WebRTC Expert Feature

December 18, 2013

The Case For Video Conferencing 2.0

Blue Jeans Network, “a video-centric collaboration service in the cloud,” makes meetings mobile, productive and cost-efficient by allowing people to meet face-to-face from anywhere. It recently announced its State of the Modern Meeting Report, which demonstrates how technology is reshaping meetings throughout the world.  It’s an interesting read and suggests that we are in transition in our attitudes and our devices with a 400-percent increase in the use of cloud-based solutions.

Though I am always leery of using averaged data as a methodology for requirements, here is what Blue Jeans Network gathered from one million participants in 177 countries.

On average, a video conference last about 45 minutes with five participants.  The expectation is that these calls allow mixed use of video systems, phone calls and the Web. Calls are typically on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in whatever time zone you are in.  The stat also suggests that post-holiday calls are more often the pre-holiday calls, (but I think that has more to do with the fact that Tuesday and Wednesday are the preferred days).

While 71 percent of participants felt that they lost business due to lack of face-to-face contact, if they cannot have a face-to-face meeting they prefer video.

Other highlights that caught my attention include that 30 percent of the video meetings have mobile device participants, while 51 percent include the use of a browser-based solution. 

Blue Jeans Network included much more data in its report, including an ideogram, but fundamentally it showed some interesting perspectives, including the general trend that women preferred video calls over men.

The top five uses of video conferencing have not changed.  They are:

  • Team meetings, especially for geographically distributed organizations.
  • Sales and marketing – for both customer presentations and internal reviews.
  • HR for both recruiting and training.
  • Executive meetings and board meetings.
  • International meetings with partners, vendors and employees to reduce travel time and expense.

I found the report interesting, and I think the most important point is that the expectation should be of a mixed use experience. That is particularly important for the WebRTC triangle strategies that have a tendency to expect like for like. If the stat for mobile is correct, it should be a given that a consistent experience cannot be trusted.

Anecdotally, at DevCon5 last week, Peter Dunkley of Crocodile did a great job demonstrating WebRTC videos, games and data channel (picture sharing) using my MiFi as his access point.  The hotel’s Wi-Fi network was problematic, which is to be expected at a tech event -- for some reason whenever we get together I can see we aren’t all watching video, but the networks sure act like we are.

In the end, the survey may be making the case for interoperability or least strong integration to legacy.  I think the point of pointing out the survey is to make sure you are not boxing your solution into a corner. We have lots of opportunity with WebRTC; we should not find our products closed off to interconnection.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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