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Mobile Video Conferencing: the Next Great Frontier

by SUMMIT on February 17th, 2015

Using video conferencing on a laptop while driving in downtown Catagena, Columbia

Mobile video conferencing is an exciting trend which is quickly changing the way people communicate. Even a decade ago, video conferencing required a room full of gadgetry, and if you look back a few decades, you would see a studio set up was needed for virtual conferencing. Almost defying imagination, today you need nothing more than a palm-sized device, and a reliable data connection, and nothing more!

How it will Change our World

In the era of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), video conferencing is changing rapidly. One thing we know for sure is that technology will become faster, smaller, and cheaper in the future. The increasing popularity of mobile devices is an obvious sign that points in that direction. According to International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, compared to the third quarter of 2013, the top 5 global smartphone brands witnessed a whopping 25% growth in shipment during the same time period in 2014. Add all these smartphones to other mobile devices like tablets and ultra-portable notebooks, and what you have is a clear indication that there is a need to create device-independent solutions capable of functionalities that we didn’t originally anticipate.

Mobile video conferencing is no longer just a way to talk wirelessly with the novelty of seeing someone on the other end. We are seeing it become pervasive in today’s working culture. The obvious benefits of mobility aren’t simply touted, they are put into practice daily. For many businesses, mobility is a given. Users are now in need of new, affordable solutions that mobile video conferencing can offer. Two particular sectors that can benefit are Healthcare and Education, for example:

Healthcare. The capability to connect and communicate through mobile devices has already improved the world of first-response care. It has reduced response time, and has been highly effective at improving the quality of the response, resulting in lives saved.

Education. The success of MOOC, or massively organized open courses, can be attributed, to a certain extent, to mobile video conferencing. Today, you can connect to any Coursera or Edx courses from anywhere through your android devices, and we can expect to see a new era begin in the field of professional education as mobility increases.

A Globally collaborative workforce. Across all sectors, workers are experiencing never before seen opportunities to work without having to leave home. Globally connected talent is delivering better outputs, staying more productive, and displaying better performance levels through video-enabled team interactions, knowledge sharing sessions, and meetings in general.

Besides the smart phones, tablets and laptops that we work with daily, it’s important to mention connected wearable devices that will further increase mobility and our ability to do our jobs. Wearable devices like Hololens will offer a completely new perspective and opportunities to enhance collaboration. We may be looking at virtual presence as a possible replacement for video conferencing in the future.

Cloud-based Solutions

We are noting a rapid shift toward cloud-based solutions today. Whether it’s for storage, data crunching, or video conferencing, the cloud is making expensive hardware and allied infrastructure almost useless. Secured networks are making this shift even more inevitable for businesses. With the capabilities of cloud based systems to offer 3D broadcast using VOIP and other conferencing technologies, they become even more desirable.

Mobile Video Conferencing: the Future is here

At present, North America, Brazil, China, and India are witnessing the strongest growth in enterprise video conferencing solutions. By the numbers, in 2015 enterprise telepresence and video conferencing equipment market is expected to reach $5.4 billion. The mobility needs of the up and coming workforce generation will further fuel the business for mobile video conferencing in coming days. The time has come to make a big leap, and challenge the existing barriers to video conferencing that your business may be facing. Audio-visual availability, and the concrete tangibility that mobile devices are offering will help pave the way for your future video conferencing efforts.

We would love to hear about how mobility is already impacting video conferencing for your business. Please share your experience with us.

Photo Credit: Interface Images via Compfight cc

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