The messy future of synchronous communication

TrackTrack 3 (Auditorium 3)
DescriptionMaking sense of H323, Lync, SIP, web conferencing, Skype and the rest
The Norwegian higher education community uses a variety of tools to facilitate synchronous online communication: audio & video calls, group calls, webinars etc. Our tool box is well equipped with mobile phones, a national SIP infrastructure, H323 video conferencing, Microsoft Lync, web conferencing tools (AdobeConnect), free tools (Skype), etc.
While all these tools offer similar functionality, they differ substantially on many aspects: historical background, the basic problem they address, market positioning, price points, deployment strategy, supported platforms, technology and more.
In the years to come we will need to deal with this wide variety of tools as none of them is going to go away any time soon. No one single tool addresses the various use cases well enough at an interesting price point to make that happen, there's always some pesky "little" detail in the way. Compounding this is the lack of community consensus and synchronised timelines. Existing investments and the FUD caused by expected market changes (HTML5! Google! Facebook!) top it off.
All this is of little interest to those trying to get their job done: students, lecturers, researchers and staff who want "stuff that works" that doesn't cost them an arm and a leg.
They expect us to come up with the answers. This talk will explore how the current tools for synchronous communication relate to one-another from a user-centric and the institutional/national service delivery point of view. It will mix user experience, technical and business considerations.
The talk will make some educated guesses about future directions, based on two years experience with the problem space through the Norwegian eCampus project, a national effort to take the technical infrastructure needed for net-based learning and research to the next level.

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