And today Google announced the official launch of Google Duo its consumer friendly Video Conferencing product. From what I’ve seen so far Google Duo is nothing particularly special. Like Apple Facetime, Microsoft Skype, Google’s own Hangouts, and a host of others it’s simply another consumer based Video Conferencing solution, so why does it matter?
There are a few reasons
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The media has gone mad for it.
This matters because millions of people are seeing the narrative of simple to use, personal video conferencing. Users don’t care about, nor understand standards, they simply want to make calls, and if it requires multiple applications to talk to multiple people so be it. After all that do that every day with their messaging apps, why not with video? Of course they need some technology in their huddle spaces and meeting rooms, but in this sort of world it's going to be an effective accelerator, not a completely different solution.
No interop? No worries
None of the Press reviews are complaining about a lack of interop between any of these systems, and none have a word to say about the traditional Video Conferencing market. The zeitgeist is not on the side of the traditional Video Conferencing market.
It's getting Worse/Better
It’s is only going to get worse / more pervasive. The big boys have never had a problem building their own walled garden, even tiny new entrants like Highfive and HELLO seem to think it’s perfectly fine to build something completely proprietary.
Behavior is changing
As I wrote last year. Video Conferencing. You work it out. Is a failed strategy. The days of monolithic solutions, catering for a single rigid way of working are over. Users want the flexibility to use tools of their choosing, in ways that make sense to them. That requires a flexible approach, something that no one solution can provide. Even if an organization decides there is to be one corporate answer it’s extremely unlikely that everyone they ever want to communicate with will also use that one solution. Much easier to have a corporate standard but also empower the users to use the tools they want, than try and keep to a rigid standard. Just ask Blackberry.
A new world order
As a result of these changes
- flexibility is becoming more important than consistency
- a familiar UI more important than an “intuitive” one
- ubiquitous deployment beats some ultimate quality every single time.
About the Author: Simon Dudley
Simon is a contrarian. He makes a habit of being the guy who questions the orthodoxy, the guy who doesn’t believe it just because the good and the great said it’s true. This has not always been good for his ascent up the corporate greasy pole. However it’s been very good for his employers if they are prepared to listen.
The Book The End of Certainty "How to thrive when playing by the rules is a losing strategy" explains why groupthink and the doing what you’ve always done is no longer the right move.
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