The Consumerization of Voice and Video
By Jim Lundy
Consumerization has arrived in the realtime video and voice collaboration space (aka real time collaboration or UC&C). Consumers can do things today that are as good or nearly as good as the features offered by the high end Enterprise grade UC&C offerings.
Google has had their video based Hangouts for a while now, but the launch was obscured by the rollout of Google Circles and got lost in the noise. We expect to hear more about what Google plans to do with Hangouts sometime in the future. It also looks like Apple is going to make FaceTime, its realtime video chat service less dependent on WiFi. That means video calling for consumers will be here, as soon as June 2012.
Facebook wants to be more in touch with you and they have been quietly rolling out Facebook Video Chat. We also can’t forget that Sykpe, which is now owned by Microsoft, is still out there, with millions of users.
What does all this mean for Enterprises? Well, for starters, there will be more demand for these types of services in the enterprise. IT departments will come under pressure and users will start to go their own way if solutions are not provided.
One thing that frustrates users is reliability and scalability of some of the tools they are given to use at work. Echos during VOIP Voice sessions or problems connecting to a video chat. For consumer platforms (Facebook or even Apple iPhone users of FaceTime), this is a showstopper and there is tremendous pressure on Facebook, Google and Apple to make their consumer focused real-time collaboration services as simple and reliable as possible. As these services get rolled out, the good news is that the Enterprise grade services should also get better.
For enterprises, the time is now to have a strategy that you can execute. The answers will come from many of the corporate real time Collaboration (UC&C) providers, which include AT&T, Avaya, Citrix, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Polycom, Siemens, Saba and many others. Inspecting product roadmaps carefully and understanding SLAs for Cloud based offerings is critical. While we have chronicled the coming battles for IM, Voice and Video recently (see the Cisco Jabber versus Microsoft Lync First Cut), the battle is just getting started.
Enterprise grade UC&C tools do offer advantages. First, configured properly, they are more secure, so they are not as vulnerable to others ‘listening’ or monitoring what is being said. Many of the enterprise tools also offer the ability to record a session for later playback. While there is still a lot of room for improvement in the overall realtime collaboration session playback feature set, this type of content is very valuable and should be viewed as part of the corporate knowledge base.
This is all the reason for enterprises to pause when it comes to the use of consumer tools at work. With all the best intentions, users may be unknowingly sharing your most coveted secrets by using the wrong tools.
We’ll be discussing Consumerization of UCC, its risks and more in our Premium Research, including our Aragon Globe for Real-time Collaboration, coming in the second half of 2012.