The latest trends in the video conferencing and collaboration industry see Skype for Business transition to Teams and the continued rise of huddle rooms. Learn more from the Lifesize channel partner experts.

As we gear up for our first-ever Connect: Lifesize Global Partner Summit in a couple of weeks, we thought it’d be an opportune moment to tap some of the brightest and most experienced collaboration technology-focused minds in our partner ecosystem to get their latest takes on the trajectory for our shared industry and where they see business opportunities being driven by today’s trends. Here’s a sampling of what we heard:

“The race to enable collaboration and productivity in the modern workplace has reached an apex, and resellers and integrators have a vast range of enterprise chat, video, telephony/PBX and other UC technologies to evaluate. Meanwhile, they’re still feeling the crunch on the margins as they outfit organizations to meet collaboration requirements, so they need technology partners that are willing to provide flexible channel and agency models, product interoperability and innovation, truly global support, and revenue-sharing from top to bottom, including hardware systems, SaaS subscriptions, integrations and subscription renewals.” — Tim Maloney, SVP of Worldwide Channels, Lifesize

“While we have seen steady interest from customers in video conferencing over the last decade, there has been tremendous growth in team-based work, which has in turn fueled further interest in personal and huddle space video. We have seen rapid adoption of these technologies because systems are now simpler to use, easier to schedule and rich with collaborative features like wireless presentation sharing and 4K video. As the cost of these video conferencing systems decreases, it is becoming even more cost effective to deploy video everywhere and therefore see the return on investment at a faster rate.” — Nathan Coutinho, Director of Digital Workspace Practice, CDW

“In today’s modern workplace, collaboration is essential to ensuring that the best customer experience is delivered. Employees need to work together within their organization as well as externally with vendors, partners and customers. When people work together rather than individually, they come up with a better work product. However, with many employees working remotely, it can sometimes be difficult to have productive interactions. Solutions and tools that allow workers to utilize video and audio conferencing, share screens, chat in real time and collaborate on documents can be game changers for an organization. Video conferencing, in particular, substantially increases engagement as participants can make eye contact while also reading facial expressions and body language. While these solutions have existed for many years, the key is getting teams to use them consistently and productively. To that end, solutions need to be simple to deploy and use.” — Vince Piccolomini, SVP of Operations and Alliances, Jenne Inc.

“Over the next three years, more than 100 million knowledge workers will shift from legacy instant messaging tools like Jabber and Skype for Business to modern team collaboration like Slack and Microsoft Teams. In fact, 57% suggest less Skype for Business usage in the next two years, in favor of team collaboration apps. Establishing best practices for workplace communication and educating workers on how to use enterprise messaging tools effectively has never been more important. The era of a one-size-fits-all approach to enterprise IT is over; it’s a best-of-breed world now. Top IT decision makers recognize that giving employees freedom to choose their own tools — and enabling integration and interoperability between all of those tools — results in more productive employees, lower IT costs and better business outcomes.” — Tom Hadfield, CEO, Mio

“Driven by a combination of factors, including an evolving and mobile workplace, virtual ‘anywhere workers’ who are increasingly tech-savvy millennials and the dramatic growth and adoption of cloud services, the unified communication and collaboration market is indeed becoming more unified and collaborative. The result is a collaboration market that is expected to nearly double in size to close to $60 billion in the next five years, including a global video collaboration segment that will target as many as 45 million conference rooms over the next seven years. A pivotal focus of video collaboration is the huddle room, which is a part of digital transformation for many companies as they transition towards smaller, more flexible workspaces with lower associated costs. Market trends indicate that there are 32.4 million huddle rooms worldwide with less than 5% currently video-enabled, but spending on video conferencing for huddle rooms is expected to imminently boom.” — TJ Trojan, SVP of UC and Collaboration, SYNNEX Corporation

If you’re planning to join us for Connect, you’ll undoubtedly run into many of these folks along with scores of other channel-minded thought leaders. We can’t wait to hear more from them (and you!) about feedback they’re gleaning from customers, what’s hot in the UC and collaboration market and how we can be better partners in the months and years ahead.