The Future for Conferencing

There is much activity in the market for conferencing such as 4K video, WebRTC, mobile apps and virtual reality so here are Ian Hunter ‘s are snapshots from channel players on their views on what we can expect to see in the coming year.

According to Joel Price, Vice President of Sales at ScanSource, adding 4K and surround sound will be of high appeal to many but not everyone has the money to spend on such solutions yet.

“One of the real fights for the future will be simplifying the User Experience, making the process of actually calling more intuitive. Having solutions where you don’t need to remember any details, one that knows where you are located and instantly dials you into the call will no doubt help adoption of video. The benefits of video once you are in a call is self-evident – but the challenge is the same as it always was for videoconferencing. Remove the barriers of entry. We are getting there with easy dialling, WebRTC, apps on mobiles and tablets. Huge progress has been made and suppliers will likely keep working on making using video a seamless experience.

In a similar vein, Simon Hughes, Konftel Brand Manager at Trust Distribution says that current products on the market will continue to grow and develop becoming even easier, quicker and more flexible.

“But you will also see with increasing number of mobile devices and teams apps being used for video calls that this will transfer and play greater role in B2C communications.

There is also the development of virtual reality, so people could soon be stepping in to a completely immersive virtual meeting space where users will virtually interact as if they were face to face.”

Steven Ansell, Architecture Lead – Collaboration Solutions at Comstor says that in a Cisco world, you have video, audio, sharing and immersive presence.

“IX5K room systems will sit you at the table next to a colleague in another location and dimension! So, maybe VR/AR will start to be seen? However, there is a long way to go with many current innovations, for example decoding in 8K is nowhere near mainstream. Also, VR impacts sensory perception. Many will happily ‘sit’ next to a colleague in an immersive system but, I suspect a huge majority will feel uncomfortable strapping something to their face for a meeting. Video-conferencing has taken so long to be accepted it’s wise to consider that, because you can feasibly do something doesn’t mean people will want to or should. VR is still very niche, despite being around for what seems eons.

Lee Sinclair Founder and Director BNS Distribution UK, says that the latest video conferencing developments such as Android based devices are much more in tune with the video conferencing needs of small and medium businesses, recognising that their needs are different to those of enterprise.

“The video conferencing needs of SMBs have always been different to those of enterprise, but this has not always been reflected in the products offered to them. The truth is that the SMB does not want or need a cut down version of an enterprise product. Latest trends in video conferencing recognise the needs to the different communities and the introduction of cloud based options and office based android solutions are long overdue.

Enterprises need to allow hundreds of people to collaborate at any time and for many meetings to occur simultaneously. They also require real-time management of their collaboration solutions and typically want to build, customize and manage their collaboration network themselves.”

Ian Brindle, Nimans’ Head of Sales, UC Devices, notes that there’s a lot more interoperability through cloud service providers.

“This will shape the market – you can talk to multiple devices through one cloud solution and it’s becoming more of an affordable OPEX model. Historically, where people were using on-premise bridges etc – an OPEX cloud model now is far more cost effective.

Overall there’s still lots of healthy growth across all areas of the market but especially huddle room environments. This is where we and our customers are focusing lots of attention.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine