We’re committed to helping developers and businesses create kickass real-time interactions with our API building blocks. This requires us to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and understand what drives their decision-making at each stage of the process.

That’s why over the next few months, we’ll unpack the customer journey and shed some light on the buying process, from start to finish. We’ll talk about why video and interactive broadcasting should be on your roadmap, the make vs. buy decision, how to conduct stress-tests and evaluations, and much more. As always, please holler if you have any questions.

If you’re the product owner or developer of a mobile or web product, I only have one question for you: Are video chat and interactive broadcasting on your product roadmap, and if not, what are you waiting for?

Perhaps you’re a developer trying to build something radically new and relevant to users, or maybe you’re a product owner trying to figure out how to take your product to the next level. The question of whether to add streaming video has profound implications for how you will set priorities, build your product team, and deliver value to your customer.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll explore why you should consider embedding video chat and interactive broadcasting into your product. This week, we’ll focus on video chat, and determine why it might be missing from your roadmap.

It can’t be missing because you’re waiting for video to be adopted by the mass-market, can it?

After all, when it comes to real-time video chat and interaction, the evidence speaks for itself. Video and audio streaming accounts for 70% of all internet traffic, with social media taking a definitive turn towards video. Snapchat’s valuation at around $20 billion highlights the fact that consumers are changing the way they communicate, consume and produce content, all through video. This trend is particularly strong within the teen segment, where one in two individuals use video chat and calls.

All this is to say that, whatever industry you’re in, not only will your customers be extremely accustomed to consuming and communicating through video, but they likely will welcome, if not expect, video to be part of your product or service.

This isn’t just for the obvious verticals, such as social media or dating, where industry leaders have increased user retention rates through the introduction of video chat. It also applies to growing and nascent use cases, such as telehealth. By leveraging real-time video, companies such as Larkr conduct therapeutic health assessments through the Internet, bringing authentic and dynamic interactions to their customers through mobile video chat.

It can’t be because you’re waiting for leaders within your vertical to prove out the technology first, right?

As mentioned, developers and product owners across nearly every industry and vertical are considering how video chat can add value to their product or service. Over the past year, nearly every major social media platform has released its own iteration of multi-party video chat. On top of this, mobile video has been introduced into customer service, financial and legal services, branding and e-commerce, telehealth, online dating, gaming, and enterprise collaboration.

Video chat represents an opportunity to capture exponential growth for each of these industries, because it addresses the critical issue of engagement. If the majority of your target customer base devotes a significant portion of their online screen-time to video and is accustomed to its benefits, how can you expect texting to compete?

It can’t be because you don’t think you’ll be able to make any money off of it, right?

It’s true that free video chat services such as Facetime and WhatsApp Video have pretty much made it impossible to charge for bare-bones video calling. But many businesses have discovered that when video chat is combined with relevant value-added services, it unlocks a path toward monetization. Video solves the issue of user engagement and retention, while increasing the customer’s willingness to pay for any relevant service you can stack on top.

Video is mission-critical

We get that there are countless forks in the road in creating and designing the product that your customers will love. Whether it’s creating the next big thing in health and wellness or in online dating, beware of mission drift.

Only consider the fact that a majority of your customer base is probably already using video as their medium of choice for communication, content, and entertainment. Video may not be at the very core, but it certainly qualifies as a critical feature and delivery vehicle for your core value proposition.

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back next week to talk about live interactive broadcasting.

By Tim Chang

Cisco white paper
Pew Research Center