Rounding Up ISE: Bringing AV into the UC World
There’s no escaping video
Integrated Systems Europe, or ISE, is one of the leading events in the world for exhibiting cutting-edge AV technology for the professionals in many different industries. Although this conference doesn’t focus solely on communication and collaboration, it does dedicate a lot of attention to these spaces. ISE even has its own UC hall – which is where I spent the majority of my time when attending this year’s event.
ISE is known not only for its exceptional exhibition halls, but also its commitment to helping people learn about the latest innovations in everything from audio and video conferencing, to digital signage and smart building solutions. As an official media partner of the event, UC Today was keen to get involved with yet another fantastic year, featuring hundreds of exhibitors, attendees, and excited system integrators. Here’s what I experienced at ISE 2020.
A Focus on Service Management
From the moment I arrived at ISE 2020 this year, it was impossible to ignore the buzz and excitement from thousands of people all keen to encounter the latest in AV tech. The UC hall was absolutely packed full of people, giving myself and the UC Today team plenty of individuals to interact with as we wandered around the demo stands.
We had a fantastic opportunity to speak with some of the market leaders in the UC space, including Poly – a company that was presenting a refreshingly streamlined image at this year’s event. Last year, Poly was still trying to sew together the threads of Plantronics and Polycom into a fully-featured new business. This year, it seems as though the merger has been fully completed, with a team that knows exactly where it’s headed next. There were plenty of great products on show at the Poly stand, including the latest Lens product for device management.
Interestingly, as we progressed to the Logitech stand – another huge video company – we encountered that brand’s latest system management service too. Logitech is now introducing the “Sync” product, to help bring crucial components of a meeting room together in a more aligned space. Like Poly’s product, Logitech’s solution was very agnostic and universal – designed to work with multiple device types. However, while Poly’s product will attract a price tag offering, Logitech claimed that they would be giving theirs away for free.
Perhaps this difference in pricing approaches is a sign of a changing tide in the UC landscape. In the not so distant future, video vendors are sure to embed service management as just another tool in the complete product experience.
Embracing the Culture of Video-First Collaboration
We also had a chance to go and check out the technology on offer by collaboration market leaders, Zoom, and Google. Both Zoom and Google are massive players in the unified communications and collaboration space right now, with UCaaS solutions that include tools like Zoom Phone and Google Voice. However, when talking to these companies, we found that their focus was very much on video-first, and the idea of bringing an always-on video culture into the modern business space.
Throughout ISE, a lot of the conversations seemed to revolve around the concept of bringing more video into the workplace. From a hardware perspective, that meant that manufacturers were examining what they could do to make video conferencing equipment more accessible and intuitive. From a software point of view, vendors were exploring what it takes to encourage adoption of video in the meeting room environment, and how they can make it more comfortable to connect through screens. I’ll be exploring this concept of the video UX journey with Google in a video meeting with their director of Product Management – so stay tuned for that. Google already has around 20,000+ meeting rooms to contend with in its own offices, so the company knows what it’s like to try and embed a video-first culture into a workplace.
Another Successful Event
This year’s ISE was another hugely successful celebration of all things audio and video. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a lot of major UCaaS players in the room, however. There seemed to be a lot of video-first and collaboration vendors, but there’s still a gap for major UCaaS players like RingCentral, Avaya, Mitel, and 8×8. Personally, I believe that those companies could benefit from carving a space for themselves at the ISE event. After all, they all have investments in the realms of video and audio conferencing.
I’m particularly looking forward to next year’s ISE event, where the hosts will be changing up the location with a trip to Barcelona. It should be nice to check out the technology that’s available in 2021 in a slightly warmer and dryer climate.
For now, I’ll leave you with the most essential theme I picked up at ISE 2020, and that’s that video isn’t going anywhere. Video technology that’s accessible, easy to manage, and easy to integrate with other tools will be essential in the years to come, no matter what your comms stack looks like.
Don’t forget to check out my conversations with Google, Zoom, Poly, and Logitech to find out more!