This week, Las Vegas is hosting the Consumer and Electronics Show 2018 showcasing the latest technologies for Smart Cities, Smart Homes and Smart Everything…
The world we live in is undeniably getting SMART. The Internet of “Smart” Things is everywhere in our daily life. Whether we like it or not, there is no way back. Let’s take the example of a truly Smart City, like Singapore, to understand what I am describing.
The Internet of “SMART” Things
Singapore is a Smart Nation to be more precise. In the Lion City, Smart Citizens build Smart Homes equipped with a Smart Television, connected to a Smart Broadband Network, and powered by a Smart Grid.
Every day, Smart Workers, and Smart Students use their Smart Devices do some really Smart Work while using the Smart Transportation System.
Of course, we use a Smart App to share the ride or even pay for the fare. People can even opt to take a Smart Bike if they want an extra work out session monitored in-real-time thanks to their Smart Watch.
Then, we get to a Smart Building, clear security using a Smart Card, then use a Smart Elevator to get to a Smart Workplace to attend a virtual meeting with some Smart People using a conference phone… Wait, did I miss something? Where did “Smart” go?
Everything around us has become Smart. All phones have become Smart except this iconic collaboration tool, king of the voice call era.
In this blog, I explain why innovation has been quite slow in that space and why it is time for organization to consider empowering employees with Smart Conference Phones instead.
Looking back to look forward
To understand where unified communication and collaboration technologies are heading, it is important to look at major innovations throughout the history of telecommunications.
- 1876: The first phone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10th.
- 1964: The world’s first videophone call was made by AT&T using the Picturephone.
- 1973: The first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by Motorola and Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was developed by Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cerf.
- 1992: Polycom shipped its first conference phone called the SoundStation.
- 1996: Mirabilis introduced ICQ, the first instant messaging client which was then bought by AOL in 1998.
- 1999: RIM released the BlackBerry 850 and ten years later it would be crowned the fastest growing company on the planet.
- 2000: Cisco launched Cisco CallManager (CCM) 3.0 three years after the acquisition of Selsius.
- 2005: Google introduced Google Talk, a free instant messaging service for Gmail users.
- 2006: Skype adds video calling on Windows in March of 2006.
- 2007: Apple changed the Mobile Phone industry with the launch of the first iPhone and Microsoft introduced Office Communication Server (OCS 2007) the same year.
- 2008: Google introduced the Android operating system for mobile phones and later the same year HTC launched the first ever Android phone in the market.
- 2010: Steve Jobs announced the availability of FaceTime video calling on iPhone 4.
- 2013: Google controls more than 80% of the Smart Phone operating systems market.
- 2015: Twenty-five years after the company was founded, Polycom released RealPresence Trio, a new conference phone supporting voice, content-sharing and video.
- 2017: WhatsApp announced that its 1.2 billion monthly active users make 55 million video calls per day totaling 340 million video calling minutes. Cisco launched Spark. Microsoft released Teams.
- 2018: On 8.1.18, Nuage Solutions launched the world’s first Smart Conference Phone called ROOMIE Triyang Series which is both platform-agnostic and multipurpose.
The Consumer Enterprise
Businesses used to be the driving force behind consumer technology innovations and trends. But now, the reverse is happening. Consumers, who are employees as well, are now forcing Businesses to adopt at work similar technologies to the one they use at home or on the go.
In 2009, Intel recognized as an increasing tendency among its employees to bring their own to work and connect them to the corporate network. BYOD has been characterized as a feature of the “consumer enterprise” in which enterprises blend with consumers. It has become a norm for many organizations.
For many years, enterprise hardware and software vendors had enjoyed a “controlled” pace of innovation pace. They could release new products or services “only when the time was right” for them. Business decisions were made to avoid product cannibalization at all cost.
Speed of innovation is everything. It dictates a company’s ability to enter, grow or even lead their market segment. When self-preservation becomes more critical than innovation, it is the day companies open the door for other players to enter the market. When companies have no legacy business to protect, they simply take on the market by storm with disruptive innovation.
To quote Michael Coté, a former industry analyst with RedMonk,“The kind of technological innovations that people get obsessed with don’t tend to come from the bowels of some big glass tower somewhere, or some back-office system. They come from Facebook, Google and Twitter.”
While other vendors where battling in the Cloud, we simply focused on developing a multipurpose conference phone that can connect to any consumer or enterprise platform, whether in the Cloud or On-Premise. That seemed, let’s say the Smart way to go.
What makes a phone SMART?
According to Wikipedia, a Smartphone is a mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded apps.
Therefore, a Smart Conference Phone should be a triangular phone designed for team collaboration that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded apps. This is where we started to design ROOMIE® Triyang™ Series.
Unlike traditional IP conference phones and hardware-based video conferencing systems available in the market, ROOMIE® Triyang™ Series run on Android 5.1 operating system and feature a 5.5” Touch-Screen giving the freedom to customers to install and use any compatible App just like on their smartphone.
Thanks to ROOMIE® Triyang™ Series, users can connect with colleagues, suppliers, clients and partners using their favorite Mobile Apps including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line, WeChat, YouTube, Skype, Hangouts, Viber, Duo and many more….
Employees can also leverage Unified Communication, Conferencing, Streaming and Collaboration Applications from companies like Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, Polycom, Adobe, PGi, Deltapath, Broadcom, Mitel, Shoretel, Zoom, Lifesize, BlueJeans, AT&T, Sprint, Arkadin, Telefonica, Vodafone and many more….
The possibilities are endless. If you can do it with your Android Smartphone you certainly can do it with a Smart Conference Phone. Controlling smart devices and systems such as displays, lights, temperature, blinds has become easy. Even streaming media and watching surveillance camera feeds is also possible.
The consumer enterprise is a phenomenon that both Business and IT leaders can no longer ignore and should use to their advantage whenever possible. Given that the use of Android devices, within corporate networks, is less and less of a concern, organizations should consider investing in Smart Conference Phones for their employees.
One of the main benefits is technology adoption and utilization. 85% of Smartphone users are using Android today. This means that the majority of Smartphone users already knows how to use ROOMIE® Triyang™. User training will be minimal, saving precious time and money for IT departments.
One thing for sure is that the enterprise communication vendors of yesterday will not survive if they fail to adapt and innovate faster. The Smartphone industry is a perfect illustration of that. ROOMIE Triyang is as disruptive as Apple iPhone when it first came out in 2007. Who would think that players like Blackberry, Nokia and Motorola used to lead the mobile handset market before Smartphones and Apps came along?