We’re all individuals until we have to choose a tech team.
For all the elasticity and seemingly boundless reach of the digital age, you make a choice every time you pick a computer, a smartphone, a social media platform, or a video conferencing vendor. You are entirely free to make your choice, and in many cases, there’s really not a lot of difference between the features and functions available with one product versus another, but once your decision is made you are excluding as many options as you are embracing.
These mutually exclusive choices are everywhere:
Mac or PC?
iOS or Android?
Instagram or Snapchat?
Slack or Teams?
Zoom or BlueJeans?
You have to pick a team. Once you do, you place yourself on one side of a digital fence and may have trouble reaching those on the other side.
That is, unless there’s a third party involved to build a bridge across that fence. That’s what video vendor Lifesize has done with its latest offering, Lifesize Share, which lets you run an Apple conference room display over the same connection as you would a PC presentation.
It’s an agnostic solution to a partisan problem that has so far made bring-your-own-device flexibility in the workplace something of a tangled mess. And it is only going to become more important as digital communications continue to diversify–and as workplace collaboration through unified communications becomes increasingly commonplace and trendy.
Digital Means Binary
The most famous “tech team” rivalry is still the most prevalent in the modern office: Apple versus Microsoft–or Mac versus PC, as it was once anthropomorphized in an advertising campaign.
Despite the social profiling going on in those old ads, it doesn’t matter what side of the divide you prefer, because most offices contain at least some element of the other option. And that can make it hard for groups of people to share digital information across common presentation platforms.
While Windows has been the dominant form of computer platform for most of the internet age, the problem has been exaggerated in the smartphone age
Apple and Microsoft use entirely different forms of connection to the outside world of presentation room peripherals. Share a conference room with a Mac user and your Windows-based laptop will need its own unique cords and ports to access the same screen.
While Windows has been the dominant form of computer platform for most of the internet age, the problem has been exaggerated in the smartphone age since the balance between Apple and Google’s Android on mobile is much evener.
So, while you may want to live in a BYOD world where individuals and teams can share their work directly from their personal devices, promoting instant, seamless whiteboard-to-boardroom dynamics, you actually have to be prepared in advance for the necessary cord shuffling.
Or, get something like Lifesize Share.
Lifesize Share Lets You Create an Apple Conference Room Display
Lifesize has gone through a lot of change over the past decade. It emerged from an unsuccessful merger with webcam manufacturer Logitech to transform itself from a traditional on-premises video conferencing vendor into a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider.
Its Share functionality is an example of that dynamic shift. The product lets you pair any Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device with a common presentation screen. It was recently upgraded to allow Apple Airplay integration as well, making it one of the most well-rounded displays currently available.
As BYOD becomes more popular in the modern flexible workforce, agnostic devices such as Share are going to become very important.
It’s a form of screencasting or mirroring that is precise enough to let you share specific application windows and tabs, along with the standard whole-screen option, from most digital devices. In the presentation room, it means you can project anything you can capture on your personal screen onto a shared device–a video, a live video call or stream, documents, multimedia, and so on.
As BYOD becomes more popular in the modern flexible workforce, agnostic devices such as Share are going to become very important. They offer a solution to the continued diversification of communications.
Agnostic Options in an Age of Silos
Lifesize isn’t alone in its agnostic, universal approach to hardware connectivity. Peripheral manufacturers such as Logitech have long known the advantages of producing webcams, headsets, and wireless keyboards that will work with different operating systems.
That approach isn’t typical of digital communications, however, especially the world of video conferencing and meeting room displays. Buy a fancy new presentation device like a digital whiteboard from Microsoft or Google, for instance, and you’ll find your new toy is “optimized” to work with that company’s own video and word processing offerings. (If you’re looking for a digital whiteboard that isn’t determined to keep you within its company’s ecosystem, check out the Mondopad).
If you thought the Mac or PC debate was tiring, wait until the attendees in your video meeting are divided among all of the Big 5 tech companies.
Apple is perhaps the most jealous when it comes to tying its devices to its own software and apps. You can run Skype on an iPhone but there’s only one platform that will accommodate FaceTime…even after the app’s shiny new upgrade.
This silo mentality is likely only going to get worse. Facebook is now making webcam-type devices, as is Amazon, and both devices place calls across branded servers and platforms such as Amazon Chime. If you thought the Mac or PC debate was tiring, wait until the attendees in your video meeting are divided among all of the Big 5 tech companies.
Lifesize Share is the kind of universal adaptor we’re going to see come to the fore as these tech giants attempt to make us chose digital sides for our communications. Like the one-size-fits-all power adaptors that were once essential to travel through Europe, universal presentation displays could soon become standard in every office.