Video is making strides forward and it's not in the corporate sector, yet. It's in the personal sector. More and more people each day are using video in their one on one communications, largely due to apps like Skype, Sightspeed, ooVoo and DimDim. But the biggest accelerator is FaceTime which more and more often I'm getting FaceTime calls from friends with the new iPhone 4 OS and the front and rear facing cameras.
Why? It simply works. It's having the same impact that Skype has on voice communications. It simply works. That's a far cry easier and in both cases, no IT guy is required. Now let me go one step farther that will totally change the game. It's the next generation iPad which will more than likely have front and rear facing cameras and FaceTime which will (officially) have AirPlay capability. That means I'll be able to use my iPhone or iPad or even an iPod Touch with front and rear cameras on my desk or coffee table and have a video call on my widescreen monitor on the wall or some small, lightweight monitor that's not my PC that I use for scrolling content. As more AirPlay friendly software comes along that supports what I don't need to have on my PC/Mac laptop screen comes along, and the more I can move wirelessly to a second screen, the more video becomes an active part of the conversation and collaboration mix.
Right now, Skype doesn't support video on the iPhone, and only other app that has any traction at all in the two way mobile sector is cross platform Tango that's working on both the Android and iPhone, but on the iPhone it's not yet multi-tasking ready, nor is it likely to be Airplay friendly very soon.
If I was Apple the first thing I would do for 2011 is make all Apple apps on the laptops and iOS devices Airplay ready. Already Airplay in my home office is changing how, and where and with what I use to stream music and video to the 42" monitor on the wall. In less than a week, it's gotten me back into music. Next would be to open up the iOS API's to those companies that get the idea of multi-platform collaboration. Now if you could be pushing your Citrix Online (a client) GoToMeeting sessions from my iPad (where they have a killer app) or Cisco's WebEx presentations using Airplay, cords further get cut and the whole concept of being part of the remote workforce comes greater in to being for even more people.
Next bring personal video into the equation using FaceTime, integrated into (or around) all the apps with multi-tasking, first as one-on-one video, and then as multiparty (think Hollywood Squares frames) and all of a sudden real time collaboration with face to face video is happening on everything from the iOS devices to the Airplay enabled screens around the home and the office, or on a Mac or with none at all.
This kind of capability exists within the Apple eco-system, and some would claim is coming from inside the Cisco world, and we all know Cisco wants to be a world changer in collaboration. Their UMI and upcoming CiUS are based on their Tandberg and Flip camera acquisitions but I would contend that it's easier to get an iPhone or iPad purchase approved and running on the network with Airplay and all I've described above, at a far lower cost, than to go out and buy Tandberg, Polycom, Lifesize or any other full size video conferencing system, and have it work, anywhere versus in a room where it is full time. So while CiUS is portable, it's a divergence device, meaning it does one thing well. The iPad and to its credit the Android powered Galaxy Tab, are multi-trick ponies and when combined with Airplay will do far more than what Cisco is proposing with UMI and CiUS, WebEx and Tandberg systems, at far lower costs, over more networks and at lower bit rates TODAY. If Cisco wanted to really change the game they would work with Apple on cross pollination of FaceTime and Tandberg's video, make their software on their devices Airplay friendly and recognize that the more Apple users collaborate, the more routers and switches the networks need.
Now that would be game changing technology.