proprietary vendors like Apple

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

BMW S 1000 R motorcycle launched in India at Rs 17.9 lakh

German luxury automotive group BMW on Tuesday launched the all-new BMW S 1000 R motorcycle model in India with price starting at Rs 17.9 lakh (ex-showroom). The second generation BMW S 1000 R is being imported as a completely built-up unit (CBU) and can be booked at all BMW Motorrad…

Read more: BMW S 1000 R motorcycle launched in India at Rs 17.9 lakh

Google shows duration of ongoing calls in the status bar on Android 12 Beta 2

One of the key new Android 12 features announced at Google I/O 2021 was Privacy Dashboard. The second beta rollout of Android 12 is finally here. Android 12 Beta 2 will bring many of the best features of Android 12 to life that may have not been available previously. The…

Read more: Google shows duration of ongoing calls in the status bar on Android 12 Beta 2

Meron Capital launches USD 50 million fund to invest in promising Israeli entrepreneurs

One Meron co-founder says the firm is like a ‘startup investing in startups.’

Read more: Meron Capital launches USD 50 million fund to invest in promising Israeli entrepreneurs

London’s LED neon light startup Yellowpop closes $4M as growth funding

Since the innovation of neon lights, many changes have been applied to them to make them more efficient. LED neon lights are one of them that made it more efficient to use domestically and for industrial use. London-based, Yellowpop – a home brand specialising in LED neon signs, recently announced…

Read more: London’s LED neon light startup Yellowpop closes $4M as growth funding

A case for cloud repatriation, but let’s be careful before extrapolating to mainstream enterprises

Challenging some of the Silicon Valley influencers who've made the case for cloud repatriation...

Read more: A case for cloud repatriation, but let’s be careful before extrapolating to mainstream enterprises

ByteDance scores its first mobile game hit in China in ongoing battle with market leader Tencent

A video game developed by TikTok owner ByteDance was China’s fifth-biggest mobile game by revenue in May, demonstrating the company’s potential as a challenger to Tencent Holdings’ dominance of the lucrative sector. One Piece: The Voyage, a pirate-themed game developed by CMGE Technology Group and Nuverse, a game studio wholly…

Read more: ByteDance scores its first mobile game hit in China in ongoing battle with market leader Tencent

Route Mobile finds place in ROCCO SMS Messaging Vendor Benchmarking Report 2021

Cloud communications platform Route Mobile has announced that it has been recognised as the top tier one provider in the Annual ROCCO A2P SMS Messaging Vendor Benchmarking Report 2021 in MNO Edition as well as in the Enterprise Edition.The company said that this marks Route Mobile’s fifth appearance as a…

Read more: Route Mobile finds place in ROCCO SMS Messaging Vendor Benchmarking Report 2021

Apple unveils Beats Studio Buds with active noise cancellation

Beats have announced new premium earbuds with active noise cancellation and a five hour battery life Apple‘s prized audio product manufacturer, Beats, has launched new premium wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation and an IPX4 rating (which means it is resistant to sweat and water splashes). The compact earbuds can…

Read more: Apple unveils Beats Studio Buds with active noise cancellation

How restaurants in India are bypassing the duopoly of Zomato and Swiggy

EU court backs national data watchdog powers in blow to Facebook, Big Tech

Samsung unveils new multi-chip package for 5G smartphones

AI enters debt collection: London startup Ophelos secures £1.6M funding

‘Everwild’ release date, gameplay: Rare’s adventure game goes through complete reboot, report says

NTU scientists develop robots the size of a rice grain that may help in surgery

SG data centre provider Digital Edge acquires Indonesian IT firm Indonet for $165m

Why businesses need a data integration platform

OTHER NEWS