September 22, 2010

2010 Next Generation

  • A Special Report by the Webtorials Editorial/Analyst Division
The key findings of this report include:
  • Videoconferencing is already a key part of intra-company collaboration
  • Scheduled conferences with special conference rooms are most common
  • Significant growth is seen for ad hoc and inter-company conferencing
  • Scheduled conferences both present challenges and are fairly well saturated
  • Major drivers include increased productivity as well as "hard" financial savings
  • The introduction of easy-to-use desktop videoconferencing will be a major driver for achieving goals and overcoming current obstacles.
  • Major objections are met by emerging technologies and services
This independent report was commissioned by Avaya and was made possible due to Avaya's support of the project.

Download Report or Go To Comments/Discussion
(Webtorials registration required for downloads. Click here if you forgot your username/password.)


Many of us first heard about "picturephones" in conjunction with the 1964 World's Fair (ulp...) almost 50 years ago. Could it be that we're finally ready for video conferencing and collaboration to go prime time?

That's what we found in a survey conducted within the past month. While teleconferencing and telepresence have been growing significantly over the past several years with each generation of technology making significant advances, it seems that we are finally poised for widespread use within the corporate network as the major hurdles (special equipment, cost, poor quality for desktop video, etc.) are overcome and a new round of equipment makes high definition, easy-to-use, desktop conferencing a major driver in both enhancing interpersonal communications and containing costs - especially for intra-company meetings.

The downloadable report consists of a set of handouts in PowerPoint. And while we're all pretty adept at making our own interpretations, it's sometimes useful to dig a bit more deeply into some of the findings.

Leslie Barteaux and I collaborated on the analysis of this data, so we're adding some comments concerning specific slides.

We invite you both to "reply" to our comments and/or to add your own comments and observations.

So I'll start out by observing that room-based conferencing is already widespread. When asked, "What type of video conferencing system/applications does your organization use? (Please check all that apply.)," more than 75% have “Dedicated system in a conference room.” (We're assuming that this means a traditional SD-quality system)

The high percentage may be somewhat skewed by the targeted panel, but there is still “widespread” use, and this level of current penetration must be considered when looking at the still-healthy growth.

(See slide 4)

Also, it's important to note that (as shown in slide 6), while 30% of the respondents think that more than half of their employees could find significant advantages from UC and collaboration currently, this more than doubles (60%) within the next two years.

It's also important to remember that there are employees who are not “knowledge workers” (e.g. manufacturing), so this would tend to skew the numbers down in some instances.

Slide #8 also has some particularly interesting information.

Both current and anticipated use in two years were surveyed - for both internal and external scheduled and unscheduled video conferences. Those are a lot of parameters.

What we found was that scheduled conferences internal to the company is already pretty well saturated, with about 75% usage now and in the future. (Remember that our target panel was heavily into videoconferencing.)

We also found that:
- There is a significant move from scheduled to ad hoc/on-demand conferencing
- Both scheduled and unscheduled external meetings show significant growth

Many of the capabilities discussed in this research are now being delivered by Avaya with the new "Flare" (formerly unofficially a.k.a. "Mojo") product. The announcement just ended. I'll post the replay URL as soon as it's available. (Yes, I actually watched the entire video. Very interesting.)

You may click here to access the announcement page at Avaya's site.

The announcement video is now available at the URL above.

We've all been seeing the hockey stick projected user curves (slide 7) for a long time. But while communications has been getting easier and easier, videoconferencing has always had hurdles inhibiting use. Slide 9 lists technical hurdles, but I think the more compelling story is on Slide 17. There you've asked for 'productivity impact'. Yet to me it's telling in that it reveals the importance of a compelling trivially easy User Experience. The simple idea of being able to set up a conference without having to look up codes and passwords is one of the greatest inhibitors of every day use. Eliminating those simple hurdles and having a simple compelling ubiquitous solution are the keys to getting that hockey stick projection to reality.

I have to admit that I was VERY impressed by the user interface. That's something that you really get a feel for in the second half of the announcement video.

I also loved the fact that the demo was amazingly "real," especially with the presenter both slipping back to "Mojo" and the technical glitch with the speakerphone.

I'm pretty sure that I noticed in the text Q&A during the session that the Flare uses the Android OS. Assuming I'm correct on that, GREAT move. Lots of apps available, and also makes Droid users comfortable immediately.

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