Collaboration and workplace technology was one of a number of themes at Technology Exposed 2018, Midwich head of technology Jenny Hicks offers insights on what recent changes in this technology space mean for different parts of the industry.
How much of an impact does the growing prevalence of 'plug and play' endpoints and cloud-based apps have on what distributors/integrators can offer in the collaboration technology space?
The rise of the ‘out of box’ product has had its greatest impact on the manufacturers. While there will remain a niche market for high security demanding single brand on-premise solutions, the reality is that what was a two-man race is now a saturated market with new players appearing every day. Personally I think this is great for distributors and integrators. Now what we can offer is time saving expertise. End users are overwhelmed by the amount of choice and the channel can provide the comparison and experienced-based recommendations to aid their decision.
With greater remote working and collaboration, what security and content sharing challenges does this present?
Our experience with conferencing and communication platforms for remote working is that their encryption and security features more than meet the demands of most users. With content sharing it is now a common feature of most solutions to include a pass code to ensure only personnel in the room can utilise the display, or in education and training environments we see moderator features.
The main challenges come from solutions in the market that have not been tested for mass use or use in close proximity. We often service customers who have invested in technology that when installed struggles to perform due to interference from the same products installed in other rooms. There are some very low cost options out there but at Midwich we chose to focus on solutions suitable for the enterprise.
Following 18 months of exciting launches in collaboration products, what technologies are you seeing increased demand for now?
The demand for software-agnostic hardware is definitely on the rise, particularly popular are the discreet solutions like the conferencing soundbars with integrated cameras. Wireless presentation devices are very popular and the ability to stream or share video is becoming increasingly important to users. What we see in the use case demands is that users regularly want to allow the use of multiple soft codecs. They may wish to utilise multiple VC softwares in house and allow for a uniform experience across all of them. We are starting to see overlay softwares and presence technology in development that will give this single user experience regardless of the cloud service used that will answer this demand.