Recent news has explained how people can now use their smartphones to open up their hotel room doors. That’s a form of Bluetooth authentication. Think about it. "I have my phone. it’s always mine. I have a password for the phone and I have a password that the hotel gave me. Why do I need a key? Everything’s there in my Bluetooth signal."
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a conference room at a typical company and have it know you’re there because it read your smartphone and it knows it’s yours? You enter your password and all of a sudden your meeting launches, your content is brought up and ready and it tells you who’s on-line and who's still missing?
We’re going to see a lot more technology like that, where the Internet of everything is going to make systems talk to each other in a way never imagined. Obviously it has to be engineered in a way so that it doesn’t launch unless we want it to. But, once we're ready, everything will just come together automatically.
It’s no longer just going to be the lip-service of the big players that claim they want interoperability, but do nothing to make it happen. There are now third-party companies that are coming out with the capability linking the systems of major manufacturers, which is going to force some of these large companies to change the way they’re doing things.
No matter if it's called unified communication, unified collaboration, visual collaboration or just multimedia – it is now a specialized combined practice that requires an expert managing it. It can no longer function in the separate silos of the telephony person, the IT person, the video person, the conference room person and the AV person. We are starting to see more organizations pull somebody out of those niches or silos and appoint that person to break them down. It's traditionally been a political maelstrom to navigate, but it's finally starting to happen. Three years ago, this wasn't the case.
Technology used to be something that was driven by whatever IBM sold to AT&T and made a lot of. That’s why we got the PCAT and all the other consumer business tools. Now, in order to create a great product for the enterprise, many companies are making it great for the consumer and expect them to drive into the enterprise.
That’s why a lot of us are using iPhones and not BlackBerries. Steve Jobs and Apple created a product that every consumer wanted. Then, once it was in widespread use, the demand for it in the enterprise became so great that some management strategy had to be adopted around it.
This trend is going to continue. Consumerization will drive enterprise strategy going forward.
Products like Skype, FaceTime and ooVoo have become very popular video conferencing tools for consumers. They've taken the next generation – the millenials and even younger – and convinced them that visual communication is easy.
These people enter the workforce and say, “What do you mean I need a Telepresence room to do a conference? I don't need to book a room or spend $100,000. That’s crazy. I have it on my phone. Here, let me show you.”
People are now used to using the technology tools as part of their lives. They know it's easier and cheaper than the tools businesses have used to date.
This next generation of workers not only demand collaboration, but expect to watch whatever TV or media content they want wherever they are on whatever screen they have with them. That generation is moving into the workforce now and bring with them the expectation that all these tools can work together.