The Pros and Cons of Video in the Workplace
A recent study found that a significant percentage of the video viewed at work has nothing to do with business.
With the rapid proliferation of low-cost tools for producing videos, just about everybody on the Web is starting to fancy themselves as the next great gift to video. Of course, the problem with all these videos on the Web is twofold. First up is the simple fact that a huge percentage of these videos have nothing to do with work, so employees can now waste more time than ever simply sitting at their desk. Secondly, these videos consume a large amount of network bandwidth, which tends to have a negative impact on every application on the corporate network.
The folks at Blue Coat Systems, a provider wide area network (WAN) optimization tools, recently commissioned a study that found that not only does video already account for a major percentage of traffic on the Internet, a significant percentage of that video content is not work-related.
Worse yet, as telecommunications carriers continue to push customers to access bandwidth-intensive traffic such as videos over Wi-Fi networks, you can bet that the amount of video being streamed to mobile computing devices over the corporate network is only going to increase.
Not only does the rise of video on the Internet have some significant implications for productivity, says Mark Urban, senior director of product marketing for Blue Coat Systems, but as more people begin to simultaneously watch multiple videos at the same time, the cascading effect on the network could easily bring the network to its knees, especially when there is a major news event.
Urban says that IT organizations are going to have to get into the business of throttling access to video over their networks. It may not be practical to eliminate all video from the network, but it is certainly possible to throttle back access to certain sites, such as ESPN.com, to the point where watching video on those sites over the corporate network simply gets uncomfortable.
Video on the Web offers a lot of potential value. But like most things on the Web, it's subject to a lot of abuse. And as it is with most corporate assets, it's the job of the IT organization to make sure that the corporate network and the applications that depend on it don't get abused.