For eight years running now, TeleSpan has been offering an annual workshop revolving around the future of conferencing called, not surprisingly, the Future of Conferencing Workshop. Now, with a set of developments poised to shake up the conferencing market as most know it, the eighth annual event is poised to have a special focus on the so-called "game changers" of conferencing.
What qualifies as a "game changer" at the 2013 Future of Conferencing Workshop? It likely won't be a huge surprise to many that WebRTC tops on the list with its rapid development and widespread support. TeleSpan publisher Elliot Gold describes WebRTC as something that "...will help us make the leap from millions of videoconferencing and web conferencing end points to billions of end points...." He further described how the leap would generate, in turn, "...extraordinary profits for our constituency."
That's no small statement, but it's certainly not the only item on the agenda. The growth of the bring your own device (BYOD) movement in a growing number of office settings worldwide is fundamentally changing the way businesses manage costs and waste. With the growth in BYOD, as well as WebRTC, that's opening up a much wider pool of options in terms of social networking, collaboration tools, and assorted options that's going well beyond the conference call and the videoconferencing room.
Where before, videoconferencing was the province of major companies who could afford the necessary equipment, things like WebRTC are opening up new possibilities in regular user connections, with Web browsers able to connect and establish video conferencing at a point-to-point level. BYOD is turning almost every employee into a camera-carrier, with sufficient resolution and broadcasting capability to stage a video conference at his or her own desk, taking the place of what would have been a room full of equipment even just a couple of years ago.
Indeed, just looking at the attendance numbers for TeleSpan's Future of Conferencing event shows a growing interest in the titular phenomenon. Workshop attendance is up over 30 percent, by some estimates, and the sheer number of participants in the event, like Vidtel, Yamaha and Vidyo, among a host of others, shows clearly that not only is interest up, so too are the total number of competitors in the market. More competitors mean more products, and more products mean more opportunity for companies to get into the field themselves.
TeleSpan's Future of Conferencing event is set to take place at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas March 7 - 8, but it won't be the only one planning an event to tackle WebRTC. On the other side of the country, just a couple months later, the WebRTC Conference and Expo event will take place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Cobb Galleria, June 25 - 27. Featuring a host of speakers and exhibitors, including Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Oracle, the event will not only offer a look at what's going on in the field, but will also offer a venue for discussing these trends as well.
There's no denying that there's plenty of interest overall in the WebRTC field, and that's spawning not only a lot of new developments, but plenty of venues at which to show them off and discuss them as well. Even more new developments are likely on tap in the days and weeks to come, and that's going to make for a picture that will be constantly changing, and constantly requiring a close watch besides.
Edited by Brooke Neuman