August 17, 2016
Google this week added yet another chat app to the mix with Duo, a smartphone-only video chat application that bridges the gap between iOS and Android devices. Rather than solve the problem of interoperation between different video chat applications, though, it made another application altogether.
The killer video chat app will be the one that works like a telephone. Regardless of your carrier, device, or network, you can dial a number anywhere in the world and talk to someone on the other end. Google, Apple, Facebook, Snapchat and others who offer video calling: take a page from the enterprise. The problems that consumers face now with video chat applications are the same ones that enterprises overcame years ago with interoperation standards. Enterprise videoconferencing systems for years have boasted interoperation standards like H.323 and SIP so that systems from Cisco, Polycom, and other vendors could all talk to each other. The consumerization of IT is flipped in this case. Traditionally we’re used to having a better experience outside of the enterprise than within, but when it comes to video chat the enterprise wins.
The good news about Duo is that it connects Android and iOS users. Apple’s Facetime doesn’t. With Duo you can talk to anyone, regardless of their OS.
The bad news is that Duo still falls short because it is yet another point solution that you need to install. After installing the Android application, I invited my iPhone-using niece to install Duo via a text message triggered from inside of the Duo app. “Use FaceTime?” she responded, forgetting that I was on an Android device. “Can’t we just use Facebook Messenger, then?” she asked. Of course we can. We could use a handful of other applications, too.
This installation problem is one that will ultimately slow the adoption of video chat. Customers will adopt the product slowly, because it will take time to generate awareness. Vendors–too scared to mix up products–will suffer. While Duo is one step forward in interoperation it’s two steps back in adding yet another application into the mix.
Have you tried Duo? What are your thoughts? How does it compare to your experience in the enterprise? Comment below or find me on Twitter.
Image credit: Google