It is an interesting time. We see new technologies emerging everywhere that allow us to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations.
The cost of collaboration technology has dropped considerably. Both endpoints and infrastructure are accessible and priced to reach a wider audience. Remembering back to the late ’90s and early 2000s at TANDBERG, the cost of an endpoint could break your entire IT budget (a T8000 in 2001 was 44k USD). Today a Microsoft Teams Room system costs a fraction of those systems. This allows more people to enjoy the “meeting room video experience”.
Infrastructure to enable the endpoint magic is now readily available in several deployment models. A multitude of conferencing products and services are available to address your security, quality, and scalability needs.
"The Microsoft Teams room introduces an interesting problem, due to the fact that it’s a Windows 10 computer that requires proper care and updates"
With the increase of video conferencing-enabled meeting rooms, the demand for maintenance and management goes up. The Microsoft Teams room introduces an interesting problem, due to the fact that it’s a Windows 10 computer that requires proper care and updates - a traditional task performed by internal IT. However, as a meeting room is equipped with peripherals like microphones, screens, and speakers – maintenance and management should be performed by the video specialist or a partner. In the “old-school” world, video management and computer management were not the same things, so separating them was an easy task, but now they are blending together.
Visual collaboration has slowly migrated from an expensive white-glove experience for the few, to an essential tool for the masses. To succeed long-term, the platforms and services need to provide the scalability and robustness needed to confidently intertwine with a user’s way of working. Users are seeking tools that allow them to dictate usage patterns. These tools need to be more than a bridge to get over a pandemic situation but foundational elements of how people communicate. Tools such as Slack, Teams, Zoom, etc. have created a groundswell of new users. Ultimately, the user’s workflow dictated by their office calendar should be the invisible hand that drives the communication platform. Intelligence built into tools that recognize, inform, and adapt to a user’s business needs and office environment (wherever that office may be) is one of the biggest trends emerging from the post-pandemic workplace.
Democratizing technology and providing tools that help organizations deliver video collaboration technology simply and without barriers is more important than ever. I believe the future will need solutions that automate and intelligently help both the admin in charge of the room as well as the users out there. The video collaboration party has been 25 years in the making. Let’s make sure our new guests benefit from those who have been here for a while. We’ll continue to focus on the user, their experience as well as the people providing and supporting the technology.
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