Media

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Vidyo has been committed to the development of open standards since its inception in 2005. We have joined the ITU-T in 2006 as an Associate Member, and have participated in the development of both H.264 (AVC and SVC) and H.265 (HEVC) video coding standards. At the same time, we joined INCITS, the International Committee for Information Technology Standards, which is the central US forum for creating standards, and which designates the US delegation that represents the US in the Geneva-based International Standards Organization (ISO), including the well-known Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG). The ITU and MPEG have collaboratively developed both H.264 and H.265.  Our involvement in these efforts included the submission of technical proposals, donation of test video sequences, conformance bitstreams, as well as serving in editorial positions for various parts of these standards.

Vidyo has also been heavily involved in the IETF, which develops Internet-related standards including signaling, encryption, transport, etc. Vidyo’s personnel have co-authored numerous RFCs, and serve as co-chairs in relevant working groups. Vidyo has also been a member since 2010 of the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC), which develops interoperability specifications and runs its annual SuperOp! interoperability testing events (now in its 21st year).

Likewise, we have been involved in the WebRTC standardization effort, both at the IETF as well as the video codec level. Vidyo has improved VP9 by collaborating with Google to add scalability, an important feature for high-quality videoconferencing.

Our involvement in these efforts stems from our belief that standards and interoperability are crucial for improving the quality that users obtain collectively from our industry. By raising the quality, we help the industry grow; by fostering standardization and working on interoperability we make it easier to incorporate innovations across the board and deliver improved solutions to customers and users.

The Alliance for Open Media is a brand new organization in the area of standardization, founded by some of today’s leading companies in technology and content distribution (including Google), with a goal of developing next-generation royalty-free media codecs for a rapidly transforming industry. Vidyo’s innovative server architecture for large-scale, very high quality video communication, on virtually any network and device, is inherently codec-agnostic: the choice of codec, from an infrastructure point of view, is purely a business decision. We are very excited to join the Alliance for Open Media and contribute to the development of the AV1 codec, particularly for real-time videoconferencing uses.

External Collaboration: The #1 Cloud Video Driver

VidyoCloud makes external communications easyMost IT leaders and business managers agree that the chief driver to move enterprise applications to the cloud is the financial impact. Cloud deployments typically reduce transaction costs and are easier on the bottom line. And for many organizations, OpEx models are preferable to CapEx, because they provide an inherent agility that frees IT leaders from having to make significant, long term technology investments to be amortized over time.

But a recent study by Nemertes Research revealed an unexpected finding when it comes to video: the most significant driver for cloud video collaboration was not solely financial; it was business value. “Enabling External Participants” was named the top video cloud driver by 27.3% of IT professionals surveyed in their 2015-2016 UC Benchmark, ranking it above all other drivers, like cost savings, OpEx preferences, flexibility and agility.

Organizations need to communicate to partners, customers, clients, vendors, and patients. Across industries, from healthcare to education, from global enterprise to local government, the most successful organizations are not islands; they are part of a broader ecosystem, which is built on relationships. And nothing builds B2B and B2C relationships like face-to-face collaboration.

Employees need efficient and effective interpersonal collaboration, and are more engaged over video. They expect exceptional quality, instant connectivity, and access from wherever they work. While the business value of external collaboration is easy to understand, it can be difficult to directly quantify. VidyoCloud delivers on this business value, and fosters productive meetings by providing the best video quality in any network environment or device, and even just through the browser, which is another important workflow when connecting external participants.

Beyond enabling external B2B and B2C collaboration, the financial impact from cloud-based video collaboration is significant. Organizations realize savings by combining the standalone spend in web conferencing, audio conferencing and video conferencing rooms. They also experience measurable operational savings due to decreased travel. And an often overlooked benefit is the increased productivity, as on-demand visual collaboration curtails unproductive email conversations.

Try VidyoCloud for FREE to collaborate more effectively with your professional network.

Workflow is King in the Realm of Telehealth

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A lot has changed in the telehealth landscape over the past 5 years. Technology has improved to grant greater access to patients well beyond the metaphorical hospital walls via consumer devices and public Internet. Patients have grown comfortable with video as the new audio through pervasive consumer offerings used in daily life. Policies have changed, amplifying the financial benefits of telehealth for care providers and payors alike. But among all of these changes, perhaps the one that has moved us past the inflection point of the telehealth adoption curve more than any other is the integration of telehealth capability with existing clinical workflow tools such as EHR systems, health monitoring systems, interactive patient care systems, clinical decision support tools, etc.

