Like many industries, video conferencing has its own language. The industry has often relied on buzzwords and jargon to market its products, rather than directly stating how these solutions help people. Especially with video conferencing, I believe it has really gone too far.
The video communications business is getting in its own way with jargon. Do customers care if a product is “innovative,” “breakthrough” or “changing the face of communications?” Of course not. They want to know if these solutions can help solve their business problems and make their lives easier. The video conferencing industry is drowning in a tsunami of BS, and I believe we’ve lost sight of why we all went into this industry in the first place: to help people build relationships and work smarter.
As one should never cast the first stone if one is a sinner, then I will come clean. My own company has fallen into this trap on occasion. I have to admit that we have thrown around words like,”groundbreaking,” “revolutionary” and a myriad of others. We’ve relied on words like, “cloud,” “integrated” and “telepresence” to explain complex ideas. These words don’t help explain how our solutions help people, they just confuse them. For example, one tagline we’ve used in the past for LifeSize Passport was “Telepresence in the Palm of Your Hand.” We’ve even printed massive banners for trade shows promoting this idea. Passport is a great product, but what does it mean to be “telepresence?” Does that mean a three-screen room or high-definition quality? Who really knows anymore?
We have been guilty of jargon, puffery and buzzwords, this is true, but we certainly aren’t alone.
Video communications is an industry that can’t even decide what it’s called. Are we in the video conferencing business? Telepresence? Visual communications? It’s whatever some marketing person decides to call it that day. I think it’s time we cut the crap and started actually talking about solving business problems.
So, Video Conferencing, or Video Communications, or Telepresence – or whatever this industry wants to call itself this week – I’m putting you on notice. Write long, pointless documents that only you understand, and don’t pass the “so what” test, and fill your marketing materials with meaningless jargon, and I’ll call you out. It’s time for our clients to be served by an industry that helps them, not one that is obsessed with how clever we are.