2014: Unified Communications and Collaboration Further Redefined

The “Disruptors” Enter the Market

market disruption

In 2013, executives, engineers, salespeople and others who came from well-known industry videoconferencing manufacturers entered the market and continued to build upon a newly growing landscape of communications innovation through the implementation of advanced technologies – cloud computing and virtual machine (VM). Certain companies had already existed in this space for several years, however it was 2013 where these current trends had truly begun to take shape. Here is a PC World article from December 2012 about the Top videoconferencing services at the time.

The disruptive communications space has continued to embody an innovation mindset where solutions providers tirelessly work on engineering strategic upgrades and enhancements to provide business and education markets with the proper tools to communicate and collaborate at the highest levels. Marketing departments work hard to provide numerous case studies and other documentation, as well as conducting high level social media campaigns. The sales effort becomes highly motivated as the many solutions providers vie for the business where solutions partner and end user strategies and synergies may now be at a point of focus than has ever been before.

Continuous Innovation through research and development as well as attention to strategic marketing has really become most pertinent in terms of the exponential growth of this market to date. Add to this Microsoft Lync integration strategy and soon the conversion to Skype for Business and you have what looks to be the most robust communication and collaboration market that has ever been seen in the audio visual industry, with no end in sight.

InfoComm 2014 – AV/IT and UCC

In 2013 I attended InfoComm in Orlando, the first show I had attended after a five-year lull. Honestly, if you asked me after the show about my thoughts on developments in the UCC market, I would have answered with just one word — phenomenal. I walked around the show not even aware of some of the new realm companies that had already existed in it (like Vidyo and Blue Jeans for example), just taking in everything in front of me as I went. Seeing companies such as Blue Jeans, Vidyo, Pexip, Acano (even Lifesize with their LRS strategy at the time) and more, I was stunned by all that I saw and just how unique it all was to me. There are of course those who had seen the transition happening as it went, for me it was one of the most eye opening experiences I had had in a long time.

In Las Vegas this year, my going to the show was no longer out of curiosity, but more about seeing the people I had gotten to know over a year’s period of time, catching up and getting to know them more in person and seeing first hand the enhancements that I had been made aware were coming (as well as those I wasn’t yet aware of). I even made it a point to write a top ten list from the show. To say that the experience at this year’s InfoComm was highly significant is an understatement, it was a close-up view at just how far this market has come in a year – technology and people-wise.

See related  Konftel Launches Konftel Attach, a Series of Video Kits for In-Room PC-Based Systems

As you see, the discussion of AV, IT and UCC in the same almost four-minute video from InfoComm 2014 is most pertinent at this point in seeing the total landscape, as well as what’s to come at InfoComm 2015 where the Unified Communications and Collaboration market is no doubt going to show an even greater tendency toward strategic innovation as it goes.

Disruptive Forces – the Leaders and Innovators

disruptive VC

Earlier this year I created the series Disruptive Forces based on an ongoing LinkedIn conversation being conducted in a video conferencing group at the time. The group discussion centered on the newer video conferencing technologies that had entered the market and how they have affected the acquisition of well-known hardware-based installation solutions. The long-time industry standard bearers had begun to refer to these companies as disruptors and their solutions disruptive. In fact, I first noticed the term disruptive in this ongoing thread.

It came to me one day, as I had begun to write interview blogs, to write one with a person who was involved in the conversation – not a CEO, VP or director, but a social media coordinator. It was not only informative but also very insightful, and it became the impetus to producing a series of interviews involving the major players in the new disruptive space. An initial collaboration begets a series of collaborative efforts with individuals who helped to bring further understanding to the new technologies that were beginning to redefine video conferencing and collaboration as we now know it today.

The decision to do a second series interviewing some of the leaders of the industry was not a hard one to make, but just how to do it was the key. I reached out to all involved whether directly, through marketing or PR representatives and lined up a group of people who have done nothing less than help shape the collaboration environment as it exists. These individuals, along with others, have garnered the respect of many around them and have truly helped to redefine the communication and collaboration market. The following are those leaders who participated in the series:

Mark Loney, StarLeaf; Eric Yuan, Zoom; Mark Blake, Acano; Tom-Erik Lea, Videxio; Craig Malloy, Lifesize; Jan Zanetis, The Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration; Ofer Shapiro, Vidyo.

While 2014 was a year of great advancements in communication and collaboration, 2015 promises to be a continuation of such innovation and thought leadership from the solutions providers, integrators, consultants and InfoComm themselves. One component of the audiovisual business that will never again be defined in any certain way other than to be considered ever-changing.