Conference room video is here to stay

Earlier today, the enterprise communications site No Jitter published a piece expressing ambivalence about the need for video in the conference room.

The author of No Jitter’s article suggests that conference room video is “in a tight spot, stuck in a corporate niche between the high-end telepresence systems catering to the executive echelon and the quick-and-easy desktop or mobile video apps.”

We think Highfive is the long-awaited answer to that “tight spot.” It provides an affordable, high quality in-room video system, alongside a cloud-based video service that can be accessed on computers and mobile devices anywhere. With Highfive, there’s no need to choose between the two trends, as the No Jitter piece suggests.

Most web conferencing providers have completely ignored or abandoned the conference room as a place for team collaboration, so it’s natural to see these trends in conflict with each other. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We agree that desktop and web conferencing is valuable and serves several important use cases, such as webinars and small meetings or screen sharing sessions where each participant is remote. But we also believe that conference room video is at the heart of effective workplace collaboration, now and in the future.

The signs are all around us. More and more companies are growing globally and adding satellite offices across the U.S. They’re building distributed teams, recruiting from far-flung places in order to attract the best of the best and letting them work remotely. They’re creating more flexible work cultures, with work-from-home and work-from-anywhere policies. And they’re bringing on remote contractors and freelancers, to quickly adjust to the growth of their business.

Meanwhile, there are still people who choose to work from headquarters or an office, and they need ways to collaborate together with their remote team members. Whether it’s an HR training session or daily engineering scrum, meeting rooms and huddle spaces are where work gets done today, and video is an essential ingredient for that work, as a conduit for helping the group see each other and work together as a team. As No Jitter’s post points out, there’s evidence for this, with video-enabled conference rooms in high demand.

Our call data at Highfive supports this as well. We looked at all Highfive video calls over a 60-day period and found that the number of calls involving a Highfive in-room device was more than double the number of calls solely using our cloud-based web conferencing software.

At Highfive, we see a world where companies put video conferencing in every meeting room and space in their company, as well as video-enable every employee, in order to meet with coworkers face-to-face wherever they are.

We think video is just a better way to communicate, whether you’re meeting one-to-one or with a group. We find that once people get used to communicating face-to-face using video, they often wonder how they ever worked without it.

Highfive CEO Shan Sinha will be at Enterprise Connect next month, where he’ll share his thoughts on room-based video conferencing and the future of video at work on the panel “Emerging Video Technologies.”