In-car video chat, sales reps can rejoice!

Ok, this is about in-car video chat, but it’s also about why we’re talking about it.

Most of our clients are looking seriously at the iPad for their sales environments, and so we’ve been doing a lot of playing, supporting, piloting, developing and testing on iPads around here.

We’re pretty keen on video (obviously) as a live communication medium, and one of the key element of live communication on the iPad is two/multi-way video chat.  We also are pretty sure it has to be more than video, and more than just webinarized (presentation centric) powerpoint.  We’ve actually just put a pilot plan together for our clients, and in our design tests, collaborative video and content manipulation are critical to training and learning usage. Since there are no apps that adequately support that model, we are in the middle of developing a nice collaborative, video centric iPad app as well.

That said, since our app is not ready yet, we are trying out other things for a work around. As a company, we use Google Apps for our email, calendaring, instant messaging and video chatting (since it’s embedded in the gmail client). However, until recently there has no iPad app that could handle the video chat piece of it – vTok changed that.  vTok allows Gtalk Video chatting over wi-fi and 3G.

So, I am driving down the road last week, when my iPad chirps altering me that a vTok message has come in. I turn it on, and lo and behold, I am video chatting with our CTO. Driving down the road, with my iPad on the dash, talking live via Video!  It was like he was riding with me.  And, as with what we’ve noticed with all video chat, the conversation takes a more natural, nuanced, and effective tone.

Now, you may think it’s dangerous to be chatting this way, but I would counsel that done properly, it’s no more or less dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving (which can be pretty dangerous of course).

Regardless, this test provided us with a bunch of important data:

  1. In car, video centric, rich collaboration is possible.
  2. In car, video centric communication continues to be richer than audio along.
  3. Ad hoc, video centric, interrupt driven communication in the car is possible.
  4. Rich content sharing in real time on the iPad is still very limited.

And then, when I pulled over, our CTO (who was on an iPad 2 also), walked around and showed me the inside of his new house.

Once some rich content sharing is available in a single app that allows for interrupt driven communication, in-field, live training will be a reality.  Reps and managers can keep their numbers up, training departments can reduce out of territory time, marketing departments can reduce the communication cycle time.  Some kind of in-car Nirvana will be achieved.


Wait, wait – did we also just point to a new kind of sales model?  The live, video centric sales model?  Yes, yes we did.  Did we just allude to the way Pharma sales reps of the future can create a richer, deeper relationship between Doctors and the extended Pharma company?  Yes, yes we did.

Posted on August 1, 2011 in Updates

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