What's going to be the next transformation in video conferencing? Without calling anything dead or the next big thing, let's dive into a few problems of video conferencing and some future solutions we should be looking for.
Video conferencing requires scheduling. Ad hoc calls aren't mainstream and probably won't be for a long time due in part to equipment, availability and network. Then there are human factors of "my hair looks bad" or "my room is messy".
I've used several methods of scheduling and so far none have fit the bill. They've all relied on everyone being under the same method, be it Outlook, Google, or others. These are methods to get to the end goal of having a meeting. The world could use a cross platform service that's interoperable with at the very least, the major scheduling platforms. After that, we could worry about tying it into the individual conferencing products.
"Interoperability" used to be a word that would come out of every vendor's mouth or printed in marketing materials. What's changed? A few great cloud services have created cross platform services in the past few years to aid in endpoint interop so much that traditional hardware vendors aren't really concerned with it anymore (at least from an outsider's perspective). The problem now is the new glut of software vc apps that are islands among themselves.
A real transformation in video calling would be true cross platform compatibility. If the Acano's and Pexip's of the world would accepted all streams that met some standard (and software vendors would write code to that standard), video conferencing then would have the capability to actually be ubiquitous. Without cross platform software interoperability, there's little hope in making video conferencing as widespread as we all want it to be.
We see some of the biggest quality problems with inter-company calls. Intra-company calls can be managed to a much better extent, but how can we solve quality problems when my company calls yours?
The resolution to this is beyond my head to wrap around. Standards of communication using less bandwidth only pushes vendors to create products at higher resolutions and not pushing them toward things like less latency, better audio to video sync and less artifacting. The end result is that we can, in theory, get 4k video conferencing but it will still have the same issues that we have with 1080p, 720p, etc.
That's just a couple of problems we face every day. There are more, but those are the ones that stick out to me in my day in and day out life of trying to demo products over video.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of Bryan Hellard and do not necessarily reflect those of his clients, employers, friends, relatives or dogs.