The video conferencing industry remained relatively untouched for the last 7 years or so. Only a handful of companies offered video conferencing equipment and solutions for meeting rooms and they were very expensive, out of budget for small and medium sized businesses. Cisco and Polycom were on the small list of names that dominated the market. Even fewer providers offered meeting room video conferencing solutions that were affordable for SMEs. Since then, many players entered the market and now offer similar solutions at affordable prices for all company sizes. They aren’t all the same in terms of features and compatibility but they all at least offer basic video conferencing needs.
With the rise in number of video conferencing platforms, end-users and business found themselves choosing between a much more diverse pool of platforms and equipment they can adopt according to their needs and their budget, and that resulted in a big communication gap when it comes to contacting a user outside of your domain and uses a different platform. For example, you might find yourself trying to join an external online meeting with your clients or business partners, and your video conferencing equipment is not able to join their platform. And then you will have two options, you either join the external meeting as a guest or, you settle for Skype or another free chat provider that doesn’t offer all the features you’d need for a decent online business meeting.
The lack of compatibility is due to reasons of proprietorship, technology limitations, and innovation. Historically, video conferencing systems were closed and proprietary systems, meaning if you opted for a Cisco system, you’d need a Cisco account, Cisco hardware equipment, and you could only conference with people in your own company. Times have changed, and today, most video conferencing solutions offer some form of interoperability, allowing you to join a Zoom meeting from Skype and vice versa. The interoperability offered is still very limited because the market remains quite untapped and in its first few years.
Technically, the two main signaling protocols used in the video conferencing industry were SIP and H.323, and for a long time interoperability between those two protocols was complex and difficult due to the different signaling, encoding, and decoding approaches used in both, and it gets more difficult when the deployment scale becomes larger and you would have to send the signal between two locations or domains and go through a dedicated gateway for messages and signals translation.
The recent rise in number of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Skype for Business, Gotomeeting, and Webex began slowly developing the video conferencing market with almost all providers offering a dedicated solution for the meeting room in addition to their pay-per-use video conferencing platform – but that created a different problem; according to the 2018 State of Video Conferencing Report, 89% of companies use multiple video conferencing platforms and on average, a company switches between 2-3 different conferencing solutions. When it comes to video conferencing, a divide clearly exists between the market leaders who according to Gartner are Skype for Business, Zoom, and Cisco.
Switching between different video conferencing solutions creates a whole new world of issues to both end users and IT. For end users, this means learning how to use more than one system, ease of use becomes compromised, and the meeting experience is dreadful. For IT, it means more equipment in the meeting room to buy and manage, more software to install and configure, more training sessions to deliver, and more dollars to spend.
The turbulent state of the market and the rush of providers to address basic video conferencing needs meant a lesser priority to content sharing and paved the way for new market entrants like Barco Clickshare and Airtame to address an untapped and niche segment of the market – which only inflated the nightmare for IT. Now there’s a need for more meeting room equipment, accounts, software, and training.
Flipdock aims to bridge this divide in video conferencing systems by allowing sign-in to multiple platforms on one video conferencing system. Using multiple video conferencing platforms in the meeting room from one solution is something we’re extremely proud of, soon enough, you will be able to sign-in to Skype for Business, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams from the Flipdock meeting room system so that you can start and join meetings on any one of these platforms and avoid delays in your online meetings. Skype for Business is currently fully supported, and support for Zoom and Microsoft Teams will be rolled out in upcoming software updates. More platforms to meet everyone’s video conferencing needs are also in the works. Subscriptions for these platforms are not included, they will have to be purchased separately, Flipdock allows you to use all of its features and uses the video conferencing platforms as a gateway to communicate with anyone with a matching account.
Connect with us today to see how Flipdock can address your meeting room needs.