From the mid-1920s to the 2000s, enterprise video conferencing has come a long way. In 2013, Wainhouse Research asked people who used enterprise video conferencing on a regular basis to cite its benefits. They said that these are:

  • Increased productivity (94%)

  • Reduced travel expenses (87%)

  • Faster decision making and high-impact communication (85%)

Wainhouse forecasts that the enterprise video conferencing market will grow by roughly 25 per cent over the next few years, reaching $6.87 billion by 2017.

The beginning of enterprise video conferencing

The first video calls were made in the mid-1920s (no kidding!) in the United States, inside AT&T’s laboratories. Limited public tests were also undertaken. At that time , the equipment necessary to make a choppy video call took up an entire room and was extremely expensive. Decades of research went into reducing the size of the hardware necessary to make video calls. This was done in the hope of producing a consumer product that would replace the telephone.

In the mid-1980s, the development of ISDN technology made it possible to send voice, video, and data over traditional phone lines. Researchers continued to improve video compression, reducing the size of the live information packets travelling over the network.

Between 1992 and 1995, researchers at Cornell University in the United States, made several breakthroughs in Internet-based video conferencing and advancement in video compression standards. By the early 2000s, relatively high-quality and free broadband video conferencing was available.

We have come a long way since those early days. Wainhouse estimates that the price of dedicated video conferencing software will fall 66.2 percent by 2017, and the price of executive desktop video units will fall 26.1 percent. Also, the price of video-enabled office phones will fall by 23.5 percent.

Video conferencing products
Video conferencing products

The growth of enterprise video conferencing

This reduced price will result in the explosive growth of enterprise video conferencing. Traditional enterprise video conferencing units are already installed in more than 3 million conference rooms worldwide. These room-based systems are connecting to mobile and desktop video systems, extending the reach and value of this solution and increasing further adoption.

However, there’s more in store for those who use enterprise video conferencing. Currently, the trend is that video is so integrated into our communication tools that it feels seamless. Emails, calendars, instant messages, document sharing, desktop sharing, and video calls are increasingly, options on a unified communications dashboard that we can use when appropriate. This dashboard can also live on your smartphone, desktop, tablet, or desk phone.

Wainhouse believes that video-enabled unified communication software will outpace the rest of the enterprise video market in year-on-year growth. They forecast that the industry sold $24 million worth of unified communication software in 2013. They expect this segment to grow to $287 million by 2017.

Keeping this in mind, enterprise video providers are delivering solutions that are easier to use, adopting user interface cues from consumer video conferencing products. On the other hand, consumer video companies are attempting to move upstream, by adopting work features that enterprise customers would be willing to pay for.

This trend will continue, resulting in seamless, high-quality, and low-cost video conferencing solutions. The cultural barriers around video are disintegrating and millions of workers are integrating enterprise video conferencing tools into their workflow. This means they are travelling less, collaborating more, and making decisions faster. This will result in almost ubiquitious video, which will be an integral part of our everyday interactions.

So, now you know more about the evolution of enterprise video conferencing. With this technology headed for both universal adoption and integration with unified communication, the sky is the limit. Happy communicating!

For more information on setting up video conferencing for your home or business, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

(Images courtesy: www.polycom.co.in)

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