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Wainhouse Research Analysts Predict the Future of Tech for 2018 and Beyond

May 12, 2017

We’ve heard their predictions on everything from web collaboration to educational technologies and more. Wainhouse Research Senior Analyst and Partner Alan Greenberg and Senior Analyst Steve Vonder Haar took shots at making consumer tech predictions at our annual Mediasite User Conference Unleash last week in Madison, Wis.

Read on to find out where they think drones, 3D video and virtual reality fit into the future of streaming video.

You can watch the full keynote here:

Q: What prediction did you get most wrong?

Vonder Haar: I started covering the enterprise streaming market looking at how online video impacts both internal and external business communication back in 2002, and I was rooted in the thought that absolutely, positively we were going to have our hockey stick growth in the 2007 to 2008 timeframe. There was a little bit of a global economic crisis and it derailed us for a bit. From an industry perspective, we’re still waiting for that hockey stick growth, but we’re seeing strong steady growth – 20 percent a year. But it hasn’t been the all-of-a-sudden, Wall Street Journal column six story that is transforming the workplace immediately. Rather, it’s steadily becoming more and more integrated into day-to-day business communications. It’s more of an evolution rather than a revolution.

Greenberg: I didn’t ever really think Second Life was going to be killer, but what I was interested in was that they were doing some amazing innovations like spatial audio. I was mistaken to think that Second Life would even last very long. It’s still around but I’d say it’s pretty much limping. On the other hand … there’s still life in things like Second Life via things like virtual reality and even more to the point, augmented reality.
Q: What prediction did you get most right?

Greenberg: 720 and 1080 HD Video. There were some guys at Wainhouse Research. … who didn’t really see what HD video was going to do for drawing adoption. Even as economic turmoil was taking place in the world economy, HD video was a big driver in driving adoption.

Vonder Haar:  Our move towards hosted streaming solutions as opposed to on-premises deployments. On-premises is still playing a big role in day-to-day business communications, particularly at large enterprises, but the being able to deliver software-as-a-service … is profoundly transforming the entire business of developing streaming technology platforms. I called it three to four years ago that this was going to become a trend. I still don’t think we’ve seen the full impact of hosted solutions quite yet. By 2019 we’re expecting revenues in the enterprise streaming tools market from the hosted side to exceed those from on-premises. The rise of hosted solutions is something that is impacting and coloring my coverage on a day-to-day basis.

Q: What’s the killer application driving interest in streaming video we’re seeing?

Vonder Haar:  When you think about traditional video in the enterprise, it’s historically been the webcast – you integrate video with PowerPoint slides and you do it to deliver worker training, customer training and maybe do lead generation. But that is not the end all, be all for video in the enterprise. Think of video in a new way. We are so conditioned by seeing video in our living rooms, consuming video as a medium on a daily basis. What we really have to do is step back and think that video is not just something we watch. Video is actually a piece of data that can be woven into a wide range of business applications. It’s not just video paired with a PowerPoint slide. It’s a video dropped into the commerce retail site to provide more product information to folks considering purchasing a particular item. Video is something that can be woven into the customer support aspect of operations. Instead of having a long block of text on the screen, they can give me a video that shows me how to put part A and Part B together. You’re using video to communicate the message in a better way. We’re only limited by our imagination. It’s up to vendors like Sonic Foundry to develop software applications that wrap around the video to help us manage the video better and analyze who is viewing that video and ultimately what happens as a result of people watching.

Greenberg: The idea of micro learning is a big deal in learning and development markets. We’re seeing a big bump in the use of video for corporate learning. It can be onboarding. It can be coaching or it can be full-fledged training. In terms of the education market, that’s much more challenging. I would tend to say that where it’s been lecture capture for a long time now, I think it’s going to be analytics that leverage lecture capture and all the other pieces of data that you can gather about a student. Capturing information, creating analytics and tracking outcomes.

Unleash2017-4596Q: In the 80s video killed the radio star. The 90s fear was that video would kill the office, because everyone would work from home. In the 2000s, conferences like Unleash were going to disappear because people could watch online. More recently, there’s been talk of whether we need brick and mortar institutions to learn. The sky is always falling. Why were these predictions wrong?

Vonder Haar: It becomes a change that has to happen on a generational basis. In the 90s, Amazon was going to kill the malls. Well, it’s 2017 and I can still drive down and see things in a mall. But you are starting to have stores like Sears start to feel the pinch of online retail. So that’s the change that’s happening on a generational basis opposed to a (sudden) impact.

Q: People’s appetite to consume video far exceeds their willingness to be on the business end of the camera. Why?

