A renewed interest in video communications technology presents opportunities for resellers to engage with prospects on the many business and productivity benefits of other unified communications technologies, says Laura Padilla, Head of Business Development and Channel at Zoom
Unprecedented weather events from the bedlam caused on the roads and rail networks by the intense heat, to the freezing weather that impacted daily life for many people last winter, are stark reminders of how vulnerable the nation’s transport infrastructure and essential services are when faced with challenging events.
The cost to the economy and businesses directly due to the productivity lost to weather extremes can be considerable. That, combined with a slow start to the promised economic recovery, means businesses are increasingly seeking technology solutions to keep them connected with customers, staff and suppliers all year round, to minimise disruption to their business, while also helping to drive further growth.
Keeping agile in the fast moving, digital economy
Many organisations are moving toward an agile workplace model to cut operational costs and increase employee wellbeing. They’re moving their staff to smaller, more cost-effective premises and encouraging hot-desking as well as remote or home working. We’re seeing a widening of the definition of a workspace – from huddle and co-working spaces to coffee shops – more places are being deemed acceptable places to work, as long as the job gets done.
One way to support this new workplace dynamic, whatever the weather, is to invest in the latest unified communications solutions. Solutions like video conferencing can provide a significant return on investment in many areas not least of which are cutting business travel and improving productivity, by allowing for greater collaboration between employees, customers and suppliers, no matter where they are based.
Realising the benefits of video communications
Video communications often pays for itself in a matter of months thanks to the money companies save on travel and related expenses. Recent Frost & Sullivan research shows that when long distance travel is involved, business trips can be incredibly costly. It doesn’t take many participants for the cost of a single inperson meeting to reach five figures; for every person who doesn’t have to drive or ﬂy to attend, companies can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Given those obvious perks and that there’s nothing new about the concept of video communications, you’re right to ask why it’s yet to take off. The answer is that for too long its broader uptake has been hindered by expense, complexity and poor performance, frustrating users and leading to a lukewarm response for a medium that showed so much potential. Zoom’s approach is different. Zoom was designed from day one to offer multi-platform, one click operation. No matter where you are, or on what device, you can use Zoom.
Another important aspect of video communications is how it fits into employees’ overall workﬂows. An organisation’s communications tools must ‘play well with others’ – integrating with a company’s preferred CRM, marketing automation, and chat tools. If employees find any friction in the process, such as having to move between tools or replicate work across them, they will resist the new technologies provided, so it is imperative that these integrations are seamless. Video communications tools should also provide a robust API/SDK for customers to add collaboration into their own systems. For example, Zoom integrates with Salesforce, Pardot, Slack, and Microsoft Teams and our customers have used our API/SDK to add video into telehealth, CRM and other platforms.
Opportunities beyond video communications
For resellers, video communications technology opens the door to conversations about solutions that can support video conferencing, or how they can form part of a company’s broader telecommunications tool kit. Those products can range from audio conference call systems, audio system microphones and speakers, video conference cameras, duplex speaker phones, sound bars, 4k cameras, as well as room availability scheduling displays, touch screens and digital signage solutions.
While none of those are essential for using Zoom, they can be used in a concept called a Zoom Room, which builds on the premise of Zoom – simplicity across any device – to provide a fully featured, software-based, ﬂawless video experience that combines integrated audio and wireless content sharing.
While Zoom doesn’t require any user training, technology resellers can use the renewed interest in the benefits of video conferencing as a launch pad to offer training on other unified communications solutions to customers, or to build relationships with integration partners. This ensures they’re adding value to the customer experience with the holy trinity of product, service and training.
With the digital economy defined and underpinned by connectivity and fast-paced competition, video conferencing applications like Zoom and the UC solutions it can work in harmony with could well prove to be more than a fair weather friend for resellers looking for new opportunities.