Mobile Video is Broken — Here is How We Fix It

An introduction to a new communications culture

The pocket-sized device you’d never again leave the house without is something truly spectacular! In fact, an old iPhone 6 carries millions of times more processing power than all of NASA’s computers in 1969 — ones that enabled the moon flight. And smartphones are only getting smarter by the year.

The increasing processing power of smartphones is one thing to awe. The accelerating speed of mobile data transfers another. Or the amazing connectivity enabled by global growth in smartphone users. Whichever way one might look at the mobile phenomenon, we are discussing a cultural revolution in the grandest scale. As the sociologist Manuel Castells stated — maybe a tad prematurely — in 2007:

“Mobile communication has permeated the entire range of activities and experiences in society”

Only now, we are experiencing the full repercussions of the mobile revolution, from the new formation of our social realities to the actual physical effects to our posture.

Photo: Riku Pyhälä

The Era of Mobile Fluidity

Assisted by the growing impact of social media and use of video, we have entered a new era of mobile fluidity. An era defined not by physical location and production, but by untrammelled dispositions, relationships and information streams — an era of extended audio-visual realities.

The phones in our pockets could technically take us to the moon and back, and accomplish a million more things whilst at it. Still, we seem to be restricted in our use of mobile by our limited imagination regarding its possibilities. The lack of imagination is most apparent with regard to work.

The possibilities of online video — and more recently AR and VR — in business communications have been discussed a bunch. However, rather, it’s been more hot air than concrete actions. Not to say there aren’t any apps to help organisations usher in the mobile revolution. But maybe there are too many with a mind-set too small to suit a cultural paradigm shift…

Photo: Riku Pyhälä

Video Communications Then and Now

The ubiquitous nature of mobile, improved image quality and faster mobile networks are changing the nature of video. Hence, the role of video in communications.

Video is traditionally seen as an expensive, scripted and professionally produced — albeit effective — means to reach an audience. It has been something the board thoroughly considers, budgets and then, often outsources. However, due to lack of timeliness and personality, the end result is usually of general matters and low interest. The internet is full of bad examples like this.

Mobile video is a game changer, even though many businesses still fail to grasp this. Mobile is shifting the role of video to more authentic, temporal and contextual uses. Mobile video enables instantaneous expression and sharing of insights. It’s about interactive, real-time communication rather than broadcasting general information from one to many.

In light of this progress, we need to shift our approach to video communications. We believe communications should no longer be viewed a top-down action, but a collective and empowering process generating knowledge and insights within organisations.

Now, there is a need for a new herald.

On Choosing a Video Platform

The uses of video may differ quite a bit, depending on one’s marketing and communication needs. When choosing a video platform for an organisation, one should first establish a solid strategy considering the given needs regarding video.

Secondly, one should attempt to understand the cultural shift and the new uses of video, and have their strategy resonate with the changing ‘prosumption’ habits of their audiences. That is, the service should support knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Thirdly, the chosen service should be cross-functional and robust enough to answer all video communications needs. The time for tangled pick-and-mix ecosystems has passed.

As said, there are plenty of mobile video applications for professionals and organisations; ranging from the popular social media and open source services to enterprise video management and distribution platforms.

In addition, there are several video editing apps out there just for content creation. Greatest challenges in implementing a video strategy today reside in the necessary compiling of various services and formats into a cohesive process.

Even when there’s an ecosystem set up, there is still the matter of enabling the creation of authentic, timely and contextual content. Even the best distribution system in the world won’t save you from the pitfalls of video communications, if you’re leaning solely on outsourced video production.

“video communications will be an essential function in all company processes, rather than something that is restricted to marketing and communications teams.”

We believe great ideas and great contents transpire across all teams and organisations. The best succeeding players in the (near) future are the ones enabling unrestricted expression and content creation throughout the organisation. Henceforth, video communications will be an essential function in all company processes, rather than something that is restricted to marketing and communications teams.

The Struu Effect

The above is why we began developing Struu. Having provided a robust live streaming service, VideoSync, for our clients for several years, we’ven seen the future of video looming upon us. And looking into the future, we saw emerging needs for a next generation service.

Based on our extensive experience, we saw two fundamental flaws in the current enterprise video market:

  1. Means and access to producing (mobile) video are restricted within organisations

Hence, uses of video within companies remain meagre and disengaging.

Mobile is not yet assumed as a key tool for creating content within a business framework, nor are ‘employee stories’ considered part of the ‘official narrative’ within most companies — in spite of the fact that real people are always more interesting than polished faceless brands. And literally every employee carries a phone in their pocket.

One should consider that empowering employees not only saves companies in content production and distribution, but also makes happier employees through inclusion and participation in company matters.

However, exposing one’s face and voice to the world, or even to your company, is not easy. Thus, we’re faced with a need to carve down those inhibitions to exposure. Just as Snapchat did within the domain of leisure, we aim to introduce an expression enabling format to professional mobile video, incorporating infographic and brand layers, image and sound quality filters, intelligent resource referencing and slide sharing.

Struu is a low-threshold app designed for producing authentic professional videos without having to resort solely to a production company. Because insight and knowledge generation doesn’t just end at the creative departments.

2. Safe and empowering spaces for creating, reviewing and consuming content are lacking within a business framework

We aim to solve this by rendering a communal and collaborative platform to help democratise communications and curate knowledge within organisations.

With Struu, companies are able to release control in content production and evaluation to their people— to crowdsource for creativity— while maintaining control over an environment making content production safe and collaborative. Organisations will be able to determine the level of security and access rights to their communities and contents based on their security needs.

Struu is a platform upon which is safe to produce, co-create and peer-review video contents. It is a platform to utilise the power of collaboration in defining, shaping and reviewing content — before that content is released to the public. Struu is a platform to compile and curate insightful peer contents into manageable and discoverable streams of information for all communications uses — for improving companies through knowledge.

Photo: Riku Pyhälä

The Insight Economical Foundation

The ‘insight economical’ approach is to treat information — data — as a means to lead, and the contents crystallising information as a vehicle for growth. As with portfolio career professionals, the basis for organisations’ expertise and brand image will be shaped by, and viewed in terms of, the information they produce, own and distribute. Hence, it is key we have at our disposal tools for generating and curating valuable information.

In a world where information determines the value of professionals and organisations, we need new means to unearth, accumulate and distribute information. This is why we designed Struu, a cross-functional enterprisre video and knowledge sharing platform; to help organisations into the mobile age.

By Eero Alasuutari
Growth Hacker and General Philosopher for Struu
A knowledge addict with a knack for random trivia and all-things-creative

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