Part 4 – Gluing it all together
“The visions were there, the ideas were all sound and both hardware and software eventually caught up with the ambitions. But what has been missing until now is the platform making wide deployment possible and economically feasible. When everyone everywhere is using video - we will all think of this as the year it all happened. This was the year when all the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place,” says Åsmund O. Fodstad at Pexip.
“We believe that user experience is key to mass adoption. It must be as simple and easy to meet on video as it is phoning your colleagues, friends and family. Pexip Infinity’s unique approach makes sure that whatever workflow the user has established and is used to can continue – it is not about changing the way people work and meet, but enabling them to do it more efficiently and with greater ease.”
Åsmund Olav Fodstad, Executive VP, Sales & Marketing at Pexip has been in the video communications industry for decades, and like some other veterans, he was about to give up on the old “pervasive video, everywhere for everyone, all the time” vision.
“It was an arms race where providers competed with each other trying to develop new proprietary equipment and standards. Of course, selling telepresence solutions at hundreds of thousands of dollars each with a very healthy profit margin made it worth it. But it didn’t get us anywhere closer to the vision of video on everyone’s desk, in everyone’s pocket and on personal devices,” says Åsmund O. Fodstad.
The time has come
Over the last few years, the initiative has shifted away from the traditional providers and people have adopted simpler and sometimes free technologies. Meanwhile, the traditional providers – and many others – have repeated the mantra “this is it, now it is here, finally, video for all,” only to realize that the complexities and costs of setting up reasonable quality conferencing is still a very real problem.
“I’m almost afraid of saying this, but: this is it. This is when it finally happens and we will remember 2014 as the starting point when video communications went from an expensive replacement for a private jet for top executives to an everyday utility making people’s lives easier, and companies more productive.”
Yet we have heard it all before so many times. Why would it be true this time? Isn’t integrated unified communications still years away?
“There are several pieces to this puzzle. Hardware has become extremely affordable and powerful, software tools and new algorithms substantially reduce the capacity requirements and we are now able to build an affordable standard server that basically connects all of these standards together. This means providers never have to agree on a standard since it no longer is an issue.”
It is all about software, which can be quickly and easily updated and made available to accommodate new standards and solutions as users request them. Today’s technology removes limitations that previously held development back. More and more users are provided access to tools that easily enable them to collaborate on video. Recent statistics show that around 60% of all US enterprises have deployed or are in the process of deploying Microsoft Lync, effectively bringing the demand for bridging solutions and interoperability platforms – like Pexip Infinity – up.
“One must also consider that every web browser from Google, Mozilla and Opera ships with native support for high quality video conferencing. As Microsoft and others are integrating video as a natural part of the office environment, participating in a video meeting is easy – just like calling someone on their phone. And speaking of which; most modern smartphones support several different types of video communications so there are no limitations to which endpoints we use or where we are.”
According to Åsmund O. Fodstad, this is the year mass deployment of video communications tools will happen. The year when new and disruptive companies like Pexip deliver solutions that tie it all together and deliver on the old vision. Regardless if you use a hardware or software endpoint, a computer, tablet or phone, a dedicated meeting room or are on the move – video will become as natural as making a call.
“Now we see many small to medium sized businesses that previously wanted to invest in video, but couldn’t afford it are finally able to do so with minimal investments. And those that had invested in a few, perhaps very costly, telepresence solutions and couldn’t motivate investing more will be able to continue the roll out, adding affordable solutions that integrate seamlessly with their proprietary environments.”
So, for Åsmund O. Fodstad, there is no doubt at all that this is the year:
“This is the great shift when video becomes the natural and preferred way to communicate and it will have a huge impact on how organizations work. Nothing will ever be the same again.”
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