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Conferencing's Hybrid Future

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Learn more about enterprise video at Streaming Media West 2021.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Andy Howard: In terms of our business, initially, when the pandemic hit, there was a lot of, "Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?" I've had Deloitte as one of my clients for a long time. And they were actually moving to Zoom prior to all this happening. We did a study for them in 2019 about how that would affect their network. But overnight, they went from 20,000 people who were doing the trial to over 200,000 on Zoom because everybody got sent home. So obviously that's challenging. And then they started saying, "Well, how does this impact our whole business moving forward with Zoom Rooms and things like that?" So a lot of companies were having difficulty figuring out "How do I connect my remote people back into the office?" whether it's VPN or whatever, but still have them be able to have a good experience over video.

So that was kind of early on. And then it was always, "Well, what are we gonna do when people come back to the office?" And that was going to be last fall. And then it was beginning of the year, and then it was going to be this summer. And now it looks like people are really finally saying this fall. With all the vaccines rolling out and everything, we are going to be having people go back into the office. And honestly, I think that people want to go back into the office, but moving forward, just like in the entertainment world, I think there's going to be hybrid-type events. So now if you've got a bunch of people that are still in the office, there's still a bunch of people that are going to be remote.

So you have to be able to allow for those people to have a good experience, and the way that a lot of conference rooms are set up, it's not going to allow that, because you still have the big, long tables with the camera up front. And when you have one Hollywood squares kind of like we're doing now, but you're talking to one room and there's a bunch of people up there, but then there's one room with a big long table, you can't even see the people in the room. So there are going to be things like that from user experience that are going to have to change moving forward. And then also from a networking perspective. So I think what people have learned is that once you get it all set up and you're using Zoom or you're using Microsoft Teams or WebEx, when you're at your home, you can connect straight out to the cloud.

It doesn't even touch company network, but when people come back into the office, it's going to be a whole different thing because, much like when you have your house and you've got kids on Xbox and people doing remote schooling, and you have bandwidth challenges, that's the same environment that you have in the office. So, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people, all trying to go out and do things over video over your existing internet network. The amount of video that was going over networks is monumentally higher now than it was back in the day. So when people come back into the office, I think there's going to be challenges there. But, overall, I think it's been a good thing for companies to learn the fact that video is a very effective tool and that we should continue to use it moving forward.

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