The Future of Collaboration: Video Conferencing

571092_norway_headquartersVideo conferencing is hot, and as such, companies are jockeying for position in the space. The latest to do so is Cisco, which as Stacey reported over at GigaOM, today offered $3 billion — in cash — for Norwegian video conferencing equipment manufacturer Tandberg. As Stacey notes in her analysis, this move will enable Cisco to move even deeper into the video conferencing market, and underlines Cisco’s belief in its growth.

While heavyweight fixed telepresence systems such as those offered by Cisco are aimed at the enterprise and so are unlikely to be used by many web workers, there is already a huge choice of web app video conferencing options available in this highly competitive space, from higher-end tools like WebEx (also a Cisco product) through midrange offerings like Dimdim (see my recent look at Dimdim Webinar) all the way down to no-frills options like Skype and Tinychat (see my review here). Investment and innovation in this market should bring benefits for us all, as video conferencing makes remote collaboration much easier, from one-to-one meetings all the way up to larger webinars and presentations. Fewer on-site meetings mean reduced travel costs, less time wasted on travel, and a healthier planet, too.

Additionally, as more of us work remotely, we are becoming increasingly isolated from our colleagues. In “Coworking in Rural Places,” Aliza explained how she uses video conferencing to create a “pseudo-coworking space” with her business partner, easing the isolation of working in remote Tok, Alaska. Video conferencing is a great way to establish the rapport that can be so hard to build without the benefit of daily face-to-face interaction.

Do you use video conferencing as part of your remote working setup? What tools do you use?