“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confuscious
We can’t understand where we are if we do not know where we have been, much less gain insights into what the future holds. We need to know what went wrong in the past to know what to avoid in our future. Current statistics from Transparency Market Research are predicting unified communications solutions to grow by an impressive 24% over the next four years, leading to an overall market worth of $79.3 Billion. Even though the technology behind Unified Communications – VoIP – was originally created in 1973 and has been in use since 1995, it wasn’t until 2005 and beyond when it became a viable and reliable business solution.
Video conferencing follows a similar path, with AT&T’s Bell Labs spent half a billion dollars to develop their “Picturephone” between 1966 and 1973. But it wasn’t until the early 1990’s and the adoption of webcams and internet that the technology really took hold.
Why did workplace video fail for 30 years?
Today it’s hard to imagine life without FaceTime, Facebook video, or Skype in our personal lives. But the initial presentation of the technology was met with reluctance. Users simply did not want to be seen when on the telephone. Even after television was a staple of the American household and television characters like Dick Tracy flaunted wristwatch video phones and the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey featured a scene with AT&Ts picturephone, the technology flopped. AT&T’s corporate historian Sheldon Hochheiser told The New York Times the picturephone was “the most famous failure in the history of Bell.”
A big impediment was simply cost and lack of acceptance. The technology was just too expensive for all but the ones with the biggest budget, affecting the number of businesses that could adopt it. With so many being unable to afford the cost, those who could found they had no one to talk with on it and so it fell into disuse.
But it seems the tide is turning. Not only is the technology now cost-effective, but it has become an accepted form of communication. Continuing to drive the trend is the demand for remote work where most communications are over text-based mediums, leaving behind the nuances found in verbal communications and leading to increased miscommunications. Video communications, with its ability to not only tell the tone of voice but also facial expression, will be the “glue” that keeps dispersed teams connected.
As teams became even more dispersed, meeting rooms became a critical part of facilitating teamwork and productivity. Huddle rooms, ad hoc meetings, small groups have all driven the demand for flexible, low-cost solutions that can be deployed across the organization to meet the need for collaboration and productivity among employees.
Increased-Usage, AR and VR will Drive the Future of Video Collaborations
It seems unlikely in the health environment we all are currently living in that businesses will re-open offices anytime soon. And it seems that workers are indicating they do not want to return to the office. Tech companies are canceling leases and most do not intend to reopen the office as we’ve known it anytime soon. Video collaborations are crucial to helping these teams remain connected as they are in the office. Technologies like artificial reality and virtual reality embedded into video collaborations will one day enhance a technology that is already a game-changer for business communications. What does the future hold for you? One thing is for sure, the Future of Video Collaborations is good, and getting better.
“We study the past to understand the present; we understand the present to guide the future.” ~ Sneha Priya Darshini