I like to see how technology, whether it’s an application or a piece of hardware, gets started in a business environment. As an example, the adoption of smartphones and tablets as portable application delivery devices has transformed the companies using them and the companies selling them. The company as an entity isn’t necessarily the adopter; it’s the people and the features they’re attracted to who are.
Tablet computing didn’t have early success, but recently many companies have begun adapting them to the office environment due to the popularity of the applications available to them. I think that applications involving video will soon see greater adoption in the business environment. Our acceptance of video has to do with how video has been used historically in a business environment, the applications that will enable its expanded use, and how our culture evolves with the individual’s comfort level as a content creator.
The Network Matters
There are a few paths to mass adoption. One is a standards based approach. The standard way to do a video conference was using an H.320 system. The standard way to record a video for broadcast was to go to the local community TV station and buy time to broadcast your version of “Wayne’s World”. Today, we use video through applications like FaceTime and Skype or publish videos to YouTube so users can consume them on demand. Each of these has different demands on the corporate network. The ability of the network to provide connectivity at a speed acceptable for video quality and with prioritization of data associated with video will drive the acceptance and use of these types of video applications.
New Hardware Gadgets
So what are the applications? Products, particularly those from Apple, are rapidly maturing and competitors like Cisco and Microsoft are working to make cameras a ubiquitous part of the technology around us. The applications that integrate the multivendor environment are still a bit away. One part is the struggle for a standards-based approach for the video communication, similar to what is seen with the video compression in H.264. SIP trunking is an excellent platform for establishing a multivendor call control. An application developer has the flexibility to implement the portions of the protocol they wish. This makes integration across platforms for video somewhat challenging. The other way is to make the application work seamlessly regardless of technology platform and standards. Each company has an application that is technology dependent, but soon some of these will be sending out applications that will work across different technology platforms.
As for our culture, some of us like to be seen but most of us like to watch. I still find myself initiating more video calls than I find myself receiving. As adoption grows I hope to find fewer folks using sticky notes to cover up the cameras on their new computers. I like having the ability to create content, typically a technology or product training, and posting it for my team to see. I find that learning retention works better with video instead of screens with bullets. I might not remember a major scientific fact I learned in school, but for some reason I know the details of how time travel operates courtesy of Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to The Future.
I hope to give some examples, and maybe offer some inspiration on applying technology to the business environment with my next posts.
How are you or how is your business using video?