We have been here so many times before; trying to predict what’s going to happen in the new year and then conveniently forgetting about the misplaced predictions we made this time last year. After all, whatever happened to the “the new dawn of videoconferencing?” We blazed right past that to environments where video chats are a key part of our every day interactions at work.
So, keeping our views on the workplace nice and simple, these are the three things we predict will happen with reasonable certainty in 2017!
No. 1 – Video Goes Soft; Rooms Get Smart. Cisco has already announced the demise of videoconferencing hardware at the core in the coming spring; expect to see similar announcements for hardware codecs on the edge in 2017.
With Office 365 and Skype for Business now starting to dominate the enterprise as the primary collaboration application and workflow, the role of hardware in the conference room shifts from “processing” video to “enhancing” the user’s experience. Expect to see a lot of new hardware from Crestron, Polycom and other traditional AV brands all offering superior audio, wireless connectivity and smart interactivity for both Microsoft’s and Cisco’s collaboration platforms.
No. 2 – O365, The New Wave. The success of Skype for Business is principally due to its distribution model; bundled within Office 365 and fully enterprise enabled in its E5 version. For the very first time customers can deploy a fully integrated personal productivity, communication and team collaboration solution that extends from the mobile device to the desktop and now the conference room too. No other collaboration technology can compete with the massive install base of enterprise users, who if they haven’t yet done so, will migrate to O365 in the near future.
We believe that this O365 migration will be the catalyst for the largest investment in video collaboration and audiovisual technology and services the industry has ever seen. The power of O365 and Windows 10 makes Microsoft devices, from the Surface Hub to the HoloLens appealing to add to the teaming portfolio. What’s more, customers now have the single biggest opportunity to receive the service and user experience they deserve and get a significant return on their investment.
No. 3 – The Triple S; Simplicity, Standards and Scale. This new wave of investment will only be reality if we take out complexity and make the user experience and the way we do business simpler. Standards ensuring consistency, high performance and manageability are essential as is the need to deploy and support those standards across the whole enterprise, locally, nationally and globally. Our prediction for 2017, is that 80/20 rule will flip on its head, where our technology solutions which used to be 80% custom build and 20% standardized, will become 80% standardized and 20% customized. This is actually less of a prediction and more of a case of history repeating itself, as we saw the same thing happen with personal computing a generation ago.
The good news is that customers are asking with specific intent, manufacturers are listening and acting and integrators are less focused on products and becoming solution and service orientated. And to add to the fun, new capabilities for enabling automation and smart environments keeps the data coming to validate our IT roadmaps and strategies.
The future is bright for video collaboration and virtual teaming across the enterprise this year.