Video-as-a-service refers to a hosted service that allows customers to make video calls over the Internet using the provider’s infrastructure. The communication can take place between two individuals in different locations (point-to-point) or between more than two people and devices (multipoint). The service is mostly hosted in the cloud, so users don’t have to download an application to use the service.
Video-as-a-service is also known as “VaaS” or “video conferencing-as-a-service (VCaaS)” and considered a segment of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) sector. In fact, the VaaS share of the overall SaaS market has steadily increased over the past years. In the first quarter of 2020, for example, the VaaS segment accounted for 34% of the entire SaaS market.
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When you learn about the definition of VaaS, among the first things that come to mind is Zoom. You couldn’t be more right since the VaaS market is, in fact, dominated by the service. Other examples of VaaS platforms are Google Hangouts and Cisco Webex Meetings.
VaaS already started to gain traction even before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the health crisis accelerated its growth, as most of the global workforce had to work remotely.
Benefits of Video-as-a-Service
VaaS allows enterprises to focus on their core functions instead of building and maintaining their own video conferencing infrastructure. Companies that adopted VaaS enjoy these advantages:
- Lower investment costs: Enterprises use a shared infrastructure provided by the VaaS company, so they do not have to shell out huge amounts of money to set up their own. At the very least, the initial cost would only cover subscription fees.
- Access to technical support: VaaS providers have 24 x 7 technical support teams to help clients address issues they encounter while using their services.
- Less need for in-house specialists: Since a VaaS subscription already comes with technical support access, enterprises don’t need to have a whole team of experts dedicated to video technology. Their tech team can focus on other areas.
- More scalable: As the business expands, there may be a need to increase video collaboration requirements, such as number of users. VaaS can address this growth, as it is scalable and flexible.
Downsides of Video-as-a-Service
The most significant drawback of employing VaaS is the security risks involved in its use. VaaS providers become part of a company’s supply chain, and any cyber attack on third-party vendors would also affect the enterprise.
One of the biggest issues with Zoom as people worked and studied from home in 2020 is that it was easy for cyber attackers to infiltrate it. However, the company addressed these security loopholes.
Privacy is another cause for concern since VaaS providers would have access to some of their client’s data. As such, before selecting a provider, ask these questions first:
- What data should VaaS providers have access to?
- What specific rights do they have over the data?
- What encryption method and policies does the provider use?
Video-as-a-Service in Action in the Healthcare Industry
All enterprises across industries generally enjoy the benefits of VaaS. The service has allowed companies to save on costs while making video conferencing easily accessible to employees.
However, one of the sectors most affected by VaaS is the healthcare industry. VaaS enabled hospitals to monitor patients remotely, which is crucial, especially for those who live far away from healthcare facilities or during accidents in remote areas.
The renal department of Lancashire Teaching Hospital in the U.K., for instance, uses VaaS to connect patients with nurses and doctors. Such video communication enables healthcare professionals to make sure patients are following the correct procedures during home dialysis.
Aside from the advantage of real-time visual communication, VaaS also allows staff members to access hospital systems to see medical records and laboratory results during a video conference.
VaaS has made video conferencing more accessible to enterprises. Competition in the market also paved the way for high-quality video and audio conferencing. Despite security and privacy challenges, the trend still points to wider VaaS adoption. It’s just a matter of employing meticulous third-party risk assessment and management.