Meet me in the cloud

Posted on Jan 12 2018 - 4:40pm by Editorial Content
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Adam Feakins, head of sales and operations at Videonations, discusses developments in video conferencing and explains why collaboration is now easier and more affordable than ever

Video conferencing

Video conferencing

The global video conferencing market was valued at $4.98 billion in 2017 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2017-2025*, driven by changing work styles and a paradigm shift to cloud-based solutions.

As a specialist in AV and video conferencing, Videonations has firsthand experience of this growth and the changing work culture that underpins it, as Adam Feakins explains.

“In the last three, maybe five, years the video world has moved very much from the traditional meeting room into huddle spaces, desktop and mobile. It’s moved with the times, with the frequent use of tablets and phones for video calls,” he said.

Feakins adds that the shift towards the cloud is also motivated by the need for more flexible and cost-effective solutions, especially amongst smaller businesses that in the past may have been put off by the perceived large upfront cost of on-premise solutions.

“The latest solutions are not so reliant on expensive hardware and most of the cloud offerings have an entry-level offering for small businesses, so realistically there should no longer be any financial barriers to using video,” he said.

This is especially so now that cloud solutions can be bought on a monthly subscription.

“Traditionally, video has been bought from a Capex budget,” said Feakins. “But we are now seeing a move to an Opex model, where people expect to consume it in the same way that they would traditional conference calling i.e. by a monthly rental. There’s a lot more interest in a monthly structure these days and I expect that to continue.”

Already, the majority of enquiries Videonations receives are for cloud-based video conferencing, but the company also caters for organisations with more traditional requirements.

“We offer a host of cloud-based solutions, including our own services and those from manufacturers like Lifesize and StarLeaf. But because not everyone is ready to move to the cloud, we also offer more traditional solutions from the likes of Polycom, Cisco and Avaya,” explained Feakins.

Video conferencing

Video conferencing

The need for interoperability

Meanwhile, there continue to be developments in technology, such as the roll-out of 4K video conferencing, which Feakins expects manufacturers to start offering next year, and the increased adoption of Skype for Business, which is leading manufacturers to develop video solutions compatible with the platform.

Feakins argues that interoperability is absolutely essential and a key consideration for businesses looking to invest in a video conferencing solution.

“Some businesses that we come across are effectively putting themselves on a technology island by going for a non-standard, proprietary solution,” he said. “People get sold on the idea that that’s great and will also buy them because they’re quite often cheaper, but the minute they need to speak to a third party using another system they can stumble across problems.”

Feakins advises businesses to avoid this problem by opting for solutions from suppliers like Avaya, Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize and StarLeaf. “They are the ones that we carry because all of them work on open standards and let you speak to any other platform,” he said.

These solutions tend also to have apps that enable people to make video calls using a smartphone, though Feakins believes that for the time being, laptops and PCs are a more appropriate solution for business users. “I don’t know many people who will prop their phone up and use it in a business video call,” he said.

In this context, he expects Web-RTC, which allows users to make video calls from a browser, to become ever more popular. “Web-RTC is opening up the video calling capability to a whole new audience who have locked down laptops or don’t have the processing power to do a proper video call. I think more and more we will see Web-RTC as the de facto way to make a video call,” he said.

To find out more about Videonations and its video conferencing systems & audio visual solutions and services, please visit

www.videonations.co.uk

Case study: Great Places Housing Group

Great Places Housing Group turned to Videonations to update its video conferencing system. The housing association required a system that would improve communications between different office locations and allow remote workers to collaborate with colleagues whilst working from home or on the move.

Videonations recommended a cloud-based solution which enables users to meet anyone on any other standards-based video or software system, share screens and hold multiparty conferences.

The system included software for smartphones, tablets and laptops.

* Global Video Conferencing Market Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, Competitive Strategies and Forecasts, 2017 – 2025 report, Research and Markets.

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