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The Death of Video Conferencing
As audio video advisors for business, my team has been working with customers and video conferencing hardware for more than a decade. We are now seeing what I believe to be the death of Video Conferencing. Throughout the progression of this technology, changes have come fast an furious in a battle to deliver higher quality products and services to hungry users. The result has been a continual progression towards higher features and lower cost at each step. This has been a continual win for our customers.
The trends in technology coming to the forefront today will continue to provide higher levels of service to customers, along with lower prices. I believe, however, that we are seeing the death of video conferencing as we know it. Here are 4 reasons why:
1) Collaboration, Not Conferencing - Collaboration has become the practice of the day and it's more than a marketing tagline. Our customers are engaging in multiple daily collaborative meetings where they are sharing ideas, contributing content in real time, and connecting offices, remote workers, and contractors to meet their business objectives. Customers need the ability to see, hear, and collaborate with each other by allowing multiple contributors of content. This was not possible in traditional video conferencing systems.
2) The Power and Simplicity of the Cloud - We once looked at services like Webex or GotoMeeting as the poor cousin to "real" video conferencing. This is no longer the case. The cloud has provided for incredible ability to collaborate and share information and I believe that cloud based services are the future of collaboration. Just last week I downloaded a free demo account from Webex and held a 3 way collaborative conference, with video between my home office, our main office, and a contractor in France. The meeting went off without a hitch and was setup in mere minutes. None of the compatibility, firewall, or bandwidth issues we often deal with when using traditional hardware video conferencing. It was a great experience.
3) Low Cost USB Cameras - The rise of low cost USB cameras have brough HD level video quality and high quality voice audio to cloud-based conferencing platforms. The result is a cost effective, highly simple, and very effective collaborative tool. Leaders like Logitech now provide a wide range of professional quality HD conference cameras ranging from $150 - $1000 depending upon the application and performance requirements.
5) Cost - With any business investment, one must weight the cost vs. benefit. The facts are simple. Hardware that just two years ago would have cost more than $20,000 can now be facilitated by a $24/month webex account and a $1000 HD USB Camera. Those with an eye for detail can have the camera professionally installed with their other audio visual equipment to create a professional and elegant collaboration space.
6) The Change Curve - I've had a number of customers over the past 5 years invest heavily in "new" video conferencing technology, specifically desktop applications, only to find they were obsolete before they were fully utilized. By adopting a modular USB approach to video communications and collaboration you can change cloud platforms at any time, or utilize multiple platforms within your organization and still deliver a high quality audio, video, and collaboration experience.
Colby Harder writes a regular blog on collaborative technologies and is the president of Vancouver-based CONTI Evolution an audio video advisory firm for businesses. www.conti.ca
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