The UCC market has exploded but, not just because of the obvious. But, let's start with the obvious — the use of soft-codec-based videoconferencing system from companies like Zoom, Microsoft (Teams), Google (Hangouts Meet), Cisco (Webex) and Lifesize have seen exponential growth. It's not even comparable to anything we've even seen in AV ever. It's like, all-of-a-sudden the world has found videoconferencing. But, that’s not true — I'll come back to that point in a moment so hold that thought…
But, the less obvious is that we've finally labeled an entire segment of the AV market and repackaged it as UCC (unified communications and collaboration). Back in 2013, the segment of the AV market that was flocking to the all-new Barco ClickShare wasn’t called UCC — it was called the meeting room. Then came Crestron AirMedia, Extron ShareLink, Kramer VIA, Mersive, Lumens TapShare, Vivitek's NovoConnect and let's not forget about those rooms adding Apple's AppleTVs for wireless presentation capability. None of that, from 2013-2017 was branded UCC. But now it is.
And, what about the collaboration board? Back when Sharp debuted the AQUOS BOARD it was called an interactive whiteboard — go look at those original flyers. And so was the InFocus Mondopad. Back in 2018, at the ISE show to be exact, nearly 10 new companies debuted interactive panels and we (rAVe) needed a category to tag their videos so we coined the term "collaboration board" on our website — it was just supposed to be a way to tag all the stories. Now it, too, is being tracked as part of the UCC market.
So here we are in mid-2019. And, even with all three of these factors considered, we are on the cusp of another record-breaking year(s) — and all because of something that hasn’t even been mentioned yet, by nearly anyone in the UCC market. What is is? UCB-C. I will write more about this later in the year as — for now, nearly all my writing will be dominated by the upcoming AV-Megashow called InfoComm — but the USB-C connector is the ultimate growth catalyst for the UCC market. I can’t tell you, yet, exactly how, but remember, USB-C carries all sorts of bi-directional communications, control, network, power (and it can carry a lot of it), audio and VIDEO — that last part should not be ignored. In fact, the new USB-C 3.2 specification includes DisplayPort and HDMI but it also accommodates up to 20 Gbps (2.5 GB/s) data rate over 2 lanes using 128b/132b encoding — technically, this is called SuperSpeed USB 20 Gbps (like I said, I will write more about this later).
Point is, USB-C will be the ultimate simplifier of every UCC room — no matter the application. All of them can, literally, be plug-and-play. So, if you think the UCC market is growing fast now, just wait until the next generation of USB-C based communications and collaborations gear debuts!
Oh, and the idea that the world just found videoconferencing isn’t the least bit true. Thanks to consumer apps like Snapchat, Facebook’s Messenger, Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s teen-facing Hangouts, the path to simplicity had been carved long ago — just ask your kids. And, those aging Millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z are the very reason Zoom blew-by those hard-codec-based systems using a simple is better than perfect approach to videoconferencing.
Speaking of InfoComm, if you want to go FOR FREE, I have a deal for you. Simply go here and when they ask you for your promo (or registration) code, enter RAVE and you’ll get your badge for free — saving you $299. And, bring your proof or registration to our booth and we’ll give you a free rAVe t-shirt, too!