What do Umi, FaceTime, Qik, and Skype have in common? No, they are not failed attempts to win at Scrabble; they all are solutions for delivering consumer videoconferencing/calling with significant announcements in 2010.
- 10/6/2010: (today) Cisco announced Umi, a home telepresence offering using HDTV and cameras, and go-to-market plans with Verizon.
- 6/11/2010: Apple launched iPhone 4, touting FaceTime via Wi-Fi as a mobile consumer video calling solution; it announced continued go-to-market activities with AT&T as an exclusive carrier.
- 6/04/2010: Sprint announced the first 4G phone in the US, the HTC EVO and demonstrated the use of the Qik application to enable real-time video calling.
- 5/18/2010: Having announced partnerships with LG, Panasonic, and Samsung, at CES 2010 to enable embedded Skype video calling capabilities on consumer TV, Skype delivered the HD video camera that completes the solution offer.
Bottom line? Technology Populism (check out our report, “What Technology Populism Means For Tech Marketers”) as a force to drive technical innovations into the enterprise is now going to be channeling the explosive growth in video interest (read our report, “How Tech Strategists Can Ride The Coming Tidal Wave Of Business Video”) to business networks worldwide. PC-based applications like iChat, AIM video, Vidyo, and Avistar have already made it easy for information workers to adopt and use live desktop video; now, these new solutions put videoconferencing literally into the homes and hands of consumers. Ease of use and high picture quality will generate significant interest and drive adoption of all videoconferencing solutions.
While the price tags on these solutions can scare some consumers ($600 plus $25/month plus an HDTV and high-speed Internet service, $300 plus $55/month, $450 plus $70/month, $150 plus an HDTV and high-speed Internet service), others will see value in being early adopters of cool, new technology —once they become accustomed to it, they will demand the same ease of use from video solutions at work. Look for these consumer solutions to help create demand for devices like the Cisco Cius connected to Cisco Unified Communications Manager or for video-capable solutions like the Avaya Flare Experience connected to SIP-based Avaya Aura networks.
Vendor Strategists need to get on the video train before it runs them over.