Vonder Haar: It’s much easier to be a viewer than it is to be center stage. But when we do our survey of end users, we say ‘Do you feel like you have the skills or the attributes to produce videos that are good enough to share with others in your organization?’ Fifty percent of respondents 50 years of age and older are not so comfortable. The respondents 33 and younger have no problem. It’s going to become common place to create a video much the same way we sit down and open up a Word document or sit down and draft an email. Creating the video for the next generation is going to be part of what they do every day. One of the things we’re going to expect to see on the product roadmap of any streaming platform provider is integration with these personal collaboration workspaces.

Q: Where do streaming and unified communications come together?

Greenberg:  I’d say within the next five years, it’s going to become more common. But right now you’ve already got certain verticals where it is a requirement. Think about pharmaceuticals and healthcare organizations … financial services.

Vonder Haar: Right now it’s not commonly accepted that a meeting is going to be recorded. At some point we’re going to get to a stage where … people are going to get in trouble if a meeting wasn’t recorded. We’ll have a shift in expectations where it’s going to be part of the general overall business communication that they are expected to be recorded.

Q: What are some things schools and enterprises can do to drive further adoption of video?

Vonder Haar: It’s all about exposure. You’ve got to get … the purchase influencers exposed to webcasts. Take them through baby steps. Regularly send them links to content that is available online that is relevant to them. Have them see online video produce organizational benefits. Even if your organization doesn’t have the webcast production capabilities on hand, point them to webcasts produced by others within your industry. When people see online video in motion, a light bulb goes off. They start thinking ‘How can I use this to advance my own agenda?’ Try to make your executives look good without spending a lot of money. If you have a broom closet, a small, unused conference room where you can … implement a mini studio on a very cost-effective basis, that’s one way to lure people.

Greenberg: On the education side it’s more complicated. There are all these pressures to cut back if you’re in a state or public type of institution. (There are) academics who don’t want to touch it, saying ‘Why should I have to teach using video?’ There’s a ton of information about what’s going on at the institution down the street or across the country. The amount of competitiveness has really taken a bunch of schools by surprise. In education, it’s tracking the outcomes. (I’ve heard people say) ‘We get data. We see the heat maps.’ Last year I talked to the president of Southern New Hampshire University. They advertise very aggressively with commercials to recruit people for their online eLearning programs. Five years ago, Southern New Hampshire was 50th in terms of online learning programs. They’re now fourth in the country.

Unleash2017-4622 (1)Q: Are drones and virtual reality going to impact the state of video dramatically?

Greenberg: I think drones are going to be a big deal. Drones are simply extending your reach in a whole new way. I think drones are going to be huge over the coming years, and I’m a little bit less bullish on virtual reality. That’s going to be a lot like Second Life, a niche application. There are certain verticals where it’s a big deal, for training in particular, and there are use cases in education. But I’m much keener about augmented reality.

Vonder Haar:  I saw the movie The Circle this weekend, a Tom Hanks and Emma Watson thriller (the first half was great. The second half – it’s a rental). But the movie deals with people wearing body cameras and the implications. Twenty years ago that’d be a science fiction piece of work. Now, police officers wearing body cameras on a regular basis … literally cataloguing and capturing their entire day really is not in the absurd realm. It’s a testament to what we’re going to be seeing beyond drones. We’re going to be seeing cameras everywhere.

Q: Since you have a crystal ball, what’s going to happen with video 10 years from now?

Greenberg:  Human intelligence and artificial intelligence. (Technology) comes back (like Google Glass). The idea that I’m a firefighter and I’m rushing to a burning building and I can be wearing the set of glasses. I can have video displaying to me where to find the nearest fire hydrant and what’s going on inside the building. Or, I can be sending out what’s going on inside the building to my colleagues outside. That application is going to save lives and that’s just one vertical application. You’re going to see a lot more of Google Glass and ways where you can be seeing video on the go, not just on smartphones.

Vonder Haar: Machine intelligence. We’re able to capture a video, distribute it more broadly and people are able to get access to that information. We’re already at a point where we have a whole series of startups flowering in Silicon Valley that are all using machine systems to essentially capture and catalogue a range of content. Video is going to be the biggest contributor and the easiest to access. You just turn on a camera, hear somebody talk, have speech to text convert that audio. All of that input (will) feed into a machine intelligence system. Instead of asking the middle manager what they (employees) should be doing, they’ll be asking the computer machine intelligence system what the leader wants them to do. You asked me earlier about the “video killed the radio star.” It could be in the 2020s that video killed the middle manager.

Read more about their trip to Unleash on the Wainhouse Blog: Alan and Steve’s Excellent Adventure – Unleashed in Madison

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