One of the industries hopes for 2016 is that we will see spectacular growth in the use of video as a means of communication. Currently video is not that big, despite several VoIP hosted service providers offering integrated video conferencing. The reason that VC is lagging is due to the perceived costs, interoperability, the quality of experience and the annoying requirement to use plug-ins or downloads. This was always a problem, getting all participants using the same application whether that be Skype or Cisco WebX. Both applications were free, but it was a pain having to get everyone to agree or to download the applications.
Fortunately, video became a standard component in several major UCaaS providers hosted services in 2015. Companies like RingCentral have made video conferencing affordable for their SMB customers. This is simply because video is easy for them to implement into their existing services. However, not everyone likes or feels comfortable using video, often preferring voice conferencing instead. The result is that some SMB businesses showed a lack of desire for VC or more likely were not willing to pay extra for the service and as a result, many UCaaS providers made VC an optional extra. Other UCaaS providers have adopted a different strategy, by keeping VC as an entirely different service. This is natural enough as previously VC systems were dedicated hardware-based systems with a vertical market of their own and with specialist vendors.
However, all that is likely to be a thing of the past as WebRTC gets more traction in 2016. By using WebRTC based applications, anyone with a browser can make video calls using their device without any additional software. Furthermore, any VoIP or UC service provider that can provide high quality video from the cloud will have a video component, thanks to WebRTC. This means any hosted VoIP or UCaaS provider can them provide carrier class VC without any plugins and as the user’s browser works without plugins or software everyone will communicate over video seamlessly.
All that is holding it back is getting people accustomed to and feel comfortable making video calls.