iPads, Kindles, Netflix, and Video Collaboration

Why do iPads do so well despite being underpowered as computers?

Why does Netflix do so well regardless of only TV and movie media offerings?

Why do Kindles do so well when all they do is display and annotate books?

What these three things have in common is that they only do what they do well.

iPads are really multimedia content systems.  They don’t need to be more powerful than a smart phone to do this well.  Any other computing done on an iPad is at a level that does not require a full-fledged PC.  Netfllix delivers a specific type of content.  They’ve remained nimble in a changing market, not staying tied to a particular format (which hurt Blockbuster), but rather pursuing any means—physical, streaming, or whatever’s next—to accomplish the goal.  Kindles don’t try to have movies run on them, nor spreadsheets.  They display books…that’s it.

Microsoft is notorious for trying to pack entire desktop PCs into devices that aren’t (here’s a recent story on that from ZDnet).  The complexity, power drain, and technical issues this creates has kept Microsoft from competing well in the tablet and mobile markets.

Now, let’s ask ourselves how this translates into video collaboration systems.

What sounds better to you:

1)      A system costing tens of thousands per room that tries to do far more than is needed for successful collaboration and uses proprietary equipment.  The complexity requires hours to set up each meeting which, even then, may not run smoothly.


2)      A system costing 1/5th as much (or less), uses off-the-shelf equipment that connects via USB and can begin a collaboration session in a couple clicks of the mouse.

Obviously I’ve written this to push VSee, but the analogy works with nearly anything.  Please consider these examples when planning your projects and designs.

Comments ( 3 )
  • admin
    Rich Grifin says:

    Which isn’t to say that VSee cannot be used in a room setting. At my last gig, I had set up a room system with a 54″ LCD, Logitech, WebCam 9000 and a Phoenix Audio Quattro running on a fast PC with an Ethernet connection in our main conference room. I had to set the zoom to capture the room participants better; but it worked great. As we had great connectivity, I was able to set it to high res with 30fps and wideband audio.

    A bluetooth mouse and keyboard allowed the PC to be out of the way. When we weren’t showing files or webpages we would set the peripherals out of the way for a clean, professional view on the room.

    The best part was when I used nearly the same setup to compare LifeSize Express. The user experience was about the same for audio and video but LifeSize’s doc sharing is flakey. When I showed the CFO the price sheets for both he nearly fell out of his chair at what LifeSize cost. (The caveat is that LifeSize connects to *most* H.323 Gatekeepers/MCUs/Endpoints; whereas VSee [at the time] connected only to other VSee clients.)

  • admin
    john says:

    Great set up, btw. I like using the bluetooth devices. I hope I didn’t imply we avoid rooms. I very much endorse VSee for rooms! In fact, we have a meeting every week where we use a room set up! And, of course, there’s this recent post

  • admin
    Rich Griffin says:

    Yeah, the post on room setups is great. I used only one camera because it would require too much switching of video windows and I was using fullscreen (on an older version of VSee that still offered that layout option.) When we had 4-way calls, I’d instruct folks to scale the various windows during pre-meeting setup.

    The weakest part of that setup is the camera. I couldn’t justify the cost of the HD Sony – but that would have been ideal then. Adding continuous presence screen layout pre-sets would be helpful along with the newer Ctrl-T window positioning arrangement. (hint, hint 🙂

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