Design for Innovation


27 April 2016 - TIM HAWK

We want to feel connected. Especially those of us who are in the Millennial generation. If you are under the age of 35, you thrive on connection in all forms. In person is important. Written communications through today’s latest technology is more important, since it allows connectivity when we are remote from one another. Many forms are harnessed, including texting, emailing, digital chatting, instant messaging, and social media platforms. However, any form of communication which includes visual images will be the most popular. If we compare social media, emerging generations much prefer those platforms which allow the user to support their communication with pictures or video. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are very popular, but there is no clear winner since each platform uses videos and pictures. Why is video preferred over text?

We want to gain the best, most reliable method for instantaneous connectivity without physically being there. We have a burning desire to connect IMMEDIATELY. We must connect NOW.

And we are finally at a point where we can quickly connect visually. Thank you!

So, why on earth has business been so slow to adopt this form of communication? Well, it is a long story driven by a lack of reliability and the tremendous cost of developing the infrastructure that allows such sophisticated video conferencing to support business. The truth: if video and voice is not reliable, we tune out and give up the pursuit. And, until just recently, we didn’t have reliable technology to support the transfer of high quality image transfer.

We simply needed to build demand for a serious investment in this technology. We have finally reached that point, and have arrived in large part through the shift in demand that is a ground swell movement by Millennials.  Interesting.

Watch the timeline of communications technology unfold and the gaps between successive jumps.


1876. The telephone, invented by Alexander Graham Bell, was awarded the first U.S. patent.
1904. Three million phones in the United States were connected by manual switchboard exchanges.


1950. Bell Labs engineers proposed hexagonal cell transmissions for mobile phones in 1947. On April 3, 1973, Motorola manager Martin Cooper placed a cellular phone call in front of reporters.


1964. AT&T Picturephone is released which allows one to view a person on the other end. The technology is not readily adopted based upon poor quality and high price.

1972-1984. French innovators developed commercial applications for videotelephony.

1985. Japan’s Atari Video Game Company releases the Mitshubishi Lumaphone. The device cost $1,500 for a 1.6 inch black and white video stream.

1997. Kyocera Corporation releases the VP-210 VisualPhone, the world’s first color video phone.

2007. The Apple iPhone was released offering wide-ranging personal access to video conferencing.

2010. Large-scale, high quality videoconferencing devices were being assimilated into the large corporations across America. But they only provided limited access to this amenity. Fast forward.

2016. Now. Video conferencing is finally being delivered to all employees in order to increase productivity, speed, and effectively. In our global economy, business, institutional, and educational leaders know that speed wins, and the investment has now reached a tipping point for embedded technologies.

Simply put, we learn more from one another when we can see one another. Using all of our senses allows us to best understand one another. We want to have a virtual experience that simulates reality as much as possible. And we want it to work seamlessly, without encumbrance.

Maybe someday we will have a true virtual experience. For now, we will live with our current technology, regardless of the limitations.

As a comic break, check out this video of a Video Conference Call in real life. This is absolutely hilarious.