Have video conferencing peaked? Not really, but video is evolving. This earlier blog outlines why the traditional view of video conferencing might make it appear to have peaked, particularly in the market for expensive and specialized endpoints.
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The business use of video, addressing specific needs and applications is however, definitely growing. The sector is evolving into a virtual model, centred around software and services. Video technology has become more affordable, with cameras either cheap accessories or a standard element of most desktop or mobile devices. It is also now benefiting from a cloud or subscription model for service delivery. This makes video connections simpler to access, with scalable adoption so its use can be better aligned to business needs.
Video is shifting from ‘souped up’ phone calls using specialised endpoints to something that can add value to any business process, anywhere. No longer video ‘conferencing’, but video enhanced applications using open standard technology and networks.
Some of this has been catalysed by consumer adoption of video, but enterprise video does not always follow consumer user experiences. Specialised, vertical applications are also increasingly benefiting from the incorporation and integration of video. This is not simply about the endpoints, but the end-to-end integration required to fully exploit visual media in a broader context of available data. The cloud is now fundamental to ensuring that the reach of visual media extends to match the business need.
Video in the wild
Benefits from in-office use cases are one thing, but the tele-connection of video really comes into its own out in the field. A good example of this is the use of body worn cameras used by emergency services. In particular there are ones used by police forces, such as the Si500 video camera/microphone/radio speaker from Motorola Solutions. This endpoint is similar in concept to action cameras and dash cams. However, it is clearly more rugged and is designed to enable officers to collect and stream live rich media.
The endpoint device is smart in itself. However, its real value comes from being used in combination with Motorola Solutions cloud-based digital evidence management service, Command Central Vault. Visual content is easily gathered and stored in a secure and compliant environment. It can then be immediately accessed and used by all parts of the operational group, wherever they are. It combines reassuringly simple and robust user experience with the potential for smart use of big data by the organisation. Reassuring too for all that depend on such services for public safety.
While the cost of endpoints and connectivity has fallen there still needs to be a purpose to justify the effort. Holding meetings (conferences) remotely to save travel time and money will only go so far. The real benefits from visual information come from making business processes more effective or efficient and making participants more comfortable, safe or involved. Organisations need to look at video as a strategic consideration, not simply a communications tool.
Video conferencing may not strictly have peaked, but the use of video is entering a new phase.