Video Conferencing Goes The Way of the Fax

The video conferencing “room” of the future is here now.

The changes in the past two or three years have led to this blog post, even though, I have been saying this for many many years.  Ready?

I am sorry to say this (ehhh, maybe not), but, video conferencing users can say goodbye:

  • To fancy conference rooms where you have to travel to to video conference.  How stupid.
  • To high priced codecs and MCU’s.
  • To video conferencing consultants (me!) and analysts (you know who) who should start a re-training program to find continued employment.  (Coworking!  :-))
  • To many of the current video conferencing vendors who will be leaving us (bye…it’s been real!)
  • To conferences specializing on video conferencing.  They can make this year (maybe next) their TeleCon (who remembers TeleCon??) swan song (do any still exist?). When was the last Fax conference you went to?

The ability to meet visually with anyone, anytime, from anywhere…..as easy as pie…..is now here.

All the world needs is for the teens (or early 20′s) of today to make their mark in the work world, and all we (the old time video conferencing weenies) know as gospel will be gone, or vastly different.

Mobile vc will rule the world, cloud-based meetings will be the norm.  Anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Young culture will force this change….

Video conferencing as we know it is going the way of the Fax….time to say Goodbye!

NOTE:  I just grabbed random pictures for this blog.  I have been saying this stuff way before the current vendors in this space were ever in business.  ie. I developed Personal Telepresence way back in 1992.  Oh yeah….I especially like the DINOSAUR…it is time for us old folks to make way for the new kids….the world is changing, just let it happen.  Enjoy your retirement.  :-)

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About Mike Pihlman

Owner of AltamontCowork, a coworking location in Tracy, CA. I am the Director of ForCarol.com a 501c3 non-profit that awards college scholarships to local scholars in honor of my daughter's best friend, and our part-time daughter, Carol Phan who we lost on Sept 18, 2010, Book Review blogger (TracyReaderDad.com).

Posted on May 4, 2012, in VideoConferencing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Interesting post, but I have to say I completely disagree. Whilst MCU’s and high-end equipment must come down in price, there will always be demand for true “conference room” video conferencing, where you can collaborate with co-workers around a table, whilst viewing presentations on a large screen, and interacting with other members of your team around the world.

    A tablet PC simply cannot offer this. Its great if you need to join a meeting as an individual, or need to dial in from your desk, but its simply a different market.

    Personally I see the request for conference room facilities increasing over the next 5 years. HD conferencing is now well established, and connectivity between different manufacturers equipment and the commonizing of protocols and standards, together with the increase in bandwidth availiblity and improvements in VC features and functionality, should only increase demand.

    I personally see conference room conferencing, desktop video and personal video co-existing happily for many years to come!

  2. I can appreciate the general trend toward lower prices, zero configuration, and mobil add-ons. There will still exist the situation where you need to present to room full of people.

    Getting on a plane to fly cross country to sit at a conference table doesn’t make much sense either, but people still do it everyday. While the early adopters are moving quickly, it’s still BAU for the majority.

    My org is moving toward software and away from service contract arrangements. Importing/exporting specialized vid conf equipment is way too complicated. Regular desktops wither better GPUs and HD in and output have helped a lot this past year.

  3. Sandeep Kakar, Ph.D., CFA

    Mike, you seriously need a course on how humans communicate and how our brains have evolved to process communication cues. You are probably good with technology (or at least writing), but coming across your many diatribes against enterprise-grade VC and prophecies of its eventual demise is getting stale. While there would always be a place for mobile or desktop environments, to say they would replace enterprise VC is a bit of drama. Would things be different in 5 years? Of course. That is but stating the obvious when you are dealing with technology.

    In any case, one of the best exposition on human communication and video conferencing is by the folks at http://www.dvetelepresence.com (I am not affiliated with them but they have nailed the issue) – look at these white papers: http://www.dvetelepresence.com/files/eyeGazeStudy.pdf, http://www.dvetelepresence.com/files/whatIsTelepresence.pdf, and http://www.dvetelepresence.com/files/DVE_True_Telepresence_paper_final.pdf. These papers go a long way at educating (1) what is wrong with current generation of enterprise-grade VC, and (2) why mobile videoconferencing would never become a primary mode of videoconferencing when conducting serious business. Complement, yes. Replace, No.

    Once you have read these three white papers (there is overlap between these three but still it is worth reading all of them), reply back. If you don’t read them – no need to reply as you would just reinforce the ihype better suited for consumers than businesses.

  4. Sandeep Kakar, Ph.D., CFA

    BTW, I would agree that the days of expensive in-house infrastructure (MCU, etc.) are probably numbered for all but some organizations. That part will move to the cloud.

  5. Bryan Metcalfe

    There will always be a need for meeting rooms – the telephone did not stop people meeting together! Indeed the ability to ‘join’ a meeting from anywhere, will as much increase the need for meeting rooms, as it will reduce the need for desks/offices.

    It’s a real-estate thing really – given the choice, you would watch HD movies on a big screen – not on your phone! Same goes for conferences – if you can, you would join from a room with a big screen and other ‘real’ participants – because it’s a better experience. But with choices you can join from anywhere – and that’s the point!

    Technology and service provision will evolve – there’s nothing new in that. But screens are getting larger, definition is getting higher, video experiences are getting richer – coupled with people being more mobile, device rich and more collaborative – this is the new dawn of visual collaboration!

    More rooms – more personal devices – more VC, not less!

    • Fundamentally, personally, the need to see other participants move their mouths to talk, in HD, escapes me. :-)

      But…remember this the kids of today will, in my opinion, fundamentally change the work world from one that is centralized to one that is decentralized. That means more meetings from whereever you happen to be when the meeting starts (on a train, in the airport, at Starbucks, McDonalds, B&N, your office, a coworking location…whereever).

      VC of the future (where project teams meet to design stuff) is less about video quality, and more about collaboration when collaboration is needed. Someday, these kids will be managers, CEO’s, etc. THE corporate VC world–as we know it today–will change accordingly. I hope I am around to see it….very exciting. :-)

  1. Pingback: The Age of Decentralized Work is Upon Us « TelBitConsulting: Technology Simplified

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