SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Phil Edholm
Phil Edholm is the President and Founder of PKE Consulting, which consults to end users and vendors in the communications...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Phil Edholm | January 20, 2016 |

 
   

Consumer Tech Headed to an Enterprise Near You

Consumer Tech Headed to an Enterprise Near You Here's a look at some of the technologies I saw at CES 2016 that could very well wind up in your communications and collaboration environments.

Here's a look at some of the technologies I saw at CES 2016 that could very well wind up in your communications and collaboration environments.

I once again ventured into the Nevada desert (wet this year) to peruse CES for consumer-oriented technology that has the potential, or probability, of wending its way into the enterprise and impacting our communications and collaboration space.

Oftentimes technologies start in the enterprise and are transformed in the crucible of the consumer marketplace. In a 2016 trends presentation at CES, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research of the Consumer Technology Association (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association), shared an interesting example of this: speech-to-text technology, which has undergone a rapid evolution over the last two years. In 2005, the probability of an error in a typical speech-to-text translation was 100%, DeBravac said. By 2013, that had dropped to 23%, and today it is 5%.

While I might point to the errors in my typical Google Voice voicemail translations as an indicator that we still have a way to go, this does serve as a great example of how the consumer space transforms technologies. Prior to about 2011-2012, speech to text was an enterprise technology with enterprise volumes. In 2011-2012, speech recognition began to take off with Google Voice, Siri, and other applications of speech to text in widespread use among consumers. The resulting volumes are 10 to 100 times enterprise volumes.

As technologies like speech recognition are dependent on usage and learning parameters, we can clearly attribute the 75% reduction in the error rate of the last two years (versus 75% in the proceeding eight years) to the consumer volume. As a result, speech recognition is now much more accurate and may find many enterprise uses that were not possible at a 23% error rate.

Game Changers in the Making
Similarly, when enterprise volumes impact a product area, prices drop. For example, the Chinese company Opcom showed a range of low-cost cameras and devices for video conferencing. While developed for Skype, these products can easily extend to other communications platforms (especially Skype for Business).

For example, Opcom showed a full high-definition document camera for $199 retail, $399 including a room camera. The company also displayed a $299 panoramic room camera that shows all participants sitting around a conference table. Clearly, these products, along with the new products from companies like Tely, are driving video into the 93% of conference rooms that are not equipped.

The Touchjet Wave is another potential game changer. For $199 retail, the company claims this product is able to turn any flat-screen TV into a huge Android tablet with on-screen touch capability. With most of collaboration applications available in Android versions, this could be an interesting room system as well.

portable
Touchjet Wave

Wireless power also featured heavily at CES. While most wireless power simply involves placing a device directly on a base and using the proximity for power transmission, I saw signs at CES that real wireless power is possible -- and coming. Ossia, for example, showed its system for delivering wireless power over distance. The company claims it can deliver up to one watt at 10 meters, and a higher power level when the device is closer to the base. The system uses beam shaping, as well as the use of bounced waves, to tune and optimize the delivery of the wireless power signal to the devices.

While 1 W at 10 meters is not sufficient to rapidly charge a mobile phone, it is actually a typical mobile device's level of power consumption. This could be a game changer for a range of enterprises that have integrated mobile devices into their operations. For example, a hospital can allow workers to share a single device without having to charge it between shifts. This technology, which also integrates with smaller-cell WiFi for higher-bandwidth density, bears watching.

The Internet of Things was definitely a huge topic at CES. Samsung showed a smart refrigerator as the hub of the home (a 17" display in the door, cameras to take pictures of the inside for access when you are in the grocery store), but even more interesting were displays related to how these devices can provide data on spaces. For example, location analytics company Beco showed a sensor that clips to a fluorescent light tube to capture data on the environment. The device, which is self-powering from the tube, is useful for wireless tracking and other data. This type of technology opens the door to a new range of services based on location data, and has the potential of integration with our communications platforms in interesting ways.

Another company, Netatmo, showed a range of cameras for home security. For $499 it offers a front door camera that includes facial recognition to let you know who is at the door. Similar technologies could be employed in room video systems or even in offices to identify individuals. The company also showed a new $300 outdoor system that can distinguish between humans and animals. While this may not have direct applications today in the enterprise, the rapid reduction in cost of visual recognition will surely drive it into our systems soon.

Enterprise Entries
While these products are parallel to the enterprise communications and collaboration market, others are directly in the space. Here are a few examples:

  • Klaxoon showed a collaboration platform based on a simple in-room device and apps for content sharing. While it does not include a real-time component, it provides much of the rich content sharing needed in a collaboration setting, at a very low price.
  • MUV Interactive offers a fingertip device, called the Bird, that allows the use of touch type motions to interact and control your PC, smartphone, or tablet from anywhere in the room. This could be an interesting component of future collaborative spaces.
  • Boxcast, a streaming technology company, claims that its product is television broadcasting (on the 'Net) in a box. While the company was not clear on standards, the concept of a simple way to stream content is something that we continue to need as video becomes more of our communications environment.
  • Skipstone is delivering video content indexing and search as a platform. This will appeal to a number of companies that have generated video for support and other uses as a way to enable users to get to the right content quickly.
  • Alpha showed its Skybuds, a small set of in-ear buds that can charge quickly and last for about four hours. As many of you may know, for some time I have been talking about a truly connected individual future in the enterprise. In the coming world, we will be connected to our enterprise personal assistant all the time. Audio is the ideal technology for task interactions, so makes great sense for this use. The key to this is having all of my voice sent to my assistant. While LTE and WiFi are making this technically possible on the network, it requires a simple audio receiver that's wearable all day. While the Skybuds are not yet to the point allowing all-day use,they do show a clear indication that headphones are moving to be continuous. (And, speaking of headphones, the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC headset was recognized as a 2016 CES Innovation Awards Honoree. Congratulations to Plantronics for the award and being an enterprise product among the consumer hordes.)
  • BrainCo showed exactly what you would expect from its name -- a brainwave-driven user interaction device. The device looks like a simple headband, but it reads your alpha and beta waves and translates the waves into actionable commands. While the technology is nascent, it is possible to train your brain waves and the interface to turn a light on, for example, or to control a device. The potential for direct interaction from our brains to our computers and devices is staggering.

If you've never been to CES, I would encourage you to go at least once -- it will help you understand the power of the consumer economy on enterprise communications and collaboration. It is not just about BYOD, it is more often BYOT (technology).





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

December 13, 2017

The two major vendors in the Unified Communications space, Cisco and Microsoft, are both strongly promoting their cloud UC deployments. If cloud UC is on your enterprises roadmap, but you dont want

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.