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Video Conferencing Trends 2019

Insights from Industry Leaders

Video Conferencing Trends 2019

In a world defined by dispersed workforces and global communication, video conferencing has emerged as an increasingly popular collaborative tool. With video, remote workers and mobile employees can communicate with their peers in a more immersive format. Contact centre agents can bring face-to-face support to customers. Even business leaders can present more compelling sales strategies to clients and stakeholders.

Currently, the value of the enterprise video conferencing market is expected to accelerate to $4.48 billion by 2023. So, what’s driving the phenomenal growth of video conferencing, and what can we expect to see in the next few years? We spoke to some of the industry leaders in video to find out.

What Customer Trends are Shaping the Industry in 2019?

In almost every realm of the IT and communications space, consumers affect the evolution of the industry. Today’s employees expect the same intuitive experiences in the office as they can get at home. We asked the leaders in video conferencing and endpoints to give us their thoughts on the changing sector.

Daniel Boddington – Systems Engineer for StarLeaf

According to Systems Engineer for StarLeaf, Daniel Boddington, the cloud has been the most crucial change in the industry of late.

“As the cloud becomes prevalent and integral to enterprise strategies, more and more organisations are implementing cloud solutions. These strategies provide a safe and seamless experience supported by a robust security posture that will add greater value to customers.”

“The ability to use systems and devices that are cloud-enabled will drive greater efficiencies across the enterprise. “

Boddington believes that IT professionals working with complex solutions will be able to use the cloud to scale operations and manage resources more efficiently.

Mark Strassman – SVP and GM of Communications and Collaboration for LogMeIn

For Mark Strassman of LogMeIn, the conversation today is all about simple consumer experiences. He believes that many of the major video conferencing solutions offer similar features, from in-meeting chat to high-quality video. The businesses that get ahead will be the ones that can provide an easy-to-use interface.

“As consumer-facing technologies like FaceTime have grown more popular, so too have workplace video conferencing technologies”

“Those are the solutions that most people have grown familiar with at home, and they want their workplace technologies to reflect a similarly simple, intuitive interface so they can spend less time with meeting setup or resolving tech issues, and instead focus on what matters – the conversation.”

Anne Marie Ginn – Head of Video Collaboration EMEA for Logitech

Anne Marie Ginn

Anne Marie Ginn

According to Anne Marie Ginn of Logitech, the next few years in the business environment will be defined by flexible working. Workforce dynamics and the “war on talent” will push organisations to reconsider the way that they’re using office space. “The result will be multi-purpose office spaces designed to meet the needs of flexible working.”

Anne Marie also believes that as these office spaces evolve to focus on employee experience, video conferencing that’s tailored to each environment will be crucial.

“As a result, in 2019 we’ll see a wider variety of video conferencing solutions for different types of office spaces: from boardrooms and smaller formal meeting rooms through to solutions designed for huddle rooms and breakout office spaces”

Bobby Beckmann – Chief Technology Officer of Lifesize

Bobby Beckmann suggests that as video conferencing becomes more popular in the enterprise, companies won’t be willing to settle for video quality that’s just “good enough.” Organisations will rely on video to connect with both customers and colleagues. This means that IT teams will need to aim to replicate the experience of an in-person meeting.

“To do this, they must leverage technologies that reduce friction and ‘get out of the way’ of meeting participants. Additionally, enterprise customers are increasingly opting for web conferencing over in-person meetings to reduce costs and lost productivity from employees’ commuting and travel.”

“As that trend continues, vendors will need to offer future-proof solutions that provide ultra-high definition 4K quality and pristine call fidelity or risk falling behind”

Richard Buckley – European Leader of Pre-Sales Solution Engineering for Avaya

Avaya’s Richard Buckley sees emerging trends in the rise of CPaaS. He comments that video conferencing used to be reserved for the boardroom. Now, every room can be a collaboration room. Collaborative devices can be carried easily around the business space, hooked up to Wi-Fi and accessed by anyone.

“However, the concepts around which meeting room solutions are based have been challenged lately and rightly so. Customers are demanding openness of the device platforms, and also significantly reduced-cost endpoints.”

“These demands are driving endpoints to use less proprietary technology, such as running Android as the operating system, and utilising standard app stores”

Paul Scholey – VP of International Sales for BlueJeans

Paul Scholey

Paul Scholey

For BlueJeans and Paul Scholey, there’s a current divergence in the workplace, where some businesses are opting for UCaaS platforms, and others are going for best-of-breed. There’s also a third group standardising on consolidated platforms, with access to best-of-breed tools when necessary.

