Understanding human interaction isn't easy. We tend to be complex and very different. The reason we aren't doing video conferencing calls regularly is partially because these systems don't interoperate, but it is mostly because these systems don't embrace the way we actually like to communicate.
I've been covering video conferencing (now often called "telepresence") products since the late 80s and saw my first offering in the mid-60s as a child at Disneyland. Over the years, product wave after product wave has come to market with the promise of the next big thing in telecommunications only to fail to meet even reasonable expectations for deployment in a market where users are measured in billions.
Andy Grove, one of the smartest people I've ever met, referred to Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC) axed video conferencing effort as his biggest mistake while running that company. We have laptops, tablets and, most recently, smartphones capable of video conferencing, but only a tiny percentage use them for it, and even fewer do so regularly. It isn't technology, availability or cost that is the problem -- it is people, and I'd like to explore that this week.
I was briefed on what may be the best video conferencing system in the world recently -- a product called Vidyo, which got me thinking about this. So, with some irony, it will be my product of the week.
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