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AI World Conference & Expo · Boston, MA · December 11-13, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘Videoconferencing’

As a mainstream industry, video communications has been around for well over two decades now, and it seems that every year we hear that “this is the year that video becomes pervasive.” And then it doesn’t happen.

However, I’m here to say it again, this time with confidence – 2014 is a year of significant change and one where we finally see video become a mainstream collaboration tool.

Towards the end of last year, I ran a video deployment strategies survey and asked respondents what the usage of video would be over the next 12 months, and 90% reported there would be an increase. Of that, 27% reported an increase of over 25%, putting us well on the way to pervasive video. I also believe there are a number of technology trends that finally make it possible to make video communications a ubiquitous business resource. These shifts are:

The annual Enterprise Connect event was held in Orlando last week. I had a number of speaking slots at the event, including as one of the panelists on the final session of the conference, the Locknote. One of the questions that co-chair Fred Knight asked me was what was new at this year’s event, to which I responded that I hope the term “conferencing” is stricken both from our vocabulary and our corporate collaboration tools. Conferencing tools are typically single-purpose tools that aren’t integrated with any other collaboration tool. Think of the audio conferencing bridge that you use, or web collaboration tool or video system. All good tools, but not integrated with one another. In fact, we often use more than one in a single collaborative session.

This week, the 2013 edition of Enterprise Connect was held in Orlando, Florida. I don’t attend many of the sessions as I try to use the time to meet with companies, but I always reserve time for the keynote sessions. I hope to see something new and, as C+C Music Factory used to sing, “things that make me go hmmm.”

The keynote I was most excited for was Microsoft’s because of all the changes that group has gone through recently. It’s merged with Skype, it’s part of Office 365, and the product recently held its first dedicated Lync conference.

Overall, I’d give the keynote a C, only because of the tear-jerking video at the end. The keynote was presented by a casually dressed Eric Burney, who is the VP of both Lync and Office Data. The keynote kicked off with Burney setting up an Office 365 user and adding whatever specific Office applications that user might need. The demo then moved on to Eric Burney demonstrating Lync making calls from Windows Mobile, Apple, and Android phones. Both were met with a surprising amount of applause.

This week is the annual Enterprise Connect (formerly VoiceCon) conference in Orlando, FL.  One of the many panels I’m on and moderating at the conference is titled “UC? Mobility? FMC? BYOD? SIP Trunking? Video? WebRTC? It’s time to take control.”

The theme of taking control of the UC environment is a good one as it’s my belief that Unified Communications is getting more and more complex as the vendor community expands the definition and functionality of UC. 

At one time, telephony was simple: a PBX, a phone and cable.  Connect them up and you’ve got voice.  Troubleshooting meant checking the phone, cable or PBX.  However, that legacy solution was as inflexible as it was simple. 

Late last year, Cisco unveiled its “Internet of Everything” vision, complete with TV commercials and a whole bunch of marketing activity. The vision of “IoE” is simple. When you live in a world where everything is connected, it significantly changes the way we “work, live, learn and play” (to quote Chambers). The transition to the Internet of Everything will be the biggest change we’ve seen in our lives. We just need to have the imagination to think of all the possibilities. This week at CES, I think Cisco gave us a small glimpse of the future of TV in a connected world.

Two years ago, Cisco launched its Videoscape offerings aimed at giving cable operators and service providers the opportunity to sell differentiated video services. Last year, Cisco acquired NDS, which was intended to bolster the Videoscape strategy. At CES 2013, Cisco unveiled its newest video service, Videoscape Unity.

On Monday October 8, Polycom held a technology day in New York. At that event Polycom outlined its vision, strategy for the near future, and a bevvy of new products to support its new approach. Polycom’s vision of ubiquitous video collaboration is similar to that of most other video vendors, but its approach is much different.

Talking about ubiquitous video is certainly much simpler than delivering on it, as it requires cooperation from the rest of the industry. Once every vendor is on the same page, video will go through that “rising tide” that we’ve all being waiting for. While I still don’t think the industry is there yet, I believe what Polycom announced puts them in a position to capitalize on that rising tide, whenever it occurs.

The promise of fully interoperable, enterprise-wide video has been much more a vision than a reality over the past decade. Why? Because it’s a really hard problem to solve.

H.323 has been around since the late 90s, and both the market leaders, Cisco and Polycom have subsequently submitted proposed standards to help bring interoperability to video. Additionally, there are a number of cloud-based video providers such as Vidtel, BlueJeans and Glowpoint that have built robust service offerings to help solve the interoperability challenge. Despite these efforts, video interoperability remains limited, albeit much better than it used to be. In fact, today my Cisco Callway end point connected to Polycom, Vidtel and Cisco, so there is progress being made.

On Monday, startup Vidyo released the VideoWay service, which the company is positioning as the panacea to all business video problems. According to a blog on the Vidyo website, “VidyoWay addresses ALL three factors of cost, complexity, and limited connectivity for legacy devices to remove the barriers to enterprise visual collaboration more effectively than any other solution in the market.” Let’s read that again: “VidyoWay address ALL factors that limit connectivity.” Not bad for a startup considering much bigger companies have been working on this challenge for years.



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