The Internet and ever-emerging technologies have created the omnipresence of data around the world, and maybe even the universe, as people and machines can now communicate with each other from the earth to the moon and vice versa. The management and storage of overwhelming Big Data has become a challenge for both IT developers and end users. IT scientists saw a logical solution: cloud computing.
Why should businesses depend on the cloud for the management of the massive data at their disposal? What important technology trends must they consider to achieve a competitive edge?
Mobility is encompassing the world
International Data Corporation (IDC), a premier global market intelligence firm, forecasts that the world’s mobile worker sector will reach a 1.3 billion population in 2015 or account for more than 37 percent of the total global workforce.
With mobility trends transcending geographic and cultural boundaries, the need for an effective cloud strategy is even more crucial for businesses. On the one hand, mobile workers prefer to perform their tasks on the road or from remote locations at the point of need using their own devices. On the other hand, enterprises want to be always connected to their workforce and organization.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating data, data, and more data
In a recent article, Cisco CEO John Chambers called the IoT “the most fundamental change” among current technology trends and considers it “the second generation of the Internet.” With Big Data becoming increasingly pervasive, the IT world is seeing the emergence of IoT solutions in new generation cloud platforms.
There is an interesting relationship between the IoT and cloud computing with the ability to connect living and non-living “things.” For instance, sensors that can be operated remotely can be installed such things as refrigerators, television sets, thermostats, cars, cows, and trees to make them function more intelligently.
The social web is connecting the dots faster
Tweeting, liking, tagging, linking, friending, messaging, or simply viewing are just a few of the social media activities that are adding to the explosion of Big Data. Many users are not even aware that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, YouTube, and e-mail are all essentially connected to the cloud.
The social web and cloud resources can be integrated into enterprise networks for improved business collaboration. A sales team may be better able to work together to achieve sales goals using social networking technologies, while accessing important data and support from enterprise data centers.
Big Data analytics allow for more informed choices and decisions
The potential in Big Data is not in its bigness, but in its ability to identify and solve business problems and open new opportunities. With the proper analytics tools, businesses can have answers to why customers are leaving, what products customers are likely to buy, or what the value of a “like” or a “tweet” is.
Big Data is only as good as the actionable knowledge and insights businesses derive from them. Cloud-based analytics helps unleash the hidden promise of untouched data in jumbled traditional databases. It enables organizations to process large volumes of data to determine which data is relevant and can be used to drive better business decisions.
It is, thus, clear that Big Data and cloud computing are taking on a convergent path. More and more modern businesses are realizing that the limitlessness of structured and unstructured data is influencing the way they do business. They also know that Big Data will remain to be useless data if business decision makers do not use it properly and quickly.
Web conferencing is not new, but video is fast finding its way into web conference venues. The reason is clear. Face-to-face communication, even in a virtual setting, engages the human psyche in a more personal and interactive way. What words can’t say body language will.
In the corporate world, businesses must look for ways to more effectively communicate with all stakeholders in their organization–business owners, employees, customers, suppliers, and the rest of the supply chain. With video technology, businesses can create a new corporate face in the midst of increasing competition to help elevate corporate reputation and brand.
Video as a transformative technology
According to a decade-long Wainhouse Research study, the main drivers for increased video preference are:
- A mobile workforce
As mobile workers and the Millennial generation populate the human resource pool, the need for video in corporate conferencing is gaining ground. Mobile workers don’t stay put in permanent workplaces. Growing up when technology was beginning to boom, Millennials generally think that they can perform their tasks better with the click of a button. Yet, the need to see faces and meet people offers an empowering experience that can make them better team players.
In the same research, Wainhouse Research learned that 70 percent of employees had access to collaboration-enabled devices. Enterprises saw this development as an opportunity to expand their web conferencing services to their employees. Big screens are the preferred devices, but tablets and smartphones are equally useful.
Benefits of enterprise video conferencing
There is nothing like a personal meeting experience, but video conferencing is the next best thing. In a progressively wired work environment, video allows for the opportunity for better interpersonal communication and minimizes the risk of miscommunication.
On the business side – Video conferencing helps increase productivity, operational efficiency, and sales. For example, real-time document sharing and editing, like Microsoft PowerPoint or Visio, are dynamic features of video communications that were previously not possible. Decisions can be made faster and products can be brought to market quicker, significantly streamlining the sales cycle at reduced costs.
On the employee side – Video conferencing can offer a better work-life balance and mean less strain on employees and their families. Employees can be burnt out by physical travel stresses like flight delays, traffic, or bungled accommodation arrangements. Video conferencing also keeps employees connected while on the road or working remotely.
On the customer side – Video conferencing is an effective tool to improve and maintain customer relationships. in addition to verbal communications, live video conferences allow business owners and managers to determine what customers want by analyzing facial expressions and body language.
What to expect from a video conference service
The features that create a great web conference experience are varied depending on a business’s needs. Real-time screen sharing, targeted application sharing, meeting scheduler tool, provision for animated discussions among participants, and seamless security to protect confidential information are a few examples.
Dominating the web conferencing market are Cisco’s WebEx, Microsoft’s Lync, Onstream Meetings, InterCall, GlobalMeet, Adobe Connect Pro, ClickMeeting, and many more. Businesses have many choices, but the final choice they make should be anchored on what they need to truly communicate in meetings.
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