Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the ITExpo in Ft. Lauderdale. The topic appears to be one of the typical video analyst standbys, covering how consumer video use is influencing enterprise. However, I soon released that trends and shifts in the use of video technology in the last few years have been so dramatic, that some of the most standard video analyst tropes no longer apply. I wasn’t just going to be talking about increased use of business video. I was going to be talking about new uses of business video. Let me share some of my thoughts from the session.
Consumer vs. Business Video
We all know that consumer video and business video are not interchangeable. It’s easy to understand why high quality business video has never been an option for consumer use. It was far too expensive and complicated. On the flip side, consumer video was cheap and easy, but completely unsuitable for business use. It was low quality, extremely unreliable, and lacked business features like manageability and security. The good news is that business video has become more affordable and easier to use, while consumer video has vastly improved quality and reliability. The exciting result isn’t just more use of video, but new and fun uses of video. We are beginning to think of video as a tool, rather than as a locked-down product.
New Consumer Uses of Video
There are new uses of consumer video popping up out of the woodwork. A few examples make it clear how creative and innovative the video community has become. I recently wrote about Periscope, a new app (now owned by Twitter) that allows users to share video from their mobile devices. It’s a completely different dynamic than typical video streams. Far more casual, personal, and interactive. Users are being extremely creative with it, using it to connect with followers and share experiences. The lesson for business is that it is also being quickly monetized. Once example is musicians playing live over Periscope while taking tips via PayPal. It’s still very new, but the fact that it is being monetized so quickly shows great potential.
Video is a big part of the success of Twitch.tv, which I have covered previously here. What started a simple way for video gamers to stream while they play is quickly becoming big business. Watching someone else play a video game has limited appeal. However, if the streamer is also sharing his/her video while commentating on their play and interacting with their viewers, it becomes far more interesting. Like Periscope, there have been cases where gamers are monetizing this platform with sponsorships, donations, and paid subscribers. Again, the lesson for business is how a little creativity and innovation with the use of video turns a hobby into a serious business.
Another noteworthy example of monetizable consumer video is drones. What started out as a toy, has become a serious tool thanks to the addition of video. We are seeing everything from drone racing to sky-view fireworks videos. Again, from a business perspective the interesting thing is how quickly the community is moving to monetize it. A friend of mine has turned his drone hobby into a business called Aerial Media Productions. Wedding and real estate videos are already incredibly popular, and appear to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Finally, Google Hangouts is a great place to look for creative ways to monetize video. Google’s open APIs make it the big sandbox of video experimentation. A quick look finds plenty of monetization efforts. Musicians, chefs, and others give lessons over hangouts, while small businesses use them to connect with customers.
New Business Uses of Video
Things get even more interesting when we look at new business uses. We have long expected business to get creative with video and now we’re seeing it in action. Video customer service and dial-a-doc services are already here and expected to grow massively in the next few years. And the new use cases keep on coming! We have video robots assisting Audi mechanics bringing that expertise to your local garage, as well as custom uses such as horse training!
Conclusion: Don’t Just Expect More of the Same
Consumer video will continue to drive growth of business video use. We have been singing this tune for years, right? As people use video more and more at home to communicate, they want to enjoy the same benefits at the office. As a result, we should expect ever growing use of videoconferencing for business communications. We have all seen webinars or presentations on this topic, and it’s all certainly still applicable. However, it’s only part of the story now.
Now we’re also seeing new business uses of video technology on a real scale for the first time. In other words, our vision for the success of business video has always simply been “more of the same”. However, now we’re seeing new business uses of video technology that are completely out of the box.
Everything we have been preaching up until now is still true. The more we use video at home and see the benefits, the more we will be demanding ubiquitous video as a communications tool at the workplace. However, don’t let your thinking stop there. Video is a powerful and suddenly flexible tool. Be innovative and find new ways to monetize your use of video, or your competitors will get there first.