Mobile videoconferencing apps – Sorting out the confusion

Here are a few mobile videoconferencing apps: Skype; FaceTime; Tango; EZMeetup; Adobe Connect; Hangouts; ClearSea and whatever the new Flavors of the Month,” are.  Many mobile videoconferencing apps are free, like Skype – But therein lays the confusion.  Many of these work well in the context of personal use, like meeting with your son, daughter or significant other who is away at school or serving overseas.  These solutions, however, fall short in the context of business use or as a routine way to communicate in the enterprise. The first big problem is the fact that they all work independently in their own proprietary protocols and not within the ITU, (International Telecommunications Union), standards.  Many working in business use these mobile videoconferencing apps and certainly like the idea of what they do, but find they all fall short in practical use within the enterprise.Question mark cubes

Another problem with most of these apps is there is no collaboration or sharing documents, very much needed in most business meetings.  Younger people expect everything to work seamlessly and for the most part they do with many of these videoconferencing apps — However they don’t work seamlessly with each other because they ignore the ITU videoconferencing standards.  As younger people get older and work in business they will expect videoconferencing to connect seamlessly with collaboration and without the worry of who is using what app.

Over time the confusion will dissipate because all videoconferencing applications and equipment will be designed and developed within the ITU standards.  Currently we have a “Tower of Babel” scenario built in proprietary videoconferencing silos.  In the long run this inefficiency will catch up with itself and the videoconferencing apps built in silos will either collapse or adapt to the ITU world standards.

One of the redeeming qualities of the free videoconferencing apps like Skype is that it gets many people using videoconferencing and seeing the benefits of meeting face-to-face on video as opposed to an audio call.  To clearly see where this is all headed you need to look at email; cell phones; texting and all the other ways we communicate with technology.  Certainly you do not see separate texting apps or separate email apps that only work with those using that specific app.

Currently there are several high tech innovators developing videoconferencing apps that work within the ITU standards and can connect to any conference room or board room with a standards based videoconferencing system.  In time more of these innovators will appear.  In the future, choosing a videoconferencing app will be simple.  It will be the one you are comfortable using and can connect to any conference room, board room, or other person using an ITU standard based videoconferencing app.

Videoconferencing technology is leading edge in many ways, yet far behind in other ways.  Soon these apps will be easy to use and you won’t have to worry about how any other party connects.  Videoconferencing will be just as ubiquitous and easy to use as email and texting.

My advice — It won’t hurt to try a free app, but don’t use them in a critical business meeting.  Stick with the ITU, (International Telecommunications Union), videoconferencing standards.  Also continue to visit this web site as we are keeping a close eye out for any solutions using ITU standards based videoconferencing.

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