Simon Says: Software is Eating the World

Simon Dudley, Video Evangelist, LifeSize

In this series, Simon Dudley, LifeSize’s video evangelist, provides his “two cents” about the video conferencing industry and why video calling should be as ubiquitous as a phone call.

There’s a famous story in the computing world about a senior IBM executive who stated in the 1950’s that “there is a world market for maybe five computers in the future.”

It’s quite funny how many people have scoffed at that statement over the years. I agree, how could he be so wrong? They got it wrong by four. There is, in effect, simply one computer now. You know it as the Internet. Oh sure, there’s lots of computing power in a number of different places, but now they are all effectively a single machine.

You may think I’m wrong, but consider how useless every piece of technology you have would be if it weren’t connected to the Internet? I might love my iPhone, but if you took away the Internet, I’d rather have my Nokia 2112 from ten years ago (at least the battery would last a week).

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Once you have a single computer, it makes logical sense to start running all of your applications on that computer rather than a dedicated tin somewhere off the network. Companies like pioneered this sort of thinking and have been wildly successful. VMware built the technology to get rid of dedicated hardware for each and every application, and allowed applications to live effectively anywhere. This fundamentally changed the game.

But what does all of this have to do with video? Video communications has traditionally been all about highly expensive, dedicated hardware infrastructure. But with the advent of technology such as VMware and the remorseless march of Moore’s Law, even the most complicated applications (such as recording, streaming and bridging) are now possible without hardware. Cloud-based solutions are gaining in popularity as well, proving this theory further.

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After high definition video conferencing came to the market in 2005 (a video solution people actually wanted to use), the next challenge was to make the infrastructure affordable, scalable and easily deployable.

Enter the LifeSize UVC Platform, an infrastructure solution offered in a VM-sliced manner to give customers the opportunity to massively deploy video across an entire organization, scale as you grow (not the size the hardware requires), and do it all simply and easily. Try doing that with a hardware solution.

Do you think software is eating the world? Is hardware on its way out? Let’s talk about it. Leave me a comment below.

+Simon Dudley

3 Responses to “Simon Says: Software is Eating the World”

  1. Jeff Eagan

    Couldn’t agree more. This is especially appropriate as the market expands to SMB. THe need for assetless (no hardware) solution will increase as more companies seek the benefits of video communication (along with other UC) but are unable to make the investment in ownership of these processing beasts (MCUs and GWs).

  2. Heath

    Hi Simon,

    I think you have a point, and a very good one. Software does however need to run on a piece or hardware to interface to the internet or human touch. Therefore as much as increased computing power and virtualisation are pushing the domination of software and it will continue to dominate, I have over 100 apps just on my phone, there is a line that will be determined by the law of diminishing returns and hardware wont go away.

    Until that happens, buon appetito Software.


  3. Anthony Joseph

    Well it really is so true that the so called smart devices are quite dumb the moment you take away the Internet. So it does make obvious sense to virtualize the video communications infrastructure offerings.

    I think software as a service like LifeSize Connections is what will continue to power the future and see maximum growth.

    OfficePlus LLC


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