Clinicians need tools that work the way that they do. They don’t have time to invest learning special purpose technologies that force them to change the way they practice medicine. That’s why Epic’s native integration of Vidyo into both mobile and desktop form factors for both clinicians and patients has been so warmly embraced by caregivers. In the recent MedCityNews article, Dr. James McElligot, Medical Director for Telehealth at Medical University of South Carolina, said, “The records are right there… that is a magical thing for us.”

When you make technology transparent to clinicians and enable them to deliver care remotely the same way they deliver care in person, adoption happens.  Comparing the number of IDNs (Integrated Delivery Networks) implementing video visits to the patient home in fall of 2015 to the beginning of this year, we have seen over a ~400% increase.

Many of the biggest and best healthcare workflow providers have chosen VidyoWorks as their integrated video communications platform for telehealth, and as a result, Vidyo powers telehealth programs across the continuum of care for more than 120 IDNs in the US today. While greater access through error resilient technology that works in poor bandwidth environments and massive scalability to support service delivery to large populations are table stakes, ease of clinical use through workflow integration is king when it comes to clinical adoption. With care providers driving down costly readmissions through video visit follow-ups, telehealth subjects everywhere are chanting “Long live the King!”

See Vidyo’s Extensive Reach in Telemedicine at ATA 2016

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The biggest show in telemedicine, American Telemedicine Association’s annual conference ATA 2016, will descend upon Minneapolis May 14-17 and Vidyo’s technology will be displayed in force! From fully customized integrations with medical carts and Electronic Health Record (EHR systems) to new and innovative applications that truly bring healthcare to the home, Vidyo continues to extend its reach into the telemedicine ecosystem and solidify its position as the most pervasive enabling technology in the industry.

Stop by Vidyo’s booth, #1927, to see a sampling of some of the newest telemedicine applications coming to market, or visit any of our 24 partners’ booths across the show floor including:

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  • Advanced ICU Care, booth #709
  • AMA, booth #2036
  • AMD Global Telemedicine, booth #902
  • American Well, booth #2203
  • Avizia, booth #1307
  • Mayo Clinic, booth #2320
  • Mercy Virtual, booth #1607
  • Metro, booth #1617
  • Philips Hospital to Home, booth #1725
  • Revolve Robotics, booth #2447
  • Vitel Net, booth #1603
  • West Corporation, booth #1935
  • Yorktel, booth #1921
  • And many more!

Vidyo-ATA-Passport-160x213Don’t forget to take part in our Passport Program to be entered into a drawing to win a brand new Apple Watch or Samsung Gear S2. Pick up your passport at the Vidyo booth!.

We’d love to see you at ATA, our talented team is available for meetings to discuss how Vidyo can address your telehealth needs. Schedule a meeting here, see you in Minneapolis!

Alibaba DingTalk Picks Vidyo for Enterprise Collaboration in China

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Today Alibaba unveiled a new version of DingTalk, its collaboration platform for Chinese enterprises. Alibaba DingTalk partnered with Vidyo to bring secure, HD quality click-to-connect multipoint video to the platform.  

DingTalkandEitanFirst launched in February 2015 DingTalk is China’s leading enterprise communication platform with a user base of more than 1.5 million companies and 200,000+ new enterprises and teams joining every month! Quality, scalability and customization were essential to Alibaba DingTalk and only Vidyo could deliver on all three of these key criteria.

The new version of DingTalk, integrated with Vidyo, enables new features including:

  • Click-to-connect group video conferences with for 100+ endpoints
  • User friendly design – see up to 5 participants in HD on the mobile app
  • HD quality content sharing
  • Flexible display layouts for multitasking – send messages without losing sight of the video conference!
  • Enhanced security
  • Native support for iOS and Android devices, high performance on wireless networks

Alibaba Dingtalk marks another big win for Vidyo in the Chinese market this year, as we announced our work with Xiaomi in February. Vidyo is expanding its footprint globally and has seen additional traction in financial services and other key industries in Asia. Stay tuned for more to come from Vidyo in 2016!

