proprietary vendors like Apple

Credit: Dreamstime

I’ve been covering videoconferencing long enough to watch three significant efforts in the 1980s, ‘90s, and 2000s fail spectacularly for pretty much the same two reasons: proprietary hardware and software and too little interoperability.

You wouldn’t buy a cell phone from that only connected to another phone from the same vendor, right? Yet, it is not unusual for the hardware and software from one videoconferencing vendor to only work with hardware from the same vendor.

Though it seems like this market is stuck in the last century, times are changing. Lately, I’ve been working with hardware from vendors like Poly that work with both Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Teams appears to be making moves towards Zoom, which is consistent with its current effort to embrace interoperability and open source.

Microsoft is the poster child for showing the benefits, in general, of shifting from an old traditional propriety approach to the new — and far more interesting — collaborative and cooperative world of today. It’s doing well and seems to not be at risk of any antitrust issues surrounding dominant proprietary vendors like Apple.

Let’s talk about the slow, but necessary, evolution of collaboration technology that will eventually redefine the collaborative space.

The attraction of a proprietary approach

Using a proprietary model has its advantages. You can better assure quality because you own or control all the elements. You don’t have to worry as much about competitive pricing because your customers have to buy components and software from you.

So, as Apple often demonstrates, you can raise prices to increase revenue and profit. This approach is easier than if you have to set a price in a competitive market where prices are often fluid.

You don’t have to worry as much about customer churn because the cost of leaving your closed platform is high.

And you don’t have to focus intensely on customer satisfaction because, once again, your customer can’t quickly move. You can see why this model was once favoured by most tech firms and is still favoured by companies like Apple and Oracle. It feels like, at least for a while, you can simply mine your customers for money.

The big problem with proprietary

The issue, particularly now, is that it is far harder to maintain that customer lock. Among other reasons, the increasing use of analytics to find and reduce excess operating costs is making customers aware when they’re being overcharged.

Once a critical mass of customers realises that, and a competitor offers up an acceptable way to migrate to a more open architecture, the market will likely pivot.

This proprietary approach is particularly problematic in communications areas like telephony and videoconferencing; buyers need solutions that are open and play well with others because they need to collaborate with peers and customers, many of whom are now remote.

During the pandemic, this has become even more obvious because these systems may not work well together even in the same home. You’ve got one system, your spouse has another and the kids’ school has still another.

Home hardware, in particular, has to work with everyone’s collaborative solution; otherwise, it will have to be replicated with other hardware that works with the other systems. That can dramatically raise the cost of provisioning and supporting employees while lowering their collaboration potential.

The long-term success, or failure, of this current videoconferencing market expansion will depend heavily on how widely interoperability and hardware choices are expanded and supported.

A coming solution?

The no.1 goal of any communications product, be it a smartphone or a video offering, is to communicate successfully. It can’t do that well if it only works with one vendor’s products.

That’s one of the reasons I was so bullish about Nvidia’s Omniverse last week. It provides a universal framework where multiple vendors and multiple hardware solutions could eventually function and it suggests a future path.

It represents a decoupling of hardware and service, much as we do with other cloud solutions today, allowing customers to choose the best hardware for the job knowing it will simply work. This relatively open approach is how the smartphone market works; carriers provide the connectivity, and almost any phone will work with almost any carrier.

Ironically, with PCs, we’re almost there. Your PC will work with virtually any central videoconferencing back end. But the front end, the software, gets in the way.

Eventually, companies like Nvidia will change this dynamic and take over the market, leaving behind the proprietary folks much like what happened to the old IBM and old AT&T. With the industry focus on interoperability I can’t understand why some companies don’t see this threat and pivot to it before it does them critical harm.

Wrapping up: Interoperability is king

Interoperability remains the main priority of any communications product, and yet it’s the most significant unmet requirement from videoconferencing vendors. How the existing players in the market don’t get this, I’ll never understand.

The question I have is whether we’ll get to the right solution during this 10-year cycle or will it be a repeat of the failures we’ve seen for the last three cycles. Remember that saying, “Those that don’t learn from the past are destined to repeat it?” We don’t seem to be learning, and our collective, collaborative futures may depend on eventually getting this right. 

