To many people, the year 2020 still feels as though it’s off in the distant future. However, the truth is that it’s much closer than you think, and well-within the reasonable planning window for enterprise decision makers who want to get their communications strategies in place.
As we approach the uncertain future, now’s the perfect time to ask:
“What will video and team collaboration look like in the next three years? Do we have a clear path to new, and better solutions from vendors, or are we stuck with rip and replace?”
Could there be a solution like the IP-PBX systems versus UCaaS option, where companies can access a comfortable “hybrid” zone, that will reduce the financial impact of transformation? Or, are we simply going to have to make do with what we’re given? Here, we’re going to take a look at UCi2i’s vision of the future, to answer some of the key questions about the future of video conferencing.
- BYOC – bring your own codec is on the rise
- Huddle Room technology is on the rise
- Deployments are moving to the cloud
- Traditional hardware based room systems will decline
- 1/3 of knowledge workers are now millennials
- Teams are the knowledge workers of tomorrow
The Evolution of Video Conferencing Technology
The Video conferencing market over the next three years is going to see some big changes. Whilst video conferencing revenues are flat, if not in decline (-4% was mentioned at Enterprise Connect 2017) amongst the big vendors, video calls are still experiencing exponential growth.
The journey through Unified Communication has been a complex one. We started with voice, then moved to video, and now we’re exploring the world of team collaboration apps. At Enterprise Connect 2017 a panel of experts asked, ‘is this the end of video conferencing as we know it?’ Meaning, is video about to merge into the team collaboration and become a commodity just like Voice has?
Mobile video is also growing rapidly, mostly originating from the cloud. Apps like Microsoft Skype for Business leading the way in the corporate world. It seems that it’s less about the hardware you need in business but more about the software based apps, at least for peer to peer video calls (one to one). However, hardware by no means is dead, it’s just going to look a little different going forward.
According to UCi2i, the commoditisation of VCaaS appears to be an inevitable part of video’s future. That’s why the company put together their own SMB bundles for customers who wanted to purchase simple Gateway services, “off the peg”. Today, customers can buy UCi2i solutions straight from their eCommerce website in a self-service solution. As more people gain access to devices with enough processing power to be used as a video endpoint in UCi2i software, the brand is making sure that customers have the bundles they need.
Introducing the Huddle Room Boom
One of the key questions that companies are asking today is: “What will enterprise visual collaboration tools and solutions look like in the future?” Video technology is getting better, DSPs are cheaper and far more flexible and capable, offering more features than ever before. Huddle rooms are the new conference room. Less about traditional conferencing, more about collaboration That’s why Microsoft are investing heavily Skype Room systems, Cisco with the Spark Board and Google with the Jam Board.
At Enterprise Connect 2017 in Orlando, Cisco were demonstrating their virtual reality solution for interactive and collaborative meetings, where your remote colleagues can be in the same room as you and work on the same Spark Board, mind blowing!
UCi2i believes that the future for products like Cisco Spark, and huddle rooms devices looks particularly bright. Today’s VARs have an unparalleled opportunity to monetise these solutions by selling hardware alongside VC platforms like UCi2i. In other words, VARs can give their customers a bundled package of everything that they need for excellent collaboration.
As solutions continue to evolve in the communication and collaboration space, opportunities simply keep getting better. As AI and Chatbots are quickly becoming part of UC solutions I predict meetings will be hosted by virtual assistants (BOTs) and contextual and cognitive communications will continue to make meetings more productive and efficient for everyone involved.
The migration to cloud based meetings isn’t going to be straight forward for a lot of enterprises. How do your users connect their shiny new Skype for Business app to your largest customer’s ISDN based Polycom conferencing system? How do you host a virtual meeting room (VMR) for 20 people and not have to worry what equipment or software they are using?
Introducing the solution to ‘BYOC’. If you want to be able to offer a flexible cloud based video conferencing system for your business then you’ll need a cloud based video gateway service which UCi2i are calling ‘Video Gateway as a Service’ or VGaaS for short.
UCi2i has developed a cloud hosted codec converter for connecting virtually any video codec together e.g. ISDN, SIP, WebRTC, etc. Not only does this allow virtually any company to connect in with their choice of meeting room system, it also allows users on mobiles or laptops to connect up with their choice of app.
At the same time, UCi2i is offering security to their customers, using AES Encryption and ISO 27001 standards. Ultimately, all video conference providers will need to make sure that they’re ready to tackle data security requirements.
Migrating into the Future
Taking the step into the collaboration and conferencing networks of the future might not be as simple as most companies would hope. Cloud solutions are incredibly attractive because they allow people to mix and match services as they need them. When it comes to interoperability, people need to be able to join or create mixed protocol video conferencing calls without the expense of managing an infrastructure.
The cloud, and solutions like those from UCi2i, allows businesses to use systems like Microsoft Skype for Business to create video calls without the hassle. Using a cloud provider like UCi2i means minimising the amount of work a business has to do to stay ahead of the industry curve. In cloud environments, it’s the provider that needs to stay up-to-date, not the customer. This makes the disruption of forklift upgrades more unlikely. On top of that, UCi2i are backwards-compatible, with video standards that go back years to ensure operability.
According to UCi2i, the key to adoption of crucial new video technology, is finding a way to respond to the existing needs that clients have. Once you can pinpoint a need for crucial video technology, it’s much easier to get key stake holders on board. What’s more, mandating the use of video can also be helpful. According to Uci2i “One customer we sold to years ago made it compulsory that every request for travel had to be given with 3 reasons why the same outcomes from that travel couldn’t be accomplished by video call. It seems a bit draconian, but uptake went through the roof!”
- What is VMR software?
- What is VGwaaS?
- What is Video Conferencing as a Service?
- How to stream a live video conference over YouTube
- 5 reasons to try Video as a Service
- Margin in VaaS – UCi2i’s channel partner offering revitalised (MAY 17)
- In Focus: UCi2i Business Leader Profile