As someone who was in the video technology space a few years before the world went on lockdown, I feel like I understand it pretty well. For example, I know basic stuff like the difference between a meeting solution and a streaming platform. I also know more complicated ‘techie’ things like what video ingest entails, and how video security and video encryption are two very different concepts. And of course I know the “Touch Up My Appearance” slider is quite literally the best feature ever added to a video conferencing application. At least for me, anyway.
There is no doubt the massive changes in video use due to office virtualizations, reductions in business travel and virtual event participation are significant, and it would be difficult for anyone to deny that. For enterprises across the globe it’s both culture-changing and transformational, and it may have even permanently modified the economy as we know it. But it’s not the ‘new normal’ as so many have claimed—and if you stick with me for a few minutes, I will do my best to explain exactly why this is the case.
Myth #1: Office Virtualizations and Remote Work are Recent Challenges
This past year truly represented the pinnacle when it came to marketing around video solutions. On one hand we had technology companies treating the pandemic like The Gold Rush, claiming their platforms could address ‘emerging’ workplace issues like remote collaboration, distributed employee engagement and video burnout. And on the other hand, we had the largest organizations in the world scrambling to buy and implement every video technology they could get their hands on. It was the perfect storm of chaos and confusion, even for those who understood exactly what was happening.
In April, to help cut through the madness, Inc.com published an article titled No Office, No Problem: 125 Companies Proving That Virtual Companies Can Thrive. But some of you may be surprised to know the article in question was actually published in April of 2015 . . . over six years ago. The point is, office virtualization and remote work are not new challenges being faced by enterprises. The video technology required to virtualize nearly all forms of corporate communication has existed for the better part of two decades. But up until the year 2020 many companies simply hadn’t bothered to adopt much if any of it.
Myth #2: The Pandemic Forced Enterprises to Re-Evaluate Business Travel
Since business travel was invented, companies have allowed staff to rent cars, book train passes or jump on planes whenever they sensed a customer was unhappy, or a prospect was speaking with a competitor. But if there’s one thing last year taught all of us as a business community, it’s that a physical presence is not always mandatory to re-engage with a customer or close a deal. Unless of course you are a CFO, in which case you have suspected this for a very long time.
You see, CFOs already knew that spending $2,000 on a last-minute plane ticket to send a support rep to a customer site was bad for cash flow. They were also painfully aware that paying $50,000 in T&E annually per Sales Rep made for some really uncomfortable conversations during the annual audit. Corporate travel has been broken for a long time, and the pandemic did not force organizations to re-evaluate it. The pandemic simply gave organizations the proof they needed to move some of their travel investment to video-based technologies that help employees accomplish the same goals—at a significantly lower cost to the organization.
Myth #3: No One Was Really Running Virtual Events Until 2020
A few weeks back I was reading a round table-style interview with a group of high profile marketing executives. In that article, one participant made the comment that rising momentum in people attending virtual educational conferences and seminars was something “no one could have anticipated.” As a marketer I would normally agree with this statement wholeheartedly . . . aside from the fact that I was invited to participate in my first virtual conference nearly 15 years ago.
The conference in question claimed to offer attendee networking, virtual trade show booths, sponsor interactivity and even virtual prospecting. My company participated, and admittedly it was mostly a terrible experience at the time. But the idea of being able to participate in an event at low cost and time commitment–without having to put eight people on a plane or invest in yet another 30 x 30 booth display—was spot-on. And the potential in the emerging world of virtual event technology should have been clear to anyone who was paying close enough attention.
Wrapping it Up
So with all of the above in mind, what is my point? My point is, what we are experiencing today with the use of video in organizations is not a “new normal” as so many have claimed and continue to claim. What enterprises and brands are experiencing is the acceleration of a normal that was already headed our way. And whether or not we saw this normal coming, it’s time for enterprises and brands to start investing in proven, comprehensive video platform solutions that support remote work, the minimization of business travel, and self-service execution of virtual events.
I’d like to end this article by encouraging you to sign up for a Brightcove Free Trial — because it’s a platform that will allow your department, team or even enterprise to operate virtually, minimize travel and run your own virtual events every quarter, month, week or even day. Alternatively, if you’d like to speak with an expert or talk more about your enterprise and brand-related video use cases, please fill out this form on our website and someone will get back to you shortly. Look for my next article soon, and thank you for giving me five minutes of your day!
Eric Rudolf is the VP of Go-to-Market (GTM) Programs for Brightcove, the industry leader in empowering organizations to touch audiences with video in bold and innovative ways. With over 20 years in SaaS-based Enterprise Technology, Eric has led GTM strategy for multiple Gartner-named leaders in the video technology space. You may connect with Eric on LinkedIn, or send him an email any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.