Live from #Converge2014: 15 Unconventional Video Conferencing Use Cases

Roughly half of the world’s largest companies have adopted video conferencing, making it a $2.6 billion market. What’s remarkable, perhaps, about those video deployments is how unoriginal most of them are–most companies still confine video to dedicated conference rooms, or use it to reduce employee travel.

Video can do so much more, particularly when companies embrace multiplatform, open mobile video. Avaya CTO Architecture and Consulting Director Greg Weber outlined nearly two dozen unconventional use cases for video in a session entitled, “Beyond the Conference Room.”

We’ve compiled the top 15 such use cases for this article. Check out Greg’s full presentation embedded below or on Slideshare.

  1. Banking: Kansas-based Landmark Bank had a classic banking problem: The majority of its branches were staffed with financial generalists. When a customer came in with a financial question that the generalists couldn’t answer, the customer would be asked to call a specialist over the phone.

    In 2011, Landmark Bank installed Avaya Scopia video conferencing equipment in each of its branches, allowing customers to connect immediately with banking specialists. That face-to-face connection built trust and rapport, and ultimately led to higher sales.

  2. Construction: Large construction companies often have several job sites running simultaneously. Rather than having project managers drive out to each site individually, they can make a video call and visit each site virtually.
  3. Corporate HR: Recruiting talent can be a time- and resource-intensive process for corporate hiring managers. A large retail chain based in the Midwest recently rolled out video conferencing and used it to conduct preliminary interviews with candidates “face-to-face,” rather than over the phone. Ultimately, video helps companies make better hiring decisions, faster.
  4. Corporate IT: Corporate IT workers spend a fair amount of time traveling to individual cubicles and conference rooms to visually troubleshoot problems. With video, they can make an initial diagnosis of the problem, and either fix it remotely or gather the necessary resources before traveling to the site.
  5. Corrections: Bonneville County, Idaho would traditionally handle criminal arraignments and other routine court proceedings by either physically transporting inmates to court, or asking them to talk to the judge via closed-circuit TV. The CCTV network was aging–almost to the point of obsolescence–and physically taking inmates to and from court was costly and dangerous for corrections officers and the public.

    Bonneville County installed Avaya Scopia video equipment in the jail, half of the county’s courthouses, the Juvenile Detention Center, Public Defender’s office, and other public offices. Today, they’re conducting hundreds of video calls each month.

    “The simplicity of the system has resulted in a lot of enthusiasm for the solution,” said Bonneville County’s Dave Ellingson. “We are near capacity due to its popularity.”

  6. Education: Education has always had a visual component, as an estimated 9 percent of students are visual-only learners. Not surprisingly, educators were among the first to adopt “video outside the board room,” by televising lectures, dialing in guest speakers and conducting on-demand office hours with students.
  7. Global Business: Conducting business in another language can be difficult, particularly when the translator has to has to get the words (and the cultural meaning behind the words) right. More than half of the information we communicate is non-verbal, so video-based translation services make a lot of sense. Video translators don’t have to be just for executives conducting important business meetings–it can also be for internal teams using on-demand translators for routine calls.
  8. Home Repair: If you’ve ever called out a plumber, this scenario will be familiar: They drive out to your house, take a look at the problem, realize they need to get a part, drive to the hardware store, and come back to install it. Remote video could cut that initial diagnostic time considerably–but only if the customer can use it easily. A flexible, mobile video conferencing solution (like Avaya Scopia Mobile) is necessary.
  9. Hospitals: Patients get better faster if they’re surrounded by family members. A number of forward-thinking hospitals are installing video conferencing units, to allow patients to talk to family members virtually. Shorter patient visits mean hospitals can treat more people.
  10. Insurance: Insurance companies have relied on visual data for decades. In the past, car insurance companies bundled disposable cameras in their customers’ emergency kits, so customers could take photos of the damages after an accident. Those disposable cameras are increasingly being replaced by smartphone apps that allow customers to upload mobile photos. The next frontier will be live video calls following an accident.
  11. Lawywers: Lawyers (and their legal teams) spend a lot of time talking face-to-face with clients, witnesses and colleagues. Instead of traveling to these meetings in-person, lawyers can conduct those calls over video, getting more done, faster.
  12. Libraries: Over the past two decades, libraries have transitioned from being simple repositories for books to high-tech, multimedia centers. Instead of paying to fly out famous authors or other speakers for special events, libraries can connect them via video.
  13. Real Estate: Couples shopping for a new house can’t always go to home tours together. Real estate agents find themselves taking one person on a tour, and then having to take the other half of the couple on the same tour later. Live video walkthroughs mean couples can tour houses in real-time together, even when one person is stuck at the office.
  14. Retail: Interactive video kiosks (with a live person on the other end) can connect customers with product specialists who can answer their questions, ultimately leading to higher sales conversions.
  15. Rural Hospitals: People living in or near major cities often take hospitals for granted, as there are often multiple hospitals, clinics and doctors within a short drive. What about rural patients, where the nearest hospital could be as much as 560 miles away? Enter telemedicine, which allows rural patients to dial in to medical specialists in major cities. Mobile video also allows doctors to collaborate in real-time with their colleagues.

How does your company use video? What innovative applications for video have you run across that didn’t make this list? Comment below!