The Unified Communications Revolution Will Be Televised

The massive influx of video to the Internet won't stop and, in a couple of years, will be by far the dominant form of traffic. That is good news for unified communications. The question is, however, whether video and other advanced forms of collaboration will become so ubiquitous that unified communications will lose its unique identity. 

 By Carl Weinschenk
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This nicely done IT World article focuses on business video, as opposed to viewing it as an element within the bigger context of unified communications.

The idea, however, is that video — because of both its value and the special demands it puts on the network — is different. The piece points out that video will represent 90 percent of all Internet traffic in 2013. And — according to Cisco — quite a lot of traffic that will be. Indeed, the numbers are headed into areas, such as petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, yottabytes and brontobytes, that almost are comical.

Video, according to reporter Janice Le, is exploding for three reasons: The emergence of non-linear capabilities, such as skipping to the most important part of a presentation; cheaper production made possible by smartphones and tablets; and the use of video in social networking.

The bright future of business video was illustrated last week by the purchase of HP videoconferencing by Polycom and, perhaps more pointedly, the announcement that Avaya has filed a $1 billion Initial Public Offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Video and unified communications, according to Computerworld, is a big part of the fun:

In its filing the company says it will continue development of contact center and voice communications products, invest in R&D, expand sales and distribution, go after new markets and train staff and partners to sell new products and services. It mentions its Avaya Flare Experience videoconferencing/ unified communication platform as one of these new products.

At BestinUC, Steve Vonder Haar argues that the case for unified communications only becomes compelling when video is thrown into the mix:

Video can provide the technical “sizzle” that encourages executive decision-makers to take a second look at unified communications alternatives. And, in many cases, the elements that wrap around video can be parlayed in other forms of web-based communications. The audio from a video feed, for instance, can take the place of a traditional telephone call. The PowerPoint slides presented alongside a video stream can form the foundation of an online collaborative event.

And, if video is integrated properly into a true unified communications solution, its impact will extend far beyond the prospects of technology vendors trying to sell the next great communications platform. It also will have huge impact on the people who produce and develop high-quality video content.

Video is exploding. As time passes, something a bit ironic is going on, however. On one hand, video is the key to the growth of unified communications. But, at the same time, it is making unified communications-type applications and services so common that the term is generalizing and losing some of its unique meaning. 

This article was originally published on Jun 11, 2011
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