WebRTC Expert Feature

September 12, 2013

There Are Too Many Choices for Video

Over the last week or so, two new video players have emerged. Acano and Pexip have two similarities: both were founded by Tandberg/Cisco alumni and both have a direct to enterprise model -- Acano with an interoperable platform and Pexip with virtualized software. They are joining cloud video companies like Vidtel and Blue Jeans, as well as new entrants like Zoom in offering an interoperable solution to integrate existing room systems together and to incorporate a wide variety of devices using WebRTC. And then we have the companies doing just device video like Bistri that have added WebRTC and a slew of new WebRTC-only video companies.

In fact, if you really search around, you will easily find 50 or more companies that will offer to solve your video challenges through interoperability, new technology, in the cloud, or on your premises. The challenge this presents is how to make a decision. Enterprise IT organizations saw video as a couple of vendors and potentially tied to their PBX/UC decision. But with this plethora of vendors, many offering solutions that can be purchased at spending control levels of mid-managers, the potential for an explosion in different video services is happening.

On one hand, traditional wisdom would argue that this is a really bad turn of events. Rather than having a single tightly defined video solution, many organizations may find themselves with multiple separate video systems acquired by business units. While this path comes paved with questions about cost and replication, it also comes with specialization and optimization.

While we have long seen business video as a "thing", with the major variables being the size and cost of the endpoints, the new world sees video as an adjunct to a business process, whether personal or formal. So in this emerging world, the video solution can be chosen based on the specific business problem that it is being asked to solve. Rather than video being an LCD (least common denominator) across a variety of use cases, video can now be chosen based on optimization and integration to the process and the other technical components as required.

We have seen the same thing happen in devices where users chose the device based on meeting their need. And Salesforce was not adopted through the IT organization, but by sales managers who saw generating 10-40 percent more volume by using it with their teams. In both cases, the IT organization adapted to the fact that it no longer could always dictate the device or all of the software. In some cases, the technology has been absorbed (Salesforce), or in some cases tolerated (BYOD). And often, the use and drive is still outside of IT.

In the end, I believe that variety is the only way systems adapt to the needs of the constituents. Costco is constantly changing the items in a store, reflecting those that have volume purchases versus those that are less popular. Perhaps it is time that IT took a page from the supermarket, don't try to limit the shelves to one item in a particular category, open it up to a variety and see what gets purchased. For the user, we deal effectively with dozens to thousands of different web sites and paradigms every year, it would be fool-hardy to think we can't deal with two or three different video systems in our work. And if those video solutions were chosen based on their alignment with the process, it is even better. There is no question that the video solution for the executive team can have significant differences with one used by a salesperson with a client or by developers trying to solve a problem, or a large team meeting.

Welcome to Applications Specific Video.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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