Today, Google announced Google Video for business, a new cloud-based collaboration service that gives employees the same ability as consumers to upload, find, view, and share video clips. It's YouTube for the enterprise, folks. See Rob Koplowitz's and Kyle McNabb's report for more on cloud-based collaboration services.
Not that Google's the first company to introduce this service. Startup Veodia launched its cloud-based enterprise video service in 2007. Both moves are part of the video-ification of business, what Forrester's Henry Dewing calls "The Screening Of Global Business."
I think this is an important innovation for the enterprise because it will allow a million video flowers to bloom: training videos, meet-the-team videos, rally-the-sales-troops videos, learn-about-my-product videos, customer-win videos, walk-through-the-power-generation-plant videos, corporate-event videos, how-its-made videos. You get the picture.
Google Video for business:
Is bundled into the Google Apps Premier Edition. So even if you don't need cloud-based email, calendaring, document sharing, or team sites, if you buy video, you get the whole suite of collaboration tools.
Today, Cisco announced its intent to acquire PostPath, a provider of email solutions. Interesting news. As parts of the collaboration stack become increasingly commoditized, the lure of moving the functionality up to the cloud and letting someone else take on the day to day responsibility becomes increasingly attractive. Cisco is at the center of this trend with its WebEx brand. Web conferencing has yet to gain widespread adoption in the corporate data center. It's almost as if the market just decided that as cool as web conferencing may be, I don't want to bother with installing servers and running them. Let someone else do that.
Is broad based collaboration the next big app to move to the cloud? Could be. Microsoft thinks so. They have moved quickly and decisively into cloud based collaboration, first with the acquisition of WebEx's chief competitor, PlaceWare (now LiveMeeting), and more recently with their announcement of Microsoft On-line Services. Google thinks so, too. They have been morphing their consumer collaboration offerings like G-Mail and Google Apps into business ready offerings for the last couple of years. IBM, too, with their evolving vision for Project Bluehouse and its focus on enterprise ready social computing in the cloud.
Let me begin by saying that I believe it's time for Information & Knowledge Management (I&KM) professionals to get into the enterprise smartphone debate. After all, the killer application for smartphones is email, calendars, and contacts -- all collaboration apps. And the future of collaboration is pervasive -- anytime, anywhere, any device. Your information workers need them. You should help define the strategy.
So here we go with Part 1 of a multipart blog post on my experience with these two devices.
I recently took a two-week family vacation to Oregon and funky Northern California. Nothing like eating Humboldt Fog cheese on the beach in the Humboldt fog. The four of us camped some and stayed in some lovely B&Bs. As badly as I wanted to be off the grid, I decided that it was best to have a cell phone to take care of essentials.
So it was a prime opportunity to compare a two-year old BlackBerry Pearl against an iPhone 3G to see which one best handled the common collaboration issues that come up on a vacation: email, directions, schedule, contacts, and "rapid research." Oh yeah, both devices use AT&T's network.
I have some particular attitudes towards my cell phone.
First, it has to fit into my pocket.
Second, I don't suffer lousy interfaces; if it doesn't work the first time, I usually give up.
I had a conversation with a client the other day about Blogging at work. The question came up, as it often does, how to ensure that employees blog appropriately at work. We spoke about corporate policies regarding appropriate use of the intranet, discussing if they really make an impact on behavior, or if they only exist as leverage when it comes time to take action.
It occurred to me that there is a simple analogy that all professionals can relate to, which brings clarity to the issue: How do you determine what to wear to work?
At every company I have ever worked in (with the exception of Forrester, ironic), there was an explicit policy about dress code. In some organizations, men are expected to show up in a pressed shirt, perhaps a tie and jacket. In others, the code is more lax, but denim jeans are verboten. Of course, men have it much easier, we have fewer choices and they all work pretty well for us. In my last company, a memo forbidding open-toe shoes angered many women in my team, including my boss, who loved her shoe collection. Why forbid open-toe shoes? Perhaps it could lead to sandals – or, heaven forefend – crocs! Crocs in the workplace – oh my word, that could be terrible!
Last week, I delivered a presentation about the recent report Web3D: The Next Major Internet Wave at the vBusiness Expo in Second Life. I'll share some of my experiences and observations, as I'm sure that during the coming year many of you will be invited to present at or attend virtual conferences and meetings -- if you haven't already. These tips may prove helpful.
The Virtual-Worlds Consortium for Innovation and Learning and SRI Consulting Business Intelligence today released the results of an online survey conducted early in March 2008 titled "Virtual Worlds and Collaborative Work: Survey Results." The organization surveyed 81 people who are active users of virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life) about the use of virtual worlds for collaborative work. Most survey respondents (about 85%) were in North America; the rest were in Europe and Asia. Fewer than 20% of respondents are using virtual worlds mostly for pleasure and fun; 58% have a strong interest in how these technologies can serve for work. Some of the key findings:
This weekend I listened to a great panel discussion about virtual worlds and their impact on the future of work at the MetaverseU conference at Stanford University . The panelists were Byron Reeves, Co-Director of Stanford’s Human Sciences and Technology Advanced Research center, Christian Renaud, Chief Architect of Networked Virtual Environments for the Cisco Technology Center, and Reuben Steiger, CEO of virtual worlds agency Millions of Us. The key takeway from the panel: work is changing dramatically and virtual worlds have a potentially — though not inevitably — huge role to play.