“Key for those best of breed or hybrid shops is selecting vendors with open architectures, support for standards, and APIs that enable seamless integration and workflows across tools.”

What Technologies are Creating Opportunities This Year?

Just like every other segment of the communication and collaboration environment, there’s been an influx of new technologies in the marketplace recently. The video conferencing market is becoming increasingly impressive with the rise of everything from mixed reality tools, to wearables, and more. Our industry leaders suggest that the following tech is leading to new opportunities this year.

Daniel Boddington – Systems Engineer for StarLeaf

Daniel Boddington sees opportunities in the deployment of integrated devices that offer insights into user engagement, employee performance, and technical efficiency. He feels that these solutions will help leaders to discover where their investments are having the best impact.

StarLeaf’s team also sees potential in cloud-based offerings that provide the highest level of opportunity for the industry. “Safeguarding customers’ data is now of paramount importance, and more people in 2019 will differentiate brands based on their ability to protect sensitive information”

“Therefore, working with vendors that can offer a secure cloud-based approach removes the need for additional cumbersome network infrastructure, dramatically reducing costs, and ensuring applications and services remain protected.”

Mark Strassman – SVP and GM of Communications and Collaboration for LogMeIn

Mark Strassman

Mark Strassman

According to LogMeIn, the future is all about the rise of the huddle room. Mark Strassman states that video conferencing tech and hardware is getting smaller, and easier to use, without sacrificing quality. This leads to excellent opportunities for businesses with limited office space or budgets, as they can invest in Huddle Room solutions.

“With just the accompanying camera equipment and software, companies can quickly and easily install these solutions to make use of rooms. This opens opportunities for unused spaces which are otherwise too small or lack the setup for a traditional video conferencing system.  At a time when every penny counts Huddle Rooms are the perfect opportunity for businesses to maximise their collaborative space.”

Anne Marie Ginn – Head of Video Collaboration EMEA for Logitech

Logitech’s Anne Marie Ginn feels that the video conferencing market is growing increasingly crowded, which means that consolidation is on the way. Web conferencing and VCaaS players may begin to join together, which means that big players like Zoom, Google, and Microsoft will continue to drive the market. Additionally, this consolidation should mean that the shift towards affordable video conferencing should continue.

“Another technology that will have a big impact on video conferencing is artificial intelligence (AI)”

“From cancelling out distracting noises and automated meeting transcripts through to using human recognition to optimise meeting performance, AI is changing the way we collaborate”

“This, coupled with the wider adoption of collaboration applications, will result in more seamless video conferencing, both from a software and hardware perspective.”

Bobby Beckmann – Chief Technology Officer of Lifesize

bobby beckmann

Bobby Beckmann

Bobby Beckmann noted that video conferencing is becoming increasingly “mainstream.” However, there are still users that are struggling with frustration and time-wasted because they need to navigate a jumble of dongles, wires, and cables typically found in the conference room.

“At a time when customers are demanding simplicity and ease-of-use, there is a tremendous opportunity for new content-sharing technologies that can streamline this process. Whether these technologies are built into conferencing solutions or offered as a separate integration, organisations are actively searching for solutions that simplify the user experience and allow for new technology solutions to be easily deployed in meeting rooms.”

Richard Buckley – European Leader of Pre-Sales Solution Engineering for Avaya

According to Avaya, employees within larger organisations will potentially use multiple meeting room solutions going forward. This will lead to an increasing demand for solutions that play well together. Avaya’s tools are designed to work regardless of the platform you plug them into.

“Video conferencing and collaboration came together quite a few years ago, and the current evolution we are seeing is that teaming is becoming a key part of the solution. Whether that be formal project teams or informal community of practice. When it comes to our teaming platform, Equinox Spaces, we make sure it enables you to share information, data, project documents and the like. However, you can also get into your business process or workflows from within the collaboration environment. Such as by integrating with Slack, for example, therefore allowing the collaboration environment to be an entry point into the actions and outcomes.”

Avaya also sees a rising demand in the connections between collaboration and CX platforms going forward.

Paul Scholey – VP of International Sales for BlueJeans

BlueJeans believes that the changing technology of the marketplace will lead to a complete transformation in the technology used for video conferencing. Where once, vendors had to ship the talent to the work (the office), they can now ship the work solutions to the talent. Paul explains that this means that it’s possible to employ the best and brightest people, regardless of their location.

“Anyone can collaborate now via the cloud, using VoIP, messaging, video meetings and more.”

“Going forward, Huddle rooms and pop-up meeting areas will continue to become favoured over boardroom-style meetings in this new work environment.”

What Are Your Predictions for 2019/2020?

