Video-conferencing (VC) technology has been evolving over the last few years, and advancements for 2016 are the greatest so far. According to the analysis firm Ovum, revenue from the VC market has grown at an accelerated rate in the past four years, at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.79 percent. This year, VC will become pivotal, a platform that totally eliminates geographical boundaries and creates meetings and conversations with virtual team members that are as realistic as possible. According to recent research, progress is inevitable, because VC is not limited to video screens or passive VC hardware, leaving room for a plethora of new technology in 2016 and beyond.
Just prior to 2016, organizations began realizing the possibilities of VC for all sizes of business—not just medium-sized and large ones—and businesses of all kinds as well. Enterprises discovered the benefits of VC for training remote personnel, and retail stores and franchises discovered the ability to virtually showcase their products and provide online demonstrations. Organizations of all sizes have been working to integrate their unified communications (UC) platforms with VC solutions to provide video calls on the fly, where remote participants can be using smart devices on a quality video connection. This has leveled the playing field for remote workers, dispersed teams, and in-office peers, making everyone feel like they are on the same team.
Now that VC has become a tool that most businesses can’t do without, the industry is now adding the bells and whistles that can make video calls a truly immersive experience. Resellers will be the key to advancing these additions with their customers, helping them understand the way that VC impacts how people work and communicate with each other. Some statistics that help support this are:
- Fifty-six percent of executives interviewed in a recent study claimed to participate in at least one video conference of substantial length every week.
- This same study showed that 96 percent of survey participants agreed that VC improves productivity.
- The way that workers interact with their peers, stakeholders, and bosses will simulate face-to-face conversations more effectively, leading to about 75 percent of senior managers replacing their conventional conferencing practices and equipment with VC solutions.
- Also, 76 percent of decision makers surveyed use VC and highly recommend it to their line managers and direct reports.
Trends for 2016 and beyond include the general acceptance of applications like telepresence, improved video conferencing as a service (VCaaS), enhanced security, VC mobile alternatives, 3D VC, and tighter integration with UC. Let’s look at each of these six applications individually:
Telepresence systems are tightly integrated multi-codec, multi-monitor, multi-microphone, and multi-channel speaker systems. The intent of a telepresence system is to provide interactive video and audio between locations with near-lifelike audio quality and with near-life-size video images. The end result is an interactive video conference with a level of visual and audio clarity that is amazingly real and lifelike. Telepresence robots are becoming popular in certain industries; these devices can be rolled around, for instance, in medical facilities for remote consultations between doctors and patients. Telepresence is expected to reduce travel expenses by more than 90 percent, allowing for a rapid return on investment.
In 2016 and beyond, VCaaS resellers will hire and utilize VC professionals who are trained in the design, implementation, administration, and maintenance of the VC solution for an organization. These professionals will be responsible for customization of the solution, ensuring the proper use of the tools, keeping track of new developments, and determining when services need to be upgraded. They will be responsible for helping a company understand and meet its project goals, as well as meet its corporate objectives. VCaaS project managers will reduce the in-house IT staff’s learning curve and will relieve the staff from having to deal with complex VC equipment and bandwidth requirements during peak periods.
3. Enhanced Security
Another compelling development will be the establishment of stronger encryption for video streams and password protection for the Shared Files area of VC consoles, especially in online-account-based systems. VCaaS has had a reputation of being more vulnerable than on-premises implementations, and as a result, cybersecurity consciousnesses for VC will begin with cloud-based platforms.
4. Growth of Mobile VC Alternatives
As VC continues to grow and become more feature-rich, mobile applications will need to keep up as well. Applications will be enhanced to support interactions with sophisticated, immersive telepresence solutions, and strategies to deal with “bring your own device” and mobile policies will also evolve over time. It will be important for organizations to ensure the safety of data contained on smart devices and shared or accessed during video calls with partners and prospects.
5. Growth of 3D VC
3D VC is becoming a reality. Holographic telepresence is expected to start shipping in 2017, allowing users to collaborate with others using virtual reality. Experts are predicting that in terms of return on investment, 3D VC will create a sense of urgency in meetings, because individuals will actually sit around a table and make important decisions together. Because 90 percent of communications are non-verbal—picked up from gestures and tone inflections—the inauguration of 3D VC will make VC completely immersive and could make most traveling for work a thing of the past.
6. Tighter Coupling with UC
Most VC platforms come equipped with chat and data-sharing facilities. Tighter coupling with UC solutions will allow one-click access to all essential features of VC. Users will be able to view a presence directory, will be able to call available peers, and will be able to elevate the chat or call to a video call, making VC an integral part of the UC experience.
Future enhancements to VC will create a lucrative market for all types of resellers and will improve the way that organizations communicate. As more tools become available, technology leaders will enjoy the way these tools work and will understand the advantages of the pivotal changes to VC in their organizations.
Is your company engaged in selling VC solutions? Are you tracking the rapid advancements in VC technology? Please comment below.