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Don't Call Me Maybe, Video Me

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Hate email?

If you're in the corporate world, chances are you have an affliction like I do. Five hundred emails, 24 hours a day, two means -- portable devices and your desktop -- to receive them. Email has effectively beaten the telephone as a preferred way to communicate. And if you think I'm exaggerating, consider this: Intel recently noted that in exactly one minute's time, more than 204 million emails are sent. That means more than 12 billion emails land at their destination within an hour!

Email may currently be our number one means of communication, but it is flawed. The world of email has become impersonal and sometimes even hostile. How many of us have received the dreaded "all caps" emails where you can feel the sender screaming through your screen? Often people seem too comfortable saying things in an email that they would likely never say in person or via live video.

And, while email ensures that we are in constant contact with colleagues and clients, for just some of the reasons I've just stated, it doesn't necessarily mean it is better. We're a mobile business force -- one that enjoys the comforts of a work-anywhere lifestyle, whether from the train, the back porch, you name it. And our consumer technology like virtual meetings, video conferencing and other telecommuting technology allows us to do this. We also rely heavily on social media platforms -- ones with video chats, picture exchanges, and 140 characters that tell the whole story. So while just eight percent of the workforce is using these tools currently, this is the future of collaboration. We see it every day in the way our future workforce -- teenagers -- keep in touch. It isn't through email or voicemail, it's Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp. The younger generation uses video daily in their communications, suggesting that today's CIO needs to be thinking about opening up the corporate intranet for such video collaboration that is device and technology agnostic. Not only is it the future, it's good for business and promotes global teamwork.

As video collaboration becomes more mainstream how global companies connect offices will impact mobility in a whole different way. Consider this: by 2017, our country's government is expected to reduce its travel costs by 50 percent across agencies. Why shouldn't video conferencing tools encourage enterprises across industries to follow suit? And, while some are currently connecting on devices tethered to their desks, the world is becoming more mobile. Ericsson sees the mobile market at 6.4 billion subscribers and 50 percent of those are smart phones. With those numbers only expected to grow, more devices will enter the market with video capability -- leaving video as the major contribution to mobile data traffic by 2018.

With most consumers buying mobile devices for their bigger screens and HD video capability how can CIOs replicate quality consumer experiences and ensure employees have what they need to be successful?

They've tried. Believe me. But one of the biggest obstacles to integrating an employee's workflow -- and making it more of the consumer experience they desire - is the use of proprietary solutions. For the last 20 years, we've seen different communication channels - everything from telephony and instant messages to the email and voicemail we get today. We've made improvements, but we often bind ourselves because of separate platforms that cannot co-exist. Proprietary technology is costly, often not scalable and thus, IT departments cannot make it customized for their needs.

My suggestion? Let's open it up! Open APIs -- like WebRTC -- offers CIOs and employees an option that appears to be traditional video conferencing without being tethered to a desk or platform. WebRTC also brings new social media and other collaboration tools, providing an abundance of options which ultimately reduce costs while increasing productivity. In short, WebRTC may just turn your browser into a collaboration version of Grand Central Station.

Phone calls are a thing of the past. And I would wager email is on its heels. We're on video now. We're on social media now. It's a multimedia, multiplatform, multidevice world.

Today is already tomorrow; video and social media use -- most prominent already in the consumer industry- - will become as natural as picking up the phone or sending an email thanks to increased use of WebRTC. And that's good news. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to respond to the 147 emails I've received while writing this...