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Whitlock and Partners Keep it Simple, Refine Unified Communication

Panel discussion at Whitlock Convergence Durham turns to collaboration, 4K, BYOD, and simplicity.

Performance and quality of the platform shouldn’t be forsaken in the interest of simplicity.

For example, 4k is creeping into the commercial market after making a big splash at InfoComm 2014. The decision to go 4k or not can be summed up in one question posed to the Whitlock panelists.

“Is 4k something we need, or is it the industry giving us another innovation and telling us it’s a requirement?”

The answer seems to be yes and no. 4k can be great for large-scale video walls or display screens, but it might not be necessary for unified communication. There are applications for it, however, in this context.

“How do we intelligently fracture one display to show multiple things?” Kuhn asked. “This is how we take advantage of 4k in [unified communication].”

Often times you have a display screen with multiple sub-screens, of people around the world or content being shared. Better image quality can improve display performance in this instance. Image quality is also crucial for training, especially in the healthcare and education markets.

Even if you don’t plan to implement 4k right away, “you better get ready for it,” according to the panelists. Consumers are adopting 4k at a steady pace, and when consumer electronics are 4k, everything will be 4k.

The issue of metrics and data should also not be ignored in the pursuit of simplicity. Data is great for the integrator and end user alike, for building platform intelligence, proactive support, enterprise management, and ROI. In the long run, keeping metrics on each unified communications platform will in turn lend itself to better processes and automation in the future.

Related: 17-Foot Projection Screen at Heart of Financial Company’s Collaboration Strategy

“How many of you here have more space than you know what to do with?” asked Jon Ottison, solutions engineer at Crestron Electronics. Zero hands went up in the audience. “I rest my case.”

It’s all about how you use the space you have, he explained. The room should know if there’s a meeting in session or not; it should be able to shut down the projector and turn off the lights when no one is there. “These are the kinds of things we talk about when we talk about managing the enterprise,” he went on. Smart systems are the future of UC.

John Bailey agreed. “I would argue that [data] is becoming a necessity. The Internet of Things is real, and it’s growing. That will have to be managed. If the light switch communicates with the motion detector, what happens when there are 10 things in the room that are all competing? How do we control it? How do we make sure they’re doing what we want them to do? That’s data.”

People are no longer bound by their environment. BYOD is changing the nature of teleconferencing, and the cloud is changing the way we capture and store data. Companies — end users — have options. And unified communication is not meant to shock and awe. Its purpose is to enable companies to do what they do best, without having to think about how.

“It has to be easy, it has to be plug-and-play, and it has to work,” said Frank.

Simple as that.

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