Feature Story

Video in the Workplace: Enabling Collaboration, Creating Value

How video is emerging as an important driver of productivity, innovation, and value.

Written By: Vishakha Radia

It wasn’t that long ago when “video in the workplace” meant sneaking a look at YouTube instead of starting work on that big report. Today, however, video is emerging as an important driver of productivity, innovation, and value.

Cisco research earlier this year identified $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for the private sector in the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy over the next decade—and collaboration, video, and mobility will contribute more than half that value (see Figure 1). That means $7.9 trillion will either be created or will migrate among companies and industries because of the transformational value of collaboration in IoE. There will be significant industry disruptions, with new winners and losers vying to keep or retake their positions.

Figure 1. Collaboration, video, and mobility will power 55 percent of IoE’s Value at Stake for the private sector. (Cisco Consulting Services, 2013)

In the Internet of Everything, value is created as a result of the connections among people, process, data, and things. As a key enabler of people-to-people connections, video will drive an estimated $4.5 trillion in private-sector Value at Stake (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Video is a key enabler of people-to-people connections and collaboration, and will drive $4.5 trillion in new or migrated value for the private sector over the next 10 years. (Cisco Consulting Services, 2013)

Video Is Transforming Work Around the World

Video has been making its way into classrooms, courtrooms, and boardrooms around the world, saving time and money, accelerating innovation, and extending services in transformative ways. Here are just a few examples:


Virtual classrooms enabled by video technologies are going mainstream, bringing the best instructors to the brightest students, wherever they may be. This goes far beyond the massive online classes most people associate with virtual learning. Today, many teachers are offering their lectures online and using class time to work with students to solidify their understanding of the material. And as my colleague Dave Evans has pointed out, with connection speeds going up, and hardware costs coming down, students will soon be able to participate in a rich virtual classroom experience—attending lectures, asking questions, and participating in “face-to-face,” real-time discussions with other students. All of this will contribute to a vibrant economy built by a well-educated workforce. 


A virtual judiciary is at work today across the globe, enabling court systems to provide services during off-hours and at a distance. Instead of requiring judges to be present during holidays or evening hours, procedural events can be heard via video, without travel. Depositions can be carried out even with the deposed and counsel in different states. In some instances, states are permitting witnesses to testify virtually to reduce travel and hardship, while at the same time improving and speeding the justice process.


Remote healthcare can bring specialized and cost-effective medical services to people who live far from the medical resources they need. Using a video “telehealth” unit staffed by a nurse in a rural area, a doctor can conduct remote examinations, consult, and treat patients who would otherwise have to travel insurmountable distances to seek medical care. In another application, video-enabled robotic surgery allows surgeons to reduce the invasiveness of operations, accelerating recovery and reducing the time patients spend in the hospital. Both of these scenarios improve patient care while reducing the economic burden on the healthcare system.

Global Executive Collaboration

Travel is a major expense for organizations that span the globe. For example, flying an executive round-trip from Asia to a meeting in New York could result in an expense of about $30,000, two days lost in transit, and approximately 6,294 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. However, using telepresence to create an immersive video meeting environment can greatly reduce the need to travel. For example, General Electric has begun holding its corporate executive council meetings using Cisco TelePresence as an alternative to international travel. GE’s Timothy Peterson says, “There was no negative impact to the participants who joined the meeting remotely. The executives were able to do anything they would have done if everyone had been present in the room…. We are a global company, but we now have the ability to conduct face-to-face meetings and make more of a connection with each other.”

Innovation and New Product Development

Procter & Gamble has also found video to be a powerful part of its plan to reduce costs and increase productivity. Like GE, P&G has used its Cisco TelePresence-based Video Collaboration Studios to avoid thousands of flights, saving millions of dollars in travel costs. The company has even used this capability to conduct focus groups to help speed new product development. Connections among employees, partners, customers, and suppliers have improved, and the use of Cisco TelePresence has helped reduce decision-making time from days to minutes. P&G estimates that it has achieved $4 in benefits for every dollar spent on Video Collaboration Studios.

Will You Be the Disruptor, or the Disrupted?

Video is just one way the Internet of Everything is transforming how we think about business processes and how people work together. Cisco’s research shows that IoE is the most important technology shift since the advent of the Internet itself, disrupting whole industries in the next several years. Those who take the lead in harnessing the capabilities of IoE will be the disruptors and the transformers—and will claim their share of the Value at Stake in the IoE Economy. Those who decide to “wait and see” may be left behind.