Is 2009 the year of desktop video conferencing?
I’ve been experimenting with desktop video conferencing for years, but my enthusiasm never persists for more than a few days because the experience is just too unpredictable. Sometimes it’s a image quality issue, sometimes it’s firewalls, right now it’s unstable drivers and poor lip synch. It’s not far away though, in theory Skype and Logitech already offers HD conferencing (not reliably for me due to driver issues on Vista 64), and there are several high quality – but too expensive – desktop HD solutions (LifeSize for example), but it’s still not quite real for me – what will it take?
- Good multi-party video support in web conferencing systems
- Multiple screens and multi-screen support in the software, you need at least 2 screens and maybe three to have a multi-party web conference with video
- Faster home networking or perhaps just more consistent bandwidth (most people are not going to video conference in an open office)
- Better camera’s that offer an optical zoom so that it’s possible to really see expressions and lip synch
- A price point that’s viable for the enterprise, less than £150.
The recent announcement that Microsoft is working with Tandberg to deliver a $300 high-definition video camera by next year is a good early indicator that maybe we are approaching a tipping point. That said the first step is to win the ongoing battle to convince enterprises to invest in multiple monitors.