Finally, we asked our video conferencing leaders to share their thoughts on how the changing industry will affect us in this year and the next. We’re set for another transformational year in the communication and collaboration industry. There’s no doubt that video conferencing and collaboration tech will have significant parts to play in the way that the office environment continues to transform.

Daniel Boddington – Systems Engineer for StarLeaf

Daniel Boddington

Daniel Boddington

According to Daniel Boddington, more enterprises will begin to embrace unified video, voice and messaging in the years to come. This combination of tools will allow employees to work more flexibly in an always-on office environment. The aim will be to empower employees to work more efficiently to meet goals while achieving greater work-life balance.

“The use of intuitively intelligent solutions helps organisations seamlessly collaborate through superior video conferencing, instant messaging, and reliable meeting room systems. The ability to save money on travel, reduce location-based overheads, and communicate seamlessly anywhere and on any device is a great appeal for enterprises looking to drive greater agility and cost efficiency across their operations.”

The StarLeaf team also sees a growing need for interoperability in a time where legacy systems and outdated communications continue to inhibit business growth. Leaders will need intelligent, intuitive and integrated solutions going forward.

Mark Strassman – SVP and GM of Communications and Collaboration for LogMeIn

LogMeIn and Mark Strassman believe that video is the new “dial-tone.” According to Strassman, video conferencing will begin to replace audio calls as the standard for collaboration. Video, after all, is the only way to bring nuances like facial expression and hand gestures into a conversation when people aren’t in a room together.

“As video conferencing meetings continue to grow in popularity, content-sharing capabilities will also become especially important for replicating the feel of in-person. Moreover, content-sharing capabilities will move beyond simple screen-sharing or live document editing to allow remote users to interact with multidimensional live content.”

Additionally, flexible workplace policies are likely to become more essential for employees. Remote conferring technology will be necessary to help flexible workers to balance responsibilities and projects.

Anne Marie Ginn – Head of Video Collaboration EMEA for Logitech

Anne Marie Ginn suggests that as video conferencing becomes “more mainstream,” the focus on experience will grow. Conferencing devices capable of delivering intuitive solutions will be increasingly important. Plug and play devices that are software-agnostic are likely to lead the way.

“Another key trend will be the wider integration of more advanced video conferencing features that leverage machine learning to recognise the human form in the meeting room to automatically frame participants. This technology can also be used to zone in on speaker voices using powerful beam-forming microphones and advanced audio technologies.”

However, Anne also feels that user experience will be enhanced using AI in video conferencing. With AI, video will be able to improve productivity, whether through the automatic sharing of meeting notes, or the automated scheduling of future conferences.

Bobby Beckmann – Chief Technology Officer of Lifesize

According to Bobby Beckmann, the CTO of Lifesize, 4K video will continue to explode in the next year or two. Although high-quality video has been growing significantly in the consumer market, enterprise adoption has been limited up until recently.

Additionally, Lifesize believes that intelligent cameras will make their way into the workplace as the “eyes of the office.” They will assist with everything from data collection, to providing context for meeting progress.

“For example, in larger meetings, multiple cameras will allow machine vision to analyse the mood of the room to determine if attendees are engaged and if the conversation is free-flowing. With intelligent analysis, the cameras will then be able to provide useful data to help meeting facilitators improve productivity and collaboration.”

Richard Buckley – European Leader of Pre-Sales Solution Engineering for Avaya

In Avaya’s opinion, the future of video conferencing and collaboration is in delivering high-quality experiences for users. They believe that poor-quality peripheral tech can harm the meeting experience, particularly when it comes to mobile conferencing. This means that speakers and high-quality headsets can’t be ignored.

“The key summary here really is that the moment you offer up the rich functionality and features through open APIs to consumer and corporate applications, you are no longer constrained, and this represents the groundswell of trends we are seeing, it reflects the relentless march from the monolithic traditional architecture into cloud-native micro-service-oriented architectures.”

Paul Scholey – VP of International Sales for BlueJeans

For BlueJeans, the future rests on several trends, including open-plan offices, and AI in the workplace that will continue to grow with the use of digital/virtual assistants. For instance, the BlueJeans Eva product can automate the tasks that are necessary before and after the meeting. What’s more, research suggest that younger employees demand more flexibility when choosing a workplace. This indicates that collaboration tools like live video will become increasingly essential.

With the amount of work produced each hour reducing, more businesses will be turning towards collaborative technologies to increase their productivity. “Recently reported is a loneliness epidemic across the UK, so HR teams are beginning to advocate video conferencing to help employees feel less lonely and more connected, ultimately leading them to be happier and more productive in the workspace.”

 

 

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