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Vidyo Supports WebRTC Video Conferencing

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The videoconferencing industry and the road toward WebRTC share some common ground. When using WebRTC beyond two-way, peer-to-peer calls, or in networks with significant quality problems, system architects are encountering the same design issues that the videoconferencing industry has been dealing with for a long time. It is not accidental then that WebRTC solutions designed for multi-point video gravitate towards those offered in videoconferencing, or that videoconferencing companies are adapting their systems to become WebRTC solutions. 

In fact, today Vidyo announced availability of WebRTC-enabled products that enable a plug-in free way to join Vidyo meetings from web browsers. Though we’re not betting our business on WebRTC, we see it as yet another choice Vidyo can offer customers and we think it can be valuable to the market place.

Want to know more about WebRTC and why you should care? Vidyo’s resident WebRTC expert (and Co-Founder and Chief Scientist) Alex Eleftheridias addresses scalability (VP8 and VP9), architecture, endpoint quality and platform provider selection in his latest blog post for BlogGeek.me.

Here’s an excerpt: “One may ask, “why care about VP9, I will just use whatever stock codec my browser has and be done with it.”  The answer is that you do want to care, when quality matters.  Depending on the codec used, and the type of multi-point server architecture deployed, the end user will get a vastly different quality of experience.”

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Figure 4: Endpoint Quality Scale: One ordering of relative quality of different codec and endpoint engine combinations.

Read the full blog post

Lights, Camera, Transaction! Video Banking Initiatives Take Center Stage

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Are you ready to meet your banker, face to face, from your smartphone or tablet? New research co-sponsored by Vidyo and Efma indicates that in the most banks will be implementing video conferencing to interact with customers. Video banking is poised to take center stage in customer engagement strategies across industries but the opportunity for banking is exceptional. 

Net Promoter Scores are a consistent measure of customer engagement crucial to several industries, including banking. Banks strive to balance cost, convenience and customer engagement. Branches tend to be high cost, highly engaging but low convenience. Online banking (without video) is low cost, highly convenient but lacks the personal touch so important to the banking industry. Video, however, strikes a balance: it’s a low cost solution that is convenient and engaging for customers. NPS is a statistic that crosses over both audio and video. In fact, Vidyo financial services customers have reported NPS scores doubling after implementing video banking into their customer engagement strategy!

New study by Vidyo and Efma, a not-for-profit association of 3,300 retail financial services companies in more than 130 countries, brings clarity to the role that video banking plays in the digital transformation of banks. The report also highlights video banking deployments from Barclays Retail Bank and IndusInd, one of the fastest growing next-generation private sector banks in India. See the infographic below for a summary of the findings and read the full research report here.

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#1 Conferencing Provider Selects Vidyo

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Two weeks ago NCR, the #1 ATM provider in the world1, and Vidyo announced a global OEM agreement. Today I am pleased to announce a strategic partnership with West, the #1 audio conferencing provider in the world. West has integrated the VidyoWorksTM platform into the InterCall® product portfolio from West’s Unified Communications Services and various West vertical application offerings, now generally available. 

West Unified Communications Services offers a full UC portfolio and resells 3rd party offerings, but wanted to upgrade Unified Meeting 5 (UM5), its own branded web conferencing service. As the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration provider, the company needed a video solution that was not only extremely scalable but high performance, HD quality and interoperable with third party systems.

The integrated InterCall UM5 product portfolio combined with Vidyo capabilities provides:

  • Best-in-class video performance and reliability over public networks
  • Support for HD video capable devices
  • Massively scalable video conferencing
  • Leverage existing video or teleconferencing systems by connecting boardrooms to desktops
  • Enterprise network optimization with optional on-premises media server extensions

West delivered 27 billion minutes of audio conferencing usage with 737 million participants last year and the company counts among their customers:

  • 10 of the top 10 Healthcare Companies
  • 9 of the 10 Top Financial Institutions
  •  9 of the top 10 Manufacturers.

West has tremendous global reach and an exceptional market opportunity and we are excited by the early customer response to UM5 and look forward to ongoing collaboration with West.

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