Video Calling by Default
VCaaS is booming, video-enabled team collaboration is on a roll, and embedded video is getting easier to do than ever...
Identity management provider Okta regularly issues a "Businesses @ Work" report to share findings culled from its vast network of customers, applications, and custom integrations; the findings are based on the millions of associated authentications and verifications it handles each day across the globe. Its most recent report, issued this month, had a few interesting nuggets, including this one: Zoom, a video and Web conferencing service, has surpassed the seemingly unbeatable team collaboration app, Slack, as the fastest-growing app in the past six months.
The "win" seemingly came out of nowhere. In the previous Business @ Work report, issued in March 2016, Zoom hadn't even made it into the top 25 of fastest-growing apps, Okta reported. But with a growth rate of 67%, Zoom handily zipped past Slack, which grew at 44%, and second-place Umbrella, the Cisco cloud security platform that showed 47% growth in the last six months.
I won't venture too deeply into why the sudden surge of Zoom use -- though I will point out that Zoom broke into the Leaders quadrant in the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing, and that certainly couldn't have hurt. Rather, let's look at this Okta finding as one more bit of evidence that cloud video services are hot and getting hotter.
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research, and longtime chair for the Video track at Enterprise Connect Orlando, confirmed this during a No Jitter On Air podcast, posted today. Although Wainhouse is still collecting 2016 data from video conferencing-as-a-service providers, "anecdotal evidence suggests that the VCaaS world really took off last year. ... some of the vendors are reporting enormous growth rates" while none has reported negative growth, Davis told listeners.
Granted, numbers are "much, much harder to ascertain" for cloud video services than for hardware-based video room systems, a market which Davis characterized as being "pretty flat." The difficulty measuring the VCaaS market comes from a variety of factors, including the large number of vendors and the different business models they follow, as well as the fact that most VCaaS providers are private companies and have no compelling reason to reveal too much about their businesses.
Still, beyond question, enterprise video usage exploded last year, Davis said. "It's become really low cost. It's become really easy to use."
And it'll become even easier yet, if providers continue to roll out the sorts of video-related service advancements we've seen this week alone. Push-of-a-button cloud-based video calling, for example, features heavily in the all-in-one meeting room experience Cisco is promoting in its newly announced visual collaboration system, Spark Board (see No Jitter coverage: "Cisco Launches Spark Board, Meetings" and "Cisco Pushes Into Immersive Group Collaboration"). And embedding cloud-hosted real-time, multiparty video chat into applications just got a whole lot easier with the formal GA launch of Vidyo's self-service developer platform, Vidyo.io, in beta since late August 2016.
With this video communications platform as a service (CPaaS), Vidyo is offering a "simpler set" of tools to ease the task of cross-platform development, Ben Pinkerton, Vidyo direct of product marketing, told me in a briefing. By cross-platform, Vidyo means it works with browser via SDKs for WebRTC and plug-ins; mobile, with SDKs for iOS and Android; and desktop, with SDKs for macOS and Windows. There's also a consistent API that should speed development time and lower the cost for everything from two-person video chat to multiparty conferences, he said. Additionally, developers can sign up via a simplified Vidyo.io developer portal featuring self-service subscription options, online open documentation, sample apps, and a usage dashboard -- and they get 4,000 minutes free when they sign up.
And, of course, Vidyo.io services have the benefit of delivery via Vidyo's global cloud architecture, which, as Pinkerton pointed out, relies on the company's scalable video technology to optimize video quality in real time -- an especially tricky gambit when dealing with mobile devices. Vidyo has incorporated new signaling protocols to "make Vidyo.io services truly enterprise scale," he added.
So you can see why Davis told me in the podcast, "I'd have to say  was the year of video." But here's the thing... Davis went on to say that "this year will be even bigger." That's hard not to believe, what with the availability of VCaaS services galore (including those from Zoom), the rise of video-enabled persistent team collaboration spaces such as available via Cisco's Spark platform, and the growing ease and simplicity of embedding video chats via video CPaaS like Vidyo.io.
Whether your organization is just beginning to evaluate cloud video service options or looking to scale up usage, you'll want to listen in to all Davis has to say in the No Jitter On Air podcast, "What You Need to Know About Cloud Video Service." And don't miss out on the chance to hear Davis expand on all things video, from business process integration to telepresence performance at Enterprise Connect 2017, where he'll be leading the Video track.
Learn more about video conferencing trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2017, March 27 to 30, in Orlando, Fla. View the Video track, and register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event pass or a free Expo Plus pass.