Just a few years ago, video conferencing was something people associated strictly with senior management types at large enterprises, holding conferences in the corporate boardroom—and for most of us, we were as likely to have a meeting with the CEO as to be involved in video conferencing.
Whatever the truth of that stereotype, in today’s business world, the video element is increasingly just becoming another part of the office meeting routine: video is a commodity not a luxury and is a must for the today workplace that is no longer a single location, but is anywhere you are. In no small part, that’s down to changing demographics; for the Millennial Generation entering the workforce today, video is regarded as a standard part of their communication with family and friends so they expect it to be integrated into the workspace as well.
Organisations are taking video mainstream with increasing integration with company-wide unified communications (UC) deployments, with UC clients and web conferencing invading the “traditional” video conferencing market. With network bandwidth increasingly dropping in price as the technology improves, video solutions are also becoming more affordable, helping to boost widespread usage.
So you can expect video to be deeply embedded into the business world, but not just video on its own—video plus collaboration is the key trend. People want more than just audio and video tracks; they want collaboration tools to be added to applications. We expect video to become an increasingly important part of many workspace applications—for instance, people want the capacity to start video conferencing directly from the document they are working on.
From the very beginning Avaya has been a leading innovator in video conferencing for enterprise organisations. For Avaya, this fits in with another of our key strategic objectives— Avaya is moving more and more
toward being a software and services company, and video very definitely fits in with that strategy. Video today for Avaya is no longer an island, a video call is treated like any other call in a PBX, and customers can use video in self-service application and in the contact centre.
Video conferencing as-a-service (VCaaS) is gaining traction in the market place, as customers recognise the quality collaboration benefits it can deliver without having to make huge investments in infrastructure. While cloud and virtualisation technologies are growing in the video conferencing world—as with everywhere else— many organisations continue to see very strong need for the more traditional room-based video conferencing. While companies may be reluctant to invest in those large boardroom-style environments that are little used outside of big meetings, they are willing to compromise a little while still investing in room-based conferencing solutions—the huddle room.
The huddle room—a small, dedicated collaboration area that allows employees quick access to conference space whenever they need it to communicate with remote teammates, partners or customers—is a very cost-effective way of delivering an entry-level room system without compromising on quality.
As teleworking continues to grow dramatically in many countries, we can expect video conferencing to become increasingly important for organisations of all sizes. Big changes are happening to the collaboration landscape impacting the way people meet in the workspace. UC clients and web conferencing are invading some of the traditional video space but many companies—faced with mobile workforces who come in and out of noisy open plan offices and need a space that they can communicate effectively in— are looking at huddle rooms as another way round the problem.
So, while the market is continuing to evolve and the future is clearly in cloud and services, the room-based video conferencing model is very much alive and well—albeit the location of that room may have shifted a bit for some countries.
The writer is video sales leader, global growth markets, Avaya