You don't need a $20,000 computer to collaborate on a Word doc anymore. Microsoft's Project Rigel will bring a Skype Meeting experience to any meeting room with a display or projector.
Previously the videoconferencing collaboration technology was only available to users of Microsoft Surface Hub, a large screen computer ranging in price from $9,000 to $22,000.
If you're not familiar with how Surface Hub works or what collaboration with it may look like, here's a video.
Surface Hub married document collaboration, whiteboarding and video conferencing into a single system with the obvious drawback of the initial hardware investment. With wide ranging enterprise implications for AD&D pros, Project Rigel will:
Democratize the technology. Project Rigel lowers the barrier to entry to any meeting room with a display or projector.
Force Windows 10 upgrades. Rigel will only work on machines running Windows 10 so for enterprises that are holding back, this could be the push needed.
Make Office a stronger application for collaboration. Google's suite of productivity apps led the charge in collaboration, making it free and easy co-edit documents, spreadsheets and slideshows. With this announcement, Microsoft could recapture lost market share.
Push hardware investments in Polycom and Logitech. The two VC companies partnered with Microsoft and certified elements of their portfolios to work with Project Rigel. These include the Polycom RealPresence Trio and CX5100 and Logitech ConferenceCam Connect, ConferenceCam GROUP and PTZ Pro Camera.
China's smartphone juggernaut is using technology from Vidyo to bring multi-point video conferencing to the masses. In the age of the customer, AD&D pros need to take note because mobile is often the driver for business transformation.
Xiaomi (pronounced shaow-me) is a device maker that up until recently has been driving huge sales, growing 227% in 2014. That number drastically shrank in 2015 so it appears that video conferencing is part of a differentiation strategy.
The calling app, Mi Video (seen left) will be pre-installed on the company's new flagship device, the Mi 5, but it's also available for free on iOS and Android devices. The difference with Mi Video is that it lets consumers do multi-point video conferencing. Every other consumer VC service only allows for point-to-point conversations on mobile. For example, with Apple's Facetime you can only videochat with one other person.
For AD&D pros there are a few important points to note:
Forrester research encourages organizations to use tools like video conferencing to enhance day-to-day interactions. There is more value than just cutting travel expenses.
For those of us who following the collaboration software space, video in business has been a hot topic: We have seen year-over-year growth in videoconferencing implementations, a majority of businesses are interested in or implementing video streaming technology, and the emergence of vendors offering "YouTube for the enterprise" services that allow information workers to create and share business-related videos. What's driving all of this interest in video? From a business leader perspective, you could argue that video enables more efficient and effective communication and collaboration for increasingly distributed workforces. For rank-and-file information workers, exposure to consumer services like Skype, Facetime (the video chat capability on Apple's iPhone) and YouTube have made them comfortable with the idea of video communications, which brings me to the subject of this blog post: how is desktop videoconferencing -- communications via a video unit on the desk like a Webcam -- being adopted by businesspeople?
In our most recent survey of information workers (those who use a computer to do their job), we find that while 29% of workers use videoconferencing technology, only 15% have access to desktop video technology. The bulk of those using this tool are not the rank-and-file, but the managers and executives who have historically been the users of videoconferencing services. Considering the increasing acceptance of this more personal form of video in the consumer realm, these light adoption numbers raise the question about how this technology can spread throughout businesses. I'm currently working on a report on this very topic and I'm interested in hearing from you. Has desktop videoconferencing found its way into your business? If so, who led the charge and what was the rationale? If not, what is hindering implementation and adoption?