Seeing Is Believing

Video displays are playing an increasingly important role in the digital workspace.

Users have had computer monitors on their desks and in their classrooms for decades. But for most of that time, the displays were mere vehicles for employees and students to view static documents, spreadsheets and presentation slides — functioning almost like an endless sheet of paper, rather than providing a window into the world.

Today, the emergence of the digital workspace (which leverages multiple technologies to provide a personalized end user experience) is putting video displays front and center. Operators now expect displays that enhance collaboration, enable remote work and simplify their lives.

“Video has become a critical part of the collaboration and communication solutions market,” says Linn Huang, research director of devices and displays at IDC. “We’ve really seen these tools evolve, and get better and more accessible over time.”

Chris Feldman, product manager for solutions and accessories at NEC Display Solutions, says that, until recently, many people were uncomfortable with videoconferences. “They were formal affairs, and they typically required a trained user to implement,” Feldman says. “Now, with consumer apps like FaceTime and Hangouts, people are using video conferencing every day for work and even family. The technology has come down so much in cost that it now fits into everyone’s pocket. So there is now an unprecedented level of familiarity with this technology.”

Key Capabilities

Some users need high-end conference room video solutions to communicate with executives across the world, some simply require screen sharing and video capabilities from their desktop monitors, and still others get by mostly with smartphone video calls from airport terminals and hotel lobbies. But from elementary school teachers to corporate executives, most users now demand the following capabilities from their video displays:

  • Interactivity for meaningful and seamless collaboration
  • High-definition video and audio for more effective conferencing
  • Simple usability

“We’re increasingly seeing a focus on end-user preference and need,” says Huang. “You start to lose the millennials if you’re giving them older technology, or technology they don’t want to work on. It’s a different ballgame now. A monitor is the primary way your end users visualize and interface with data, and having them work on the old stuff is not going to cut it in the future.”

While users are more comfortable with video than they were even a few years ago, they won’t adopt solutions that are clunky or difficult to use, warns Shannon Leininger, vice president of U.S. public sector state, local and education East for Cisco Systems. “There needs to be a platform and infrastructure that supports the application and the service,” Leininger says. “It’s about the experience. If there’s poor video quality, if it keeps cutting out, then you’re not going to use it. And the second thing is, it has to be simple. The generations that are coming up, they want simplicity.”

Sam Kennedy, senior director of global product development at Polycom, says that video solutions should support interoperability as much as possible. While it’s often easier to roll out a proprietary solution, he says, in-the-moment simplicity can lead to larger complications down the road.

“We end up seeing users having to use different solutions for different needs,” says Kennedy, noting a November 2018 study by Forrester Consulting showed that 84 percent of organizations need to connect to two or more cloud platforms to support their video solutions. “One of the most important best practices is to deliver as much consistency as you can. We have seen that customers that deliver consistency in their video rooms drive the highest levels of adoption. The more consistent the user experience, the user interface and the workflows, the higher the adoption.”



The percentage of organizations that currently run five or more different video solutions.

Source: Forbes Insights, “The Connected Culture: Unleashing the Power of Video in Everyday Collaboration,” December 2017. 

On a crowded voice call, people frequently have trouble breaking into the conversation, and some may take advantage of their relative anonymity to tune out of the conversation.

Top Benefits of Video Collaboration

Corporate executives agree video solutions provide the following benefits:

97%  |  Improve the sense of connectedness among remote workers

93%  |  Improve the effectiveness of teams

92%  |  Enable individual employees to be more productive

87%  |  Strengthen customer relationships

87%  |  Improve the sales process                 

62%  |  Improve the quality of communication

40%  |  Promote deeper empathy and cooperation     

Source: Forbes Insights, “The Connected Culture: Unleashing the Power of Video in Everyday Collaboration,” December 2017. 

Benefits and Use Cases

In a work world where employees are increasingly working remotely from distant branches or their homes, video solutions help to enable greater collaboration, more effective communication and closer connections between members of far-flung teams. These benefits show up in workflows and use cases ranging from remote interviews and routine conference calls to telemedicine to distance learning.

“Where it makes a difference is when you’re having a remote meeting, and you’re evaluating a product, and you’re running into an issue,” says Feldman. “You can either try to describe the problem over the phone, or you can simply point the camera at the product on a video call, and the engineer can see it.”

Feldman says video solutions are particularly helpful for group interactions. On a crowded voice call, he says, people frequently have trouble breaking into the conversation, and some may take advantage of their relative anonymity to tune out of the conversation.

“There’s the social aspect, being able to read body language and engage with another person more naturally,” Feldman adds. “With video, you know I’m not surfing the web. You can see that I’m focused on you. Maybe instead of bringing someone in from out-of-state for a job interview, you do the interview over video. Now, you can have still that face-to-face interaction, and you can see their mannerisms and how they present themselves.”

In education and healthcare, says Leininger, video not only helps to reduce travel expenses, but can also bring services to rural areas that have trouble attracting specialists. “If you do not have foreign language teachers, or AP calculus instructors, you’ll find those types of schools very readily adopting video in order to gain that expertise and have that experience for their students,” she says.

In a previous role, Leininger helped set up video counseling sessions for a military veteran who couldn’t attend in-person appointments due to his job. “He said at first that it was a little bit awkward, but after a six-month period, it wasn’t awkward anymore — and was as beneficial, if not more so, than traditional therapy,” Leininger says. “He didn’t have to deal with traffic or parking, and he could do the counseling as needed.”

“The generations coming up, they expect to use video,” Leininger adds. “That’s how they live their lives.” 


Learn more about how CDW video solutions and services can improve communication and collaboration in your organization.