For any long term video conferencing business insider like me it feels like we are now living again very exciting times. A lot of things have changed in a couple of last years. We have got powerful and easy to use endpoints, highly capable cloud video services, inter-operative solutions to connect different technologies, mixed video and telephony services, browser based clients, apps for smartphones and wide variety of collaborative features as standard to mention some. All this was just a distant dream some years ago, but now it’s reality and easily available to everyone.
The steady development speed suddenly speeded up significantly as many major vendors started again invest a lot of money to video conferencing. The fight for market share is really heating up.
Why this change is happening and why now?
You might think that the reason behind this change is the general digitalization of our workplaces or demands to even more cost-efficient work processes, but it is not. The real reason actually is the users, people like you and me.
I know this sounds a bit strange, but let me explain.
When video conferencing was first introduced as corporate communication solution it was very expensive to buy and challenging to implement and too difficult for users. Video conferencing was a perfect tool to both save money and get more – but costed too much and was too difficult. Vendors developed solutions that worked best with same brand video endpoints to secure the payback of costly product development. This vendors playing safe in their own corners was the biggest limiting factor for video conferencing wider usage for many years. Luckily now customers and users have built so much pressure for vendor’s product development that it has totally changed the game.
Earlier corporate users always got first the latest technology like for example VOIP telephony – and then these solutions were slowly modified to be used by general public and private users. Today smartphone is what most people already have as their first choice of communication tool. Smartphone is starting to be the centre of all communication including video – and of course very important part of business communication too.
Video conferencing vendors suddenly needed to make the choice, to be part of next evolution of video communications that include smartphone as one real video endpoint or to be left out cold. Users had made their minds already. Users were already using multiple apps for video sharing and video calling in their smartphones with increasing popularity. This pushed video conferencing vendors to include smartphone to be more important part of total video conferencing solution. Next generation business video communication products needed to offer equally good user experience for all different devices. The risk was that these personal video solutions would have also taken big part of the business communication market. Vendors worked hard and soon different technologies started to work much nicely together and new video conferencing solutions with great apps started to be available.
As users we can choose the apps we are using and it was so strong force it changed the way how people communicate now every day also at workplaces around the world. You can say that users pushed the video conferencing business to the next level and it’s great news for everyone.