Videoconferencing: Anytime, Anyplace, Anyone

I have been saying this, hmmmmm, since, errrr, 1992 (actually 1988, but, who is counting).

Video conferencing should be be able to connect anyone, anytime, to anyplace.

Until, 2010 this has not been the case, but, maybe, finally, it is going to happen.  Very exciting.

All new technologies take a good 15 to 20 years to become the hottest thing since sliced bread (an overnight success).  TV, telephone (even longer), microwave ovens, computers, cell phones, Internet, you name it….it takes a generation, or so, for a great idea to become one with the universe.

The time is almost here for Internet based (desktop or, now, mobile) videoconferencing. Why?  Because H.323 was ratified in 1996 and since then the technology has made advancements no one back then could have predicted (like the winning transport would be a shared public network, web cams, very powerful laptop computers, very powerful cell phones, high speed wireless hot spots….on and on).  14 years.

And not just 14 years.  This generation of kids, going off to college as the class of 2014, are everything we were not:

A. Computer and Internet savvy

B.  Social media fiends

C. They watch (and upload) streaming video as a normal course of the day (You Tube, Hulu, etc).

They are comfortable socializing, being seen, being heard, and watching via the Internet.

It stands to reason that VIDEO CONFERENCING could be next on the list!

WhooooHooo….oh, sorry, I just get excited to finally see this happening…

Want proof?

Kristen is going to the University of the Pacific in a few days.  She has grown up with videoconferencing….and completely ignored it (much to Dad’s chagrin), until now.  Kristen’s friend, Ryan Ng, is heading off to UC Berkeley and is new (hey, compared to me anyone is new) to video conferencing (he probably just now heard the term “video conferencing”….it is “Skype” or “Video Chat” to the kids).

Look what they are doing!  How friggin cool is this?

Who needs a fancy (VERY expensive) “telepresence” room with perfect lighting, perfect sound, and boring, uptight, people on each end viewing each others blisters, zits, waddles, and wrinkles in glorious high definition?

Not the kids of today….sit in the room with NO lights on (or in the quad of UOP or Berzerkely), and video conference with your friends!  THIS is how videoconferencing will finally hit the big time (take note Wainhouse!).  The kids of NOW will take this technology further than WE could have ever imagined!

Don’t believe it?  That is ok, you did not beleive me 20 years ago when I started evangelizing video conferencing and 18 years ago when I did the same, and more, for desktop (now Mobile) videoconferencing…. so bite me.  😉

This is real…and it is gonna take video conferencing to the stars….so hold on.

Take a look at these pics…..tell me if YOU use videoconferencing this effectively…bet you do not.


The future of video conferencing will be mobile.  Laptops, WiFi, 3G, 4G, Cell Phones (Gee, Steve Jobs says videoconferencing is “real” now even though Apple dropped it in the beginning), iPads (see my next posting showing Vidyo on an iPad), whatever….you will no longer have to travel to a room to video conference (did I ever say how stupid that is?)…

Anytime, anyplace, anyone.   Videoconferencing will be as normal to the next generation kids as talking on the phone was to us.

21 replies »

  1. And to think that when I first startd selling videoconference equipment for CLI in 1983 the codec was the size of a refrigerator and cost approximately $175,000 per end — add another $250-$500,000 for a room and it is easy to see why the technology was only used by the big boys (Sears, Aetna, Citi Bank, U.S. Govt. etc) — I recall when the Feds bought 90+ codecs from me in 1985/86 to construct a “secure” 5-way multipoint network based in DC — that was pre MCU days by the way and involved 5 displays per room and lots of communications gear and encryption devices — a hug contract for CLI — it was also exciting to be involved with the aerospace community as they launched VTC within their organizations and even started communicating between organizations (Boeing, Martin Marietta, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, Rockwell etc) — a big network was 12-15 rooms to begin with after a 2-3 room trial period — I remember when LLL purchased a few PictureTel desktop units from me while I was working at Pedcom (if I recall that is where we met) — now my wife and I Skype with our kids/grandkids on a regular basis and you are absolutely spot-on that the kids today take it as a given that VTC is a neat tool (toy) — it will be amazing to see where they take the technology.

    • Hi Paul! I think we met for the first time at Applied Business teleCommunications…or TeleCon. At LLNL, I was evangelizing and testing (unsuccessfully) the new technology of desktop videoconferencing. The CLI Cameo was the first desktop system we Beta tested. David Sauerhaft (now at Cisco) had his team, at one point, sent the video over Ethernet…which I believe was the first time that was done. The network folks at LLNL heard about this, and were F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G out! How funny…now everything is via the network.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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