Video Conferencing. You work it out. Is a failed strategy

Something odd is happening in the UC (Unified Communications) and Video Conferencing world.

All the new players in UC (Unified Communications), VC (Video Conferencing) and WCC (Workstream Communications and Collaboration) don’t talk about calling someone up on their solution, partly because they can’t, but mainly because it seems the days of actually calling people up directly are going away.

The days of conference ID numbers and direct dialing appear to be numbered. Of course millions of people do dial directly today but all the new players are thinking differently, and the users seem to like it. Users are sick of the email mountain, documents and IM’s scattered and unorganised and the total lack of a coherent workflow.

Email, Voice and Fax will always be with us

Email and Voice aren’t going away, probably ever, but the way they are used is changing. Instead of randomly dialing people, or emailing the world, messaging is replacing both group emails, and the ringing phone. Checking someone is available and then meeting them in a virtual room is, for many, becoming a more comfortable workflow. Oh and Fax really  is dead, I was kidding earlier. Please please please let fax be dead.

Solve a problem

The UC world has solved business problems, but there’s plenty more work for them to do. I think them building more WCC type solutions will help, and many of them are on the right path. Plenty of the UC players are represented in this piece on Talkingpointz. However it’s also glaringly obvious that a bunch of Video players are not on that list.

Partners

For players in the VC space, partnering with players who actually solve a business problem is going to be the key. So tie ups like Blue Jeans Networks has with Salesforce.com, Zoom.us has with SlackMitel and Vidyo and of course the Cisco juggernaut with Spark makes plenty of compelling reasons for clients to look at the technology afresh. 

No one dies if you don’t have video

Increasingly as clients look to suppliers to solve their business problems they are going to look at the core of the problem. Organising teams with solutions likeSlack,SparkCircuit and Biba  is compelling. Adding video to that is great, but it is not near the top criteria for clients. But what I don’t see happening is clients buying a stand alone Video Conferencing product.

Buying a stand alone video conferencing product is like buying a car engine without the car. It doesn’t matter how good it is, if it simply sits on your driveway revving away it’s useless. Clients want to go places, not marvel at the gleaming engine.

As Video becomes simply an application how it integrates becomes more important than the video experience.

Ask awkward questions

I think clients should ask tough questions of suppliers who don’t integrate their offerings with business workflow solutions, or as a minimum don’t have the hooks to empower users to put numerous products together to solve their own business problems.

I don’t care what colour his tie is !!!!

Gone are the days of quality of video calls being the most important factor. Quality Software solutions in huddle rooms (with good quality low cost cameras), desktops and mobile devices is where the action is today. Users are demanding suppliers actually help them solve business problems, not just supply a pretty image.

New World order

The new players including BibaSlackSparkInteractive IntelligenceChatter,Jive and an ocean of others are turning UC and VC into applications within a greater whole. That whole being a new way for groups to work together.

Voice is now, and will always be a compelling proposition. I find it ironic that Video is likely to become compelling once it has morphed from the market it is today to one in which it is part of a greater whole.

That bodes very badly for those players who don’t have a UC or WCC play.