With 2012 just around the corner, the JofA gathered the three technology keynote speakers from the AICPA’s 2011 Practitioners Symposium/TECH+ Conference to talk about tech trends heading into the new year. The nearly 90-minute conversation covered a wide range of technical issues critical to all CPAs.
Participating in the call were:
- David Cieslak, CPA/CITP, aka Inspector Gadget, a principal with Arxis Technology.
- Randy Johnston, executive vice president of both Network Management Group Inc. and K2 Enterprises.
- Rick Richardson, CPA/CITP, founder and CEO of Richardson Media & Technologies.
Moderating the call were:
- J. Carlton Collins, technology and accounting systems consultant and author of the JofA’s monthly Technology Q&A column.
- Jeff Drew, senior editor covering technology for the JofA.
The JofA is presenting the online version of the conversation in 10 installments released over a nearly two-month span. Each part focuses on one major topic and features audio clips from the conversation. Part 10 looks at the changing face of video technology.
The complete schedule is available at the bottom of this article and at journalofaccountancy.com/tech.
Audio: Click here to listen as Rick Richardson, Randy Johnston and Dave Cieslak discuss innovations in video conferencing.
Drew: OK. Well, guys, let’s wrap up with our last topic, which is video, and I’ll just ask one question. What’s new or will be new next year in the areas of video technology? And Rick, would you like to start us off on that?
Richardson: Sure. Two things. One, I think we’re going to see a lot more use of videoconferencing than we have in the past, and I don’t think it’s going to be limited to talking heads. What do I mean by that? Given the fact that we now have the ability to, in most of our smartphones, have two cameras, an outward-facing camera with a pretty high resolution and an inward-facing camera with a smaller resolution, imagine the ability of a senior that’s out in the field doing a video call with a manager in the office or at another client wanting to go over either electronic workpapers Or maybe it’s an inventory issue, and he just takes the phone out to the warehouse and shows the manager what he wants to show him.
I think that ability is going to create marvelous opportunities to collaborate person to person in ways we haven’t been able to do in the past, particularly from the management ranks, where they’re spread so thin their ability to get to various remote work sites is severely limited.
The second thing is at home, and I think within 18 months we’ll see large-screen televisions with the smarts of today’s tablets or super-thin notebooks plugged directly into the Internet, and maybe even operated with the same operating system that the tablet has, either iOS or Android, and really get us to the stage where everybody’s been talking in the past about plugging something into the local TV. I think we’re just going to find the TV itself is just going to gain its smarts as a result of these companies finding a way to literally either cooperate between two or three technology companies or just farm out the work, such that the smartness that sits in the television provides you all the stuff you need to know, and maybe even to the extent that you don’t touch the TV at all, you actually do this much like you can do with Kinect or with the Wii and be able to have a gesture recognition from a camera that sits at the base of the television. So there (are) two that I think are coming up.
Drew: Thanks, Rick. Randy, do you have anything to add?
Johnston: Well, I do agree with Rick in terms of the increased use of the video. We’re already seeing it in our consulting practice this year. There’s an interest in more desktop conferencing and we think higher definition, even on the desktop, will get a little more play. Additionally, the quality of the video seems to be moving up, and our expectation is that 4X (or 4K, which refers to a resolution of 4,096 x 3,072 pixels, or about four times the quality of today’s high definition) will begin to arrive across both the Windows and the Mac platforms, and we suspect it’ll come across on the Linux platform as well. So even a step above that.
And probably the best way I can help our listeners to position this is, just think about your cinema experience of attending an IMAX theater in 3-D, how that movie market is maturing, even though not selling quite as high in 2011 as it did in ’10. But the 3-D experience is not as hokey as it was. It’s more realistic. And I think we’ll start seeing a lot more realistic use of this type of 3-D technology. There’s been some very interesting apps here lately that are using more of this 3-D realism, and I think that will allow us to go down to smartphones a little more, and more the tablets in addition to the conference room or desktop type of setup.
Drew: Thanks, Randy. David, do you want to wrap us up?
Cieslak: Yeah, sure. So actually, I’ve enjoyed listening to Rick and Randy both on their perspectives, especially on video, because I think they tend to push the envelope probably on that front more than maybe we do. I know that for our part, we do set up a camera and allow people who aren’t able to make it into the office maybe for a staff meeting to be able to kind of participate, not only via the conference phone sitting in the middle of the table, but also they’ll get a visual on the meeting going on as well