This is the time of year for crystal-ball gazing when everyone starts talking about what the new year might bring.

It’s no secret that I’m passionate about video. I can pinpoint when this passion was sparked: November 2012. It was my first month at Cisco. Excited to dig in and meet my far-flung new team, I started booking flights… and contemplating spending November, December, and a good chunk of January on the road. But then video gear showed up on my desktop. Suddenly I didn’t need to take a 10-hour flight to be with the team in Oslo; I could be there with the touch of a “join” button.

To say this rocked my world is an understatement. It also saved my family’s holiday plans.

It’s also no secret that others share my passion for video. Our customers are buying video gear at an amazing rate: We’ve had double-digit revenue growth in video endpoints for four quarters in a row.

We still have a long way to go.

In fact, we estimate that fewer than 10% of the conference rooms in the world are connected via video today. I see a future where 100% of conference rooms have video. People will be communicating via video on their phones and other devices all day long, and naturally they’ll want it in all the rooms they work in too. We won’t get to 100% in the next 12 months but we will take some pretty huge steps forward. In fact, I predict that by the end of 2016 one in every four rooms will have video.

What steps will get us there? Here are my predictions:

Video will get even easier to use. How much training did it take you to power on and start using your iPhone? That’s how much training you’ll need to install and use the video systems of 2016. None. Video endpoints will be just as easy—and fun—to use.

Video will get even cheaper. For video to be the new voice, making a video call needs to be as cheap as making a voice call. At our recent Global Editors Conference, I talked about how it would someday be cheaper to install floor-to-ceiling video walls than it would be to paint those walls. While paint will still be the cheaper option next December, we will make great strides toward getting awesome video into the hands of everyone. Cloud will be a huge part of the answer. And of course, those using cloud-based video must be able to easily meet with people in more traditional video conference rooms.

It won’t matter who made your gear—it will all work well together. Frankly, video collaboration is still too much of a hassle today. Systems from one vendor don’t always work well with systems from another. It’s the No. 1 reason people revert to phone calls. But 2016 is the year this will end as interoperability becomes the norm not the exception.

Video will go beyond “just” video. We’re just getting started as far as what you can do with video systems. In fact, video systems will expand to take on new roles and new modalities of communications and collaboration beyond voice and images.

To me, it isn’t a question of whether every room will have video—business is demanding it— but a question of when. We in the industry have a huge amount of say over the “when.” My team is stepping up to the plate and you’ll see us make bold moves to make this happen.

We’ll talk more about the future of video at our customer event, Collaboration Summit, in San Francisco next month but between now and then I’d love to hear from you.

What are your thoughts on the future of video?

How will video everywhere rock your world?

Let’s talk on Twitter @rowantrollope


Rowan Trollope

Senior Vice President and General Manager

IoT and Collaboration Technology Group