Disclosure: Many of the vendors mentioned are clients of the author.


Japan travel news, japan travel guides, japan holiday destinations and japan reviews

LATEST NEWS

NEWS RELATED

Secondhand retailer Zhuanzhuan Group bags USD 100 million Series D1 from Xiaomi and others

Xiaomi participated in Zhuanzhuan Group’s latest round, as the startup hopes to synergize with Xiaomi’s position in consumer electronics.

Read more: Secondhand retailer Zhuanzhuan Group bags USD 100 million Series D1 from Xiaomi and others

You will now see ads in Instagram Reels

NEW DELHI: Facebook-owned Instagram launched Reels — its TikTok rival — last year. With Instagram Reels, you can create short musical video formats like the ones found on TikTok. It also allows you to record and edit 15-second video clips.Now, the company has introduced ads in Reels. The 30-seconds long…

Read more: You will now see ads in Instagram Reels

Partner Spotlight: Western Australia's Epic IT

The ‘Partner Spotlight’ series explores partners operating in the local channel landscape right around the country, from Cape York to Hobart, Byron Bay to Fremantle and beyond. In this edition, we focus on Queensland and North Perth-based managed services provider (MSP) Epic IT.  When starting up an MSP, owners can…

Read more: Partner Spotlight: Western Australia's Epic IT

TicWatch E3 with Snapdragon Wear 4100, Wear OS launched at Rs 20,999

NEW DELHI: Popular wearable brand Mobvoi has launched its latest smartwatch — TicWatch E3 in India. The smartwatch runs Wear OS and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 chipset.The smartwatch comes with built-in GPS and is backed by a 380mAh battery.The TicWatch E3 comes in Black Panther colour option…

Read more: TicWatch E3 with Snapdragon Wear 4100, Wear OS launched at Rs 20,999

Chinese used car dealer Uxin to raise $315m from NIO, Joy Capital

Source: Ruffa Jane Reyes/Unsplash NIO Capital, the technology fund backed by Chinese electric vehicle (EV) brand NIO, and investment firm Joy Capital have agreed to inject a total of $315 million into Uxin Limited, a Nasdaq-listed Chinese online used car dealer. Concurrently, Beijing-based Uxin agreed with its convertible notes’ holders,…

Read more: Chinese used car dealer Uxin to raise $315m from NIO, Joy Capital

ShareChat parent to buy back ESOPs worth $19 million

Bengaluru: Mohalla Tech, the parent company of regional language social media platform ShareChat and short video app Moj, will buy back employee stocks worth $19.1 million, the company announced on Friday. The move comes a few months after it raised $502 million at a valuation of $2.1 billion, thereby making…

Read more: ShareChat parent to buy back ESOPs worth $19 million

Why businesses need a data integration platform

Data doesn’t sit in one database, file system, data lake, or repository. Data created in a system of record must serve multiple business needs, integrate with other data sources, and then be used for analytics, customer-facing applications, or internal workflows. Examples include: Data from an e-commerce application is integrated with…

Read more: Why businesses need a data integration platform

Windows 11 leak criticised as an early, incomplete build

Windows 11 may be better than we thought. PCWorld has been told by a knowledgeable source close to Microsoft that the leaked Windows 11 build is being characterised as a portion of an incomplete, early build. The source characterised the Windows 11 build as not a final product, saying that…

Read more: Windows 11 leak criticised as an early, incomplete build

Eclipse launches group to shepherd popular Java IDE

Court awards defamation damages over cosmetic surgery Instagram story

Father's Day Gifting Ideas: Here are some of the best tech products to make work-from-home life easier

S. Korea to develop over 100 mini satellites by 2031

Samsung Galaxy F22 appears in Bluetooth SIG certification database

1More ComfoBuds Pro earbuds review: Good audio offering in its price range

S. Korea to develop over 100 mini satellites by 2031

China's Realme to expand India production despite COVID surge

OTHER NEWS