Video is Getting Hot Again #EC16

by Dave Michels

We tend to become numb to things that move slowly. Nothing moves slower than video. It’s a complex topic because it involves technical innovation, channel acceptance, and user adoption. The whole space moves in slow motion. Very quietly and slowly our world does change  – we now have cameras everywhere, broadband everywhere, and younger employees that actually embrace video.

The result is video is getting hot again – albeit slowly. I think the booths at EC16 that don’t have video will be the exception.

For example, look at Logitech. When it recently announced the GROUP system, it quietly pointed out that it’s a world leader in enterprise video. Really? I generally associated Logitech enterprise video with LifeSize. That overlord/division relationship came to an end a few months back and now Logitech is flexing its muscles which includes worldwide distribution and partnerships with all the major players including Microsoft, Cisco, and Polycom.

Cisco has us focused on Spark these days, but just spent more than $700 million on Acano. I run Spark in Chrome, so I don’t get any video experience with it – but that’s about to change as Chrome intends to support H.264 – plus Spark is more tightly integrating with Webex (er I mean Spark Meetings powered by WebEx).

Microsoft intends to launch its Surface Hub Pro which is a key element of its channel strategy to drive Skype4B. Turns out channel partners love it when they actually have something they can sell.

Vidyo is making lots of quiet noise about some upcoming news and new partnerships. Vidyo is well positioned with its extensive APIs, tolerance for wireless, WebRTC, and strength in H.264 and VP8/9.

Oops, I mentioned WebRTC – still just another year away from being important – nonetheless, driving important awareness to the importance of visual communications. WebRTC remains a track at EC16 and will no doubt be filled with attendees and optimistic presenters (and me).

Video is quietly becoming a core app in UCaaS/UC – Avaya and Fuze intend to consolidate UC and video clients. 8×8 was an early leader in video+UCaaS and that story is expected to get stronger very soon. NEC introduced a video phone last year. Every major UC and UCaaS vendor has made video improvements over the past year. Video was the add-on and is effectively becoming part of the core suite.

We used to separate audio, web, and video conferencing – these are all one solution now. All that matters is conferencing – and audio conferencing is simply rude. It has it’s place – driving and other situations are best done with audio only – but the overall conference should be video and web enabled.

For those that still can’t figure out how to make their apps video-ready, the platform API vendors are stepping up their options – Kandy, Tropo, Twilio, etc.

Polycom too has been very busy with numerous introductions last year including new endpoints – desktop and room. It also introduced Clariti to simplifi purchasing and deployments.

Zoom has been the poster child of both VCaaS and enterprise freemium. Zoom has been expanding its offer from desktop and mobile meetings to education and webinars.

Don’t be numb to it (that would make you a numskull) EC16 will be all about video.