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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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?

Is Big Data in the Financial Sector Just a Numbers Game?

Banking has historically been a very data-oriented industry, but there has recently been a significant push toward implementing “big data” strategies to refine processes and better understand customers.

I was fortunate enough to attend a recent IDC webinar that talked about this very topic, with a particular focus on how banks can adopt big data analytics and how this newfound surplus of information can be used in innovative ways.

Omni-channel interaction, hyper-personalization, and single-customer view are among the areas where data and analytics are enabling innovation.

“In-market adoption of big data and analytics has reached the point where the capabilities and applications these technologies enable are becoming mainstream for a growing number of financial services firms,” said Michael Versace, Global Research Director at IDC Financial Insights.

Big data analytics can help banking executives deal with a variety of business issues such as customer engagement, risk management, productivity, and shareholder profitability. This can provide banks a potential competitive advantage, which–let’s face it–is always well received in such a tough market.

Without doubt, mobility and big data are leading the technology needs in banking. When it comes to technology enablers, we tend to make a beeline to the CTO office.

In addressing some of the business imperatives mentioned above, and specifically relating to big data, we need to look beyond the world of IT executives. Why? Because data impacts beyond IT, and line of businesses in this sector are incredibly varied, very influential and need to be considered in bids.

With a coordinated technology lens we can help support global banks and enable them to “know their customer better.” Who wouldn’t want that?

If you are an IDC customer, watch the replay of the webcast here.

Click here to learn more about Avaya’s banking solutions.