Welcome to Let’s Do Video’s inaugural article. LDV is your new source for the best coverage of visual collaboration technology and related productivity tools and strategies. “Let’s Do Video” is what we say when its time to get off the phone, roll up our sleeves, and get some work done. Please be patient as our new site is under active construction, and new exciting content and resources may be suddenly appearing in different places on the site over the next few days and weeks.
So, what could be a better way to start off the new brand than a wrap-up of the big Vegas show? In this entry, we will review the main themes and trends and share some general thoughts about the show. Please share your own thoughts about the big event in the comments below.
AGT: Winner – Sitting in the Catbird Seat
AVI-SPL, Cisco, Polycom: Winner – Heavyweight Champs
Blue Jeans: Winner – Brand / Industry Recognition
Lifesize: Winner – Don’t Call it a Comeback
SMART Technologies: Winner – The Name Fits
Tata Communications, Acano, and Synergy SKY: Winner – Most Exciting Partnership
Videxio: Winner – Turnkey Cloud VC Platform
Vidyo: Winner – Ahead of the Trends
Final Roundup: 11 More Winners!
(h/t to Davig Briggs for the above walkthrough of some cool InfoComm eye candy)
Themes and Trends
Visual Collaboration has an interesting history. The value has always been there, often with extensive studies to back it up, but there was a strange disconnect between the technology and the target market. The industry shifts from focusing on user friendly solutions, to complex exec products, to IT friendly solutions, then back to user friendly solutions, and on and on, seeking to break through the final elusive barrier to mass adoption. But one thing has always remained constant, the industry’s historic, laser focus on creating a better version of last year’s winner. The infrastructure supported TV quality video, then universal transcoding, then 720p, then 1080p, then software based, then virtualized, etc., etc. Each evolution has been a real win for the industry and for the users, but no single solution upgrade has caused the iceberg to tip. This year however, I was hearing something that could be truly different, as I spoke with the players on the exhibit hall floor.
Sure, the vendors all had some new features and gizmos to show off, and of course there is plenty of truly cool, and real value, technology on display. But it simply wasn’t the focus of discussion. Rather than going on about feature and pixels, the vendors were talking about understanding their customer’s workflow and solving their problems. Obviously, this could just be the latest marketing trend, and have nothing to do with reality, but I did see a lot of specific examples of this trend in practice. Am I too willing to buy the hype, and are this year’s winners just talking the talk? Let me know in the comments!
My second trend is related to, and in fact enables, the first trend. The technology is “there” now. It doesn’t just work if everything is perfect and the stars are aligned, it has reached a level of reliability and consistency that allows us to be creative and start to do some fun, and powerful, things with it. Videoconferencing is the obvious example, but really just the tip of the collaboration iceberg, as our advances in video protocols and networking have resulted in the growth of a number of related technologies improving peoples productivity, regardless of their physical location.
Video collaboration, until recent years, was primarily a boardroom affair, due to its cost, and high IT support requirement. Today’s video is so flexible, affordable, powerful, and flat out easy to use that we are no longer limited to holding formal video meetings at specified times. The dream applications we used to wish for are now becoming available, not just in demos, but in our workplaces. It is all really happening, from seamlessly joining a video meeting from a mobile device while on the road, to performing a next level presentation by magically sharing the content from your tablet to the big screen, to recording team presentations without a film crew, to creating a video enabled contact center for your customers, to almost anything you can imagine.
The conversation has shifted from what video will be when it grows up, to what video is doing for us right now. For Let’s Do Video, this means we are starting off our new brand just as things are getting interesting, and our coverage will be a lot more than the typical technology write-ups of the past. Speeds, feeds, ports and protocols are fading into the background, and exciting new uses and customer successes will be stealing the headlines. What a great time to be video enthusiasts!