One of the best things about the Lifesize blend of smart devices with a cloud-based service is being able to make use of emerging trends from both the hardware and software worlds without being tied to a full infrastructure refresh. Spiceworks recently revealed in their 2018 State of IT survey that, due to an increasing mobile workforce and the potential for more collaboration across oceans, budgets for cloud-based services are on the rise — a whopping 19% jump in IT budgets is predicted, to be exact! With more than 20 years of experience in product development under my belt and a team of relentless innovators constantly pushing what great video conferencing technology can be, I feel quite confident in my predictions for the future of the video conferencing industry and welcome those survey takers who decide to invest this year.
Here’s a list of a few technology trends brewing in 2018.
The conference room will become an even more critical part of conducting successful meetings with the help of highly sophisticated 4K cameras that showcase some of the best resolution the industry has seen. This technology has grown significantly in the home environment as seen in TVs and PCs, but as more millennials enter the workforce, high-quality video resolution in the office will be considered a norm.
With innovation driving the installation of smarter cameras in the workplace, these “eyes in the office” will also gather important data to help give context to how a meeting is proceeding — much like sentiment analysis used for customer service calls. Typically, there is only one camera in a conference room, and it doesn’t give a good indication of how the room truly looks or feels. For larger meetings, multiple cameras will utilize machine vision to help check the mood of the room: Are people engaged? Is there free-flowing conversation? Is someone sleeping? What is on the whiteboard? And then of course, it will provide useful data to change meetings for the better.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning
Cloud-based video conferencing solutions give us access to huge amounts of data about meeting habits. This data, aided by artificial intelligence and machine learning, could allow us to optimize the use of the platform and increase the effectiveness of meetings — many of the other trends (e.g., virtual assistants, facial recognition) are, in effect, powered by AI. At a basic level, AI could enable us to determine optimal meeting length, the ideal number of participants or the best time of the day to hold a meeting to improve productivity. Voice recognition could analyze the content of meetings, compare against other meetings in the same organization and make suggestions regarding connections among people with complementary skills or knowledge.
While not as sexy of a trend as 4K resolution or machine vision, innovation around interoperability will be (as it has always been) paramount as users continue to demand a consumer-like experience with enterprise collaboration: whatever device, wherever they are, at any time. Applications and devices will need to play nicely with one another. Because of this trend, we will see additional consolidation and partnerships in the industry, as both big and small players try to build out an all-in-one solution that meets the demands of today’s modern worker.
Technology advancements ebb and flow within different industries, but with emerging technologies like AI, 4K and machine learning, the collaboration space will be transformed in the next couple of years. Smart meetings will make the collaboration experience more engaging for users and provide IT professionals with advancements in business intelligence and data analytics that will make their role in the company even more strategic.