Spoiler Alert: 2019 was a record-smashing year for video conferencing, and there is no doubt that 2020 will continue to see exponential growth in the number of users that flip their video on, record-setting volumes of meetings minutes, and the introduction of a ridiculous amount of new huddle room technology. I say this all the time, but we are so lucky to be participating in this industry while the transformation toward everyday video usage is happening right in front of our eyes.
There are a core set of drivers that got us here: cloud architecture, interoperability, ease-of-use. But I don’t believe that what got us here will necessarily be sufficient to take video conferencing to the next level of adoption. At the end of the day, end users are constantly on the search for tools that enable them to be more productive. Therefore, video conferencing tools must move beyond simply making it easy to meet virtually and add value in new ways that will enrich collaboration and accelerate the ability to achieve business outcomes. It is in this spirit that I present my four predictions for 2020.
Prediction #1: Meetings will Get Shorter
Meetings are fascinating beasts…they typically last for as long as they are scheduled for…even when that whole time is most likely not dedicated to discussing the topic at hand. Now meetings are multi-dimensional and multi-purpose, so I am not dismissing discussions about the weather or weekend plans...what I do know to be true is that group meetings are typically overrepresented with passive participants and underrepresented with key stakeholders. If meetings were habitually attended with the right people at the right time, decisions could be made more quickly, while simultaneously reducing the number of follow-up meetings. In 2020, we will start to see meeting participants decline more and more unnecessary meetings because they will have easier ways to access meeting highlights and actions without having to actually attend the meeting. The result is less Meeting FOMO, more focused engagement in the meetings that do take place, and overall a more effective use of everyone’s time.
Prediction #2: Mobile Video Conferencing Extends to the Enterprise
Any parent can tell you that video conferencing already has gone mobile – just look at how their teenagers chat with friends or how they are able share their toddler’s latest accomplishment with distant grandparents. That being said, from a workplace perspective the video conferencing industry was born in the conference room and has slowly made its way on to the desktop, but still has a way to go with regards to mobile. Part of this network driven and the upcoming 5G revolution should go a long way toward enabling better connectivity. But realistically, when thinking about the mobile use case, today’s video conferencing solutions haven’t adapted to sufficiently meet end users where they are…on-the-go. In 2020, mobile video conferencing apps will adapt with better noise suppression, safer presentation of content when users are driving, and deeper integration with device hardware to better support field-oriented use cases, like fleet technicians and emergency responders.
Prediction #3: Conferencing Rooms Will Be Booked More Than Ever Before
By now, we’ve all experienced the failed open-office floor plan initiative. It’s not surprising that 30+million huddle rooms are coming online to fill the physical collaboration gap that was created by knocking down the walls. As organizations scramble to determine their huddle strategy, they know that the tech deployed in these spaces will make or break their utility. Luckily, the days of confusing remotes, dongles, and cables are behind us. Integrated room systems are going to single-handedly change the perception of room-based meetings. Automatic scene framing, digital whiteboards, and multi-stream content will all work in concert to make the room-based experience more productive than ever before…all without the need of IT to setup the technology for the meeting. In 2020, we will see significant volumes of hardware being refreshed by more modern endpoints, because of user demand driven by increases in room-oriented productivity gains.
Prediction #4: Meetings Will Become More Interactive
The phrase “death by PowerPoint” exists because no one really wants to sit through a meeting where they are on the receiving end of a barrage of lackluster slides. But realistically PowerPoint is still the most common content shared during a video or web conference and will be for the foreseeable future. Interestingly, video conferencing solution providers have a unique opportunity to build a set of a capabilities on top of traditional content sharing to reshape the presentation process as we know it. Through current innovations like hand-raising, polling, crowd-sourced commentary, video conferencing providers are already beginning to engage meeting participants in new and compelling ways. In 2020, we will see presenters use a host of new techniques, like augmented reality, to interact with content and drive meeting participation do radically shift how productivity is delivered in meetings.
Overall, 2019 has been a tremendous year of innovation here at BlueJeans and beyond. At the current course and speed, we are going to experience meetings in a more immersive, more mobile, and more productive fashion in the coming year and we are excited to partner with you on the adventure.
Onward to 2020!