Day 2 at Enterprise Connect: TeleCollaboration Has Arrived
I'm sure we'll see even more collaboration tools built around the visual medium to make it much easier to work with our colleagues all over the globe.
During last year's Enterprise Connect, I had written a blog about the emerging TeleCollaboration market. Although no video vendor used that term today, it seems we're well on our way of having this eventually become a real market and something I hope we see at future Enterprise Connects.
The first keynote at Enterprise Connect 2012 was collaboration rapper OJ Winge, from Cisco, who talked about the Cisco collaboration vision and then unveiled the highly rumored and long awaited TX9000 system, which is the biggest upgrade to its TelePresence product line since maybe its initial launch. The TX9000 series boasts a sleek new design, better desk layout for simpler maintenance and installation, better lighting and optimized camera positions. Additionally, Cisco has upgraded to bigger, higher resolution screens, which enhances the overall experience. However, the biggest upgrade to the product is that Cisco has finally untethered the content from the screens, giving rise to TeleCollaboration.
If you used the original TelePresence systems, you'll be familiar with what I'm referring to. The system had total control over what you saw and when the images were switched. Also, while there was a screen that could be used to share content via something like WebEx, that screen was dedicated to the content and the main screens were used for real time video only. A nice solution but it had its limitations, particularly when you wanted to look at the shared content in greater detail. The TX9000 allows the user to move some content--maybe a Power Point that is being shared from the screen it's on to one of the main screens--and flip it with the video session. This puts much more control in the user's hands than before.
The concept behind "TeleCollaboration" is a system that gives workers multiple collaboration tools in a single solution, much like the way the TX9000 does. It allows for local and remote content sharing as well as the high-quality video streams that we've become accustomed to with the Cisco solutions. TelePresence now becomes a subset of the overall TeleCollaboration story.
I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. The original system from Cisco was a huge leap forward in the videoconferencing industry. I know HP had Halo first but the product was as unsuccessful as the Halo video game was a success. Cisco took TelePresence, ran with it and made it a real market. As time went on though, I do think the solution ran its course and it's time for something new, and the TX9000 is it. I jokingly said on Twitter that the TX9000 was the "iPad3" of the TelePresence industry. I doubt you'll see people camped out on Tasman Drive waiting for it, but I do think it can kick start another wave of growth for the TelePresence business unit.
The other proof point of TeleCollaboration that I saw at the show was down at the Vidyo booth. I went down to the show floor during conference hours so the foot traffic was fairly light with a few exceptions, one of them being the Vidyo booth (another one was actually the Cisco booth where video was front and center). Vidyo had several demos including its "Panorama" product, which looks like Hollywood Squares; it features four video screens and two content screens on display. Vidyo also showed the solution on iPads and iPhones, where the user could easily flip around the different windows and size them on the fly based on their preference. I must say that the quality of the Vidyo mobile video was outstanding, better than I think I've ever seen on a mobile device. Vidyo does have some limitations regarding interoperability, for which they need to go through a gateway, but the solution does produce a high quality, TeleCollaboration experience.
The one vendor that I would like to see more out of but was no where to be seen at Enterprise Connect is Magor Communications. The company has an extremely easy-to-use, high quality solution that I would put under the market category of TeleCollaboration.
TeleCollaboration has arrived at Enterprise Connect and I'm sure we'll see even more collaboration tools built around the visual medium to make it much easier to work with our colleagues all over the globe.