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UC Video and Vanity

It’s not technology holding back video

Alan Percy
By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Marketing, AudioCodes

A couple weeks ago I participated in a discussion at ITExpo West, discussing some of the aspects of “Living with Lync” – essentially a group of experienced Lync users, sharing their experiences with those that are early in their deployments.  These conversations almost always start with discussing presence and exploration of etiquette on when it is appropriate to call or contact someone.  Does green mean I can just call, or should I send an instant message first?  (Here at AudioCodes, we always IM before calling, but apparently “green means go” at Microsoft)

Anyhow, a more interesting part of the discussion was on the use of video during regular business.  We’ve had video-capable computers and client software for well over five years, but rarely use it in our daily interactions within the company and only occasionally outside the company (usually to Microsoft staffers).  Virtually every laptop, tablet and phone now comes with a forward-facing camera and video capabilities.

The question is: So why has video been so slow to become a regular part of communications?

Going around the group, the consensus was that the technology is definitely there.  Cameras, codecs, client software are all in place and working with surprisingly good quality.  With Lync and Skype interoperability, we can even hold inter-domain video calls, allowing home and office to hold video calls. Watching the Lync promotional videos, you would think everyone is doing video calls!

However, reality is much different - the issue seems to not be one of technology, but of vanity.  

Frankly, nobody wants to be seen at 8:30 AM with only one cup of coffee on-board and in poor lighting.  Especially some of my female co-workers – trust me, I’ve tried it.  It was not well received. I know as a home-office worker, I rarely hit my desk in the morning “looking my best”. 

Even if you do convince the other party to join you on a video call, I’ve notice that there is always a few minutes in the beginning of the call where the face-to-face interaction is valuable, but once the work begins, we usually end the video streaming and move to desktop sharing.

So how do we make video a regular part of our communications?  I think it starts with etiquette – start by giving everyone plenty of notice that they are going to be on camera.  A day’s forewarning would be appropriate – giving participants an opportunity to “look their best”.  I’d suggest that every participant think about their “video environment” – before starting the call, pull up your own video and make sure the lighting is good.  Nobody wants to see your silhouette against a bright window, or be looking at the top of your head.  Check that there are no visual distractions behind you - a bookcase or office environment behind you is great – looking out into the busy hallway can be distracting.  A video call from a messy hotel room could leave others wondering which rock band you partied with last night.

hairbrush.jpgIn my case, I do have to admit that I had to make a couple adjustments in my office – moving my desk to put my bookcase behind me and installing a shade to block bright morning sun-glare.   Oh, and one last addition - my desk now hosts a hairbrush. 

Continue the conversation with your comments or suggestions - Alan can be reached at or on Twitter @AlanDPercy

Thumbnail image for AudioCodes Gold Competency LogoAudioCodes, a Microsoft Communications Gold Competency partner, designs, develops and sells AudioCodes One Voice for Lync, a comprehensive portfolio of voice networking technology, professional services and global support, optimized for Microsoft Lync and Exchange Unified Communications solutions. Sold through a global network of highly-trained reseller partner community, AudioCodes One Voice for Lync simplifies the selection, implementation and support of Unified Communications. Whether deployed on-premise or in the cloud, AudioCodes is the One Source for Microsoft-certified products and services.  To learn more, visit:


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