Video is the new voice. Great marketing terminology but for now the marketing cart is ahead of the horse (although the immense marketing and sales muscle behind Cisco telepresence has been enough to convince some not to worry about where the horse is). But the good news is video can be better than the new voice; it can be a critical part of the new converged, multi-modality communications/applications world.
Jeff Pulver, VoIP evangelist extraordinaire, coined the “purple minutes” term as a way to describe the use of voice to spawn, extend and enrich other apps, and using other apps to extend voice usages. Purple minutes were important for VoIP such that VoIP wouldn’t “just” enable cheaper phone calls, it would enable a more robust voice experience, meaning VoIP would disrupt both business/cost models and user experience. For video, purple video sessions are analogous to purple VoIP minutes, and the session can leverage multiple voice, video and data services and apps.
Video – especially telepresence quality video – is paradigm changing in that it facilitates distance independent interaction. This is a hard concept to grasp unless you actually experience telepresence – telepresence is not just better video chat or improved enterprise videoconferencing – it is an entirely different experience that is not quantified in terms of pixels, bandwidth or codec technology. Webcam video and traditional videoconferencing simply add a dimension to voice; telepresence is a separate dimension – one which can be a substitute for face to face and facilitate distance independent interaction.
There are already extremely interesting use cases for purple video sessions, and most we won’t even identify until video sessions are more pervasive. These purple video use cases apply to both telepresence (immersive) video and non-immersive video, powerful in its own right. On the immersive side, think of purple education applications and purple healthcare applications for a start.
Before you close this tab and dismiss it as purple pie in the sky gobble gook…this doesn’t mean that all interaction becomes distance independent, or all apps and services incorporate video (this is a non-zero-sum game and these statements aren’t binary). My head is in the clouds but I can still see the ground ; ).
However, if the video industry (the entire video ecosystem) prioritizes “purple” and executes properly, then it does change the world, and video will be more than just the new voice, video will linchpin deep purple unified communications applications.
Back to current reality for a second though – right now video calling and telepresence is fairly close to where VoIP (voice over IP) was in the late 90s from a technology perspective – leading or bleeding edge. For me personally, it is eerily similar. Working on video calling interoperability causes flashbacks from trying to get VoIP interoperability working between Cisco, Vocaltec, Clarent and Lucent in the ITXC labs to implementing in production with millions of VoIP minutes per day of customer traffic. Then maintaining the interop through new features, new releases, session border controllers, etc. Buckle up, video world, it is a rough road. But purple video sessions await and they are paradigm disrupting.Google+