Video conference integration into a conference room is no easy task. Product vendors are reliant on both IT and AV experts to make it as easy as possible on the end user and look great at the same time. Yet I still hear the rants from pundits saying that everything needs to be easy for everyone. It's not going to happen and we need to accept this. There is no easy button and there never will be one.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Products aren't difficult to use just because some manufacturer thought "wouldn't that be fun? Let's make something non intuitive and hard to use." There's a reason and sometimes the potential feature set greatly outweighs the desire to make things easy. Look no farther than our cell phones. They used to be just phones, then someone had the bright idea to put a game on one, then a web browser, then email. Now they are so much more and infinitely more complex than 10 years ago. Should phone manufacturers have just stopped creating new features because of simplicity's sake and laziness on the part of the user?
Would it be better if video conferencing product vendors dumb their product down and NOT create features that would benefit conferencing in general for fear that an end user wouldn't know how to use it or that it requires special attention? We wouldn't have as great of products we have now with that mentality. With complexity comes customization in the form of integration. I know it's an unpopular thought, but integrations aren't going anywhere if the industry wants to continue with development of products.
That being said, I will concede that a conference room containing only one vendor's set of products should have tighter integration, better security and in theory is easier to use. But really, how often does that actually happen? If that becomes the rule instead of the exception, it would end up being bad for our industry in general. Monopolies are never good.
Let's keep creating truly innovative products and pushing the envelope. Keep the user experience in mind but don't sacrifice what could be the greatest feature in your product because someone may think it's too hard to use.
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