Excerpts of this article originally appeared on the website AVNation.tv. The writer, Llanor Alleyne is Editor-in-Chief of AVNation.tv. Read the full article “How videoconferencing and UCC tools have permanently redefined the workspace” here.
For integrators like Matt Slack, president of AV Solutions — who observes that popular videoconferencing and unified communications (UC) tools have seen dramatic improvement in addressing quality, bugs and adding new features to accommodate demand and security concerns — a key issue is “that there are many different user and buyer groups with different needs, motivations and budgets. Over time, platforms will arise, divide, and adjust to follow the demand of particular crowds. For instance, Microsoft Teams already had a growing audience (business organizations with existing Microsoft Licensing in place). I don’t believe that will shift very much. On the other hand, Zoom has received massive use by end-users, families, and social groups because of its accessibility. Will Zoom shift to cater to this market? Will they focus on business and enterprise organizations? Will they do both?”
The UCC and video conferencing convergence
There has been a lot of talk in the AV integration business about deeper convergence between videoconferencing and UCC. The pandemic and the subsequent demand for both streams to more efficiently come together has been accelerated, but significant challenges remain even as big players in the channel say things are on track for greater interplay.
“While demand may continue to drive development, there are substantial infrastructure and incentive challenges that will keep some level of VC/UCC more divided than the world would like to see,” Slack says. “For instance, both Zoom and Teams are on non-standard codecs making integration between existing enterprise platforms difficult, costly, and in a lot of cases, impossible. ‘Solutions’ exist for this, but they aren’t cheap because they have to continually evolve to stay in sync with development on a single platform. Furthermore, most of the solutions are priced for businesses and offered in ‘per connection’ or ‘per instance’ formats. Both attributes severely hinder the level of cross-platform communication necessary for further integration of VC/UC that would quickly be welcomed and adopted by organizations of all types.”
Slack believes that, ultimately, consumer product channels will adapt to bring true VC/UCC interaction to end users for free, while enterprise VC/UCC will remain fragmented until the major platforms standardize to allow for low-cost ubiquitous cross-platform connections.
“For the portions of companies that are outward facing like business development or client services, it becomes more complicated because those groups need compatibility, which is largely defunct between SIP/H.323, Zoom, Teams and WebX,” Slack explains. “The compatibility that does exist between portions of these services, including Pexip, is costly with a lot of ‘rules’ about what can or can’t be done. This poses a significant blockade to further market adoption. At its core, it is the non-standardization which leads to high development and maintenance costs and complexity.”