The way people are communicating and collaborating is rapidly transforming; social networking technologies are providing real- or near-time social interactions, which have transformed the expectations of both customers and businesses. People now demand instant access to subject-matter experts and information.Globally and across all industries, however, we are seeing a shortage of subject matter experts and a greater need for business partners to work more closely and effectively together. Thus it is becoming a mission-critical imperative for most businesses to understand how they can transform their companies to remain competitive in this increasingly complex world. In a country like New Zealand, businesses of all sizes can benefi t from the effective use of video. Whether your customer’s business operates with a geographically spread-out workforce or customer base within New Zealand, or is export-focused, working with offshore employees, customers or distributors, video technology allows them to progress things face-to-face regardless of geography.This technology has many advantages. It offers faster turnaround on workfl ow progression; improved knowledge sharing among employees, customers, and partners; can speed up new product time-tomarket; reduces the need for travel; and ensures a much richer quality of communication. Videoconferencing has enjoyed extremely high levels of adoption and utilisation as businesses realise what video can offer. Videoconferencing options on the market run the gamut from the high-end telepresence suites, to stand-alone and desktop products in the mid market, and cost-effective, low-end desktop systems for audio and videoconferencing that mean businesses of any size can enjoy the benefi ts of collaboration.The success of You Tube and the uptake of video-capable mobile devices shows that video communication is going to be the norm in a future where we have moved away from our centuries-old reliance on written communication. As businesses realise that video clips can send a more complete business message more quickly, organisations are moving away from text-based communication and towards verbal communication through video and videoconferencingI have witnessed this fi rst-hand in our offi ces, where we estimate that 65% of our internal internet traffi c is now video-based. When it comes down to it, it is a faster, cheaper and a much richer form of communication.To support this fundamental shift towards visual business collaboration, organisations will need to rely on their network. Your customers’ network platform will be the key to successfully taking advantage of videoconferencing and web sharing facilities, digital signage, streaming business media, blogs, wikis and the rapidly expanding array of web 2.0 and social networking technologies that can support business collaboration. New networking technologies offer tremendous collaboration potential.In the new world of business, ‘virtual’ teams and resources are required to work from an ever-increasing range of locations. This means your customer will need an adequate network solution that provides the ability for mobile, branch and headoffice workers to effectively collaborate in real time. With the network providing the platform for collaboration, it allows businesses touse the most appropriate communications device at their disposal to ensure a rich communication with stakeholders.The network must also manage applications and ensure adequate bandwidth so the end-user experience is of a high quality. As data, voice, and IP video converge, you can help your customers build a media-ready network to meet their collaboration and multimedia needs.The key to successful collaboration is the development of a strategy that actively manages people and technology. Companies that successfully adopt new collaborative technologies like video move faster, make smarter decisions, operate more effectively across time and distance barriers, and save money and time. By partnering with the right vendors, you can help your customers to develop a good strategy that will allow them to move ahead of their competition.