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!

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Avaya at GITEX 2017: Moving to a True Omnichannel Customer Experience

As all too many companies have discovered, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy is easier said than done. And when you fall short, customers have a lot of channels where they can complain—or worse. Avaya’s recent Customer Experience in Banking survey shows that approximately 38% of consumers would change their bank as a result of poor customer service. One in three would make it a point to share their bad customer service experiences with friends and acquaintances, with nearly 16% voicing those frustrations on social media platforms. Visit Avaya at GITEX 2017, where we’ll show you how to manage, leverage, and thrive in all of the contact channels your customers are using today.  Avaya will be at Stand Z-C20 in Za’abeel Hall, Dubai World Trade Center, October 8-12.

Supporting an Omnichannel Experience

Companies are competing in an era of countless customer touch points. They’re tasked with matching a rapid pace of innovation and anticipating customers’ evolving needs. This has made the concept of an omnichannel customer experience integral for success.

Research shows, however, that companies across the board are still struggling to get omnichannel right. Again, according to Avaya’s Customer Experience in Banking survey, getting the same level of experience and service regardless of how they choose to contact their bank was cited as a top-three priority for consumers in nearly every market surveyed. The insight here is that customers want to see “one bank,” and banks need to see “one customer” regardless of the channels through which they communicate. However, one 2017 study of the retail industry found that 44% of companies struggle to provide a seamless, omnichannel customer experience. In industries like finance and utilities, this number can be as high as 90%.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence

Fortunately, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics are at the forefront of reshaping customer experience design. These technologies ultimately help customers do what they want to do as fast and effectively as possible. By deploying AI chatbots and using AI to automate and enhance typical processes that customers would undertake, businesses can respond to their customers faster and reduce waiting times for key services.

The use of advanced analytics—enabled by AI—can also provide businesses with deeper analysis of customer interactions by bringing together relevant data previously siloed across SMS, web chat conversations, social media platforms, phone calls, and video interactions.

Consumers today expect nothing short of a highly-sophisticated customer experience. Bold technologies within an increasingly digital economy have thrust enterprises into a world of limitless capabilities—and that world is just getting started.

Branch Banking vs. Mobile Banking: Is It Really An Either-Or Decision?

In a recent article, Dave Martin, EVP at Financial Supermarkets, talked about the future of branches as a differentiator for banks. He believes that branches will undergo a transformation from a place where customers go to conduct transactions, to a place of relationship-building and human interface.

The next day, Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group, penned a response, arguing that bank branches are not the differentiator, and that mobile/digital technology allows banking employees to connect to consumers, negating the need for physical branches in the future.

This got me thinking about my personal banking experiences with branches, as well as mobile/digital channels:

  • Branches were originally built to facilitate transactions (the teller) and relationships (the banker) with customers. Today, self-service and automated systems can support many transaction types without the need for a branch.
  • However, when you go to the branch in the morning, you will see many small business transactions–such as deposits and cash withdrawals in different denominations–that do require teller interaction and help build relationships with the local branch personnel.
  • When it comes to community banking, a branch gives a physical anchor for the brand and representation for local charities and social activities.
  • Ron is correct in that the interaction between bank employees and customers—which we at Avaya refer to as customer engagement–can be delivered effectively through mobile and video technology.
  • Perhaps the answer lies in not having to choose between the physical branch and mobile/digital channels, but the convergence of both. In the retail industry, consumers have come to expect an omnichannel shopping experience, with seamless interactions across physical stores, Web, social, the phone, etc. For banks, perhaps the solution is going to be the same, ultimately requiring them to be “on” with all channels, from branches, ATMS, phone, email, Web, social media etc., on all devices in order to differentiate.

To learn more about Avaya’s Solutions for Banking please visit our website or click here for customer case studies.

Addressing Technological Uncertainty in the Banking Industry

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review analyzes where certain vertical industries sit in an uncertain world, using scales of demand and technology.

It’s interesting to see banking and insurance companies face technological uncertainty, which can be attributed to the adoption of big data and other analytics technology and what (if any) effect those uncertainties will have in driving revenue.

New technologies and new competitors are hitting the markets at an unprecedented rate. Having the ability to manage the uncertainty generated by these disruptions is the key to enabling success.

While uncertainty is certainly increasing, it isn’t affecting all industries the same way and the Harvard Business Review article highlights this issue well, with some thought-provoking questions:

  • Are new technologies or startups threatening my company or my industry?
  • Over the past five years, have new competitors entered the market and captured 10 percent share by targeting our customers with a different value proposition than what we offer?
  • Over the past five years, have we begun to see customer preferences change, resulting in a different mix of products and services being demanded?
  • Have you recently started offering (or are planning to offer) a product or service that has never been offered before?

I encourage you to answer these questions and take a look at the “grid” and decide for yourself – do you fit where you expected to?