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How will employee desktop video use affect our network?

Many of our employees use desktop video to talk to their friends at home and are asking about doing the same at work. Is this a good idea, and won't this tie up our broadband service?

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This is a very interesting issue, and businesses will be hearing more questions like this as employees become increasingly active with Web-based tools in their home lives. Businesses need to manage these expectations carefully since there are more concerns around privacy, security and productivity in the workplace than at home.

Desktop video has made significant advances and is far more practical today than a couple of years ago. Broadband is more plentiful and reliable, and there are numerous desktop video solutions that are high quality and consume little broadband. Conventional video conferencing is not a valid reference point, and it must be understood that in today's world, desktop video does not tie up network resources and is not a costly service to use.

Aside from improving everyday productivity in the office, the real value of desktop video comes from being broadband-based. This means that employees can do video from any broadband-enabled location. Some solutions will still run through the corporate network, but others such as SightSpeed or Skype are Web-based, making them location independent. As such, desktop video can readily be extended to the home office, hotel rooms, client sites and even mobile devices. In this regard, the benefits of desktop video far outweigh concerns such as bandwidth consumption or frivolous usage.

This was first published in July 2008

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