UK calls for video-conferencing standard

Users of video-conferencing technology want the industry to offer one standard so tools from different suppliers can become interoperable

The use of video-conferencing by consumers and businesses may be increasing, but there is a need for a common standard to enable different services to work together.  

A Cisco survey found 79% of UK respondents want this standard to come forward as it is hampering their use of the technology. These expectations were reflected across Europe, with 81% calling for the standard – 35% of which said it was “extremely important” to their continued interaction with video-conferencing.

The biggest demand was for Microsoft to open up Skype – one of the most popular video-conferencing tools available – which it bought in May 2011, with 78% of those surveyed across Europe appealing for the change. This rose to 86% among UK respondents alone.

Keeping it closed was deemed “unfair” to its customers by 72% of the European figure, but 68% of UK respondents believed Microsoft would change its mind and make it a more open platform in the future.

“Consumers and business users alike are demanding that video communications solutions work together and that making a video call be as easy as making a phone call,” said Chris Dedicoat, president of the European region at Cisco.

“This is about freedom of choice, and the technology industry must rally around open standards, as it did so effectively with telephone service, the internet and email. Only with a truly open video community will we fully reap the economic and social benefits of this transformational technology,” he said.

Other figures from the survey showed 40% of those who used video-conferencing planned to use it much more in the next year, with only 4% expecting their use to dwindle.

Image: Thinkstock

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