Video Conferencing in 2011

Technology is moving at light speed, but, culture change takes time.

For some technologies the time is almost here for mass adoption.  For example, 2011 may, finally, be the year video conferencing (read on for my theory on why) will reach mass adoption.  Time will tell….

2010 Technology Change

2010 was an amazing technology year.

Technology change in 2010 happened faster than ever, and since there was more technology to change, it seemed even faster (sometimes overwhelming).

  • Really cool (and powerful) smart phones boomed.  Tablets that people actually used emerged.
  • Social networking via texting, Twitter, and Facebook all provided hundreds of millions of people a quick surface look into “friends” lives.
  • E-book readers (both human and technology) boomed, but, real books did not go away.
  • 3-D movies, TV’s, and players boomed.  HDTV is almost ubiquitous.
  • Streaming of movies, TV shows, or original content over the Internet continue to hurt stores like Blockbuster while others simply went away.
  • Cloud computing came to the forefront and will continue to boom.
  • Video conferencing is now everywhere.

But technology (no matter how cool) is only a TOOL.  How people use these tools, for their benefit, at home, work, or at play, determines how their lives can be improved (or not) by these technological tools.  But, it takes time for people to learn how to use these tools.

Video conferencing is an old tool

For the purposes of this blog, (according to my theories) we are at the cusp of mass adoption and use for video conferencing.

Many years ago, I gave a talk giving examples of when a particular technology was introduced versus when that technology changed the world.  In all cases:  TV, radio, telephone, microwave ovens, Internet, etc.  The delay between design realization and use by the masses was 15 to 20 years.  A generation, or two, of people.

Culture change takes time.   As a young man, that was hard to understand.  As an older man…I accept this (sort of).

In the late 1980’s, video conferencing was introduced (at least the “modern” version).  In the early and late 1990’s standards were developed for videoconferencing over telephone lines, and, eventually, over a packet network.  The Internet arrived in the mid-90’s. Packet based video conferencing system started to arrive in the late 90’s.

Fast forward…..hmmmm, how interesting…..15 or 16 or 17 years and it is now 2011. Video conferencing (as we have come to use it) has been around for the required amount of time (15 to 20 years).  “Video chat” is on your cell phone, it is free on your computer (with multipoint), the need for high definition rooms seems to be fading, and the need to videoconference anytime, anywhere, with anyone is definitely on the upswing. Most importantly…..the kids are involved.  “Lets video call” will be the new mantra…

2011 may indeed be the year videoconferencing changes the world…..’bout time.   🙂

What else should 2011 bring?

1. Telecommuting = Coworking = Telework

Folks, it is time you start working from anywhere.  Commuting to a central location (for those with jobs that can be done remotely) is stupid, inefficient, and costly. It is time for the OFB’s (old fashioned bosses) of the world to retire and let the world of work change. Need to see your employees?  Video conference !  DUH.

2. We need cell phone apps that can help save lives.

An app can detect an accident, then it can alert emergency response teams with the location.  Videoconferencing via cell phone with a Doctor can help save lives at an accident site.

3. We need cars that recognize the driver, and their condition, and limit the speed achievable accordingly. How about cars that can automatically correct out of control conditions too?  The technology is here…

Lets see what 2011 brings….I’m sure there will be some awesome technology.

We all need to figure out how to use this technology to improve our lives, and maybe, save lives.

Happy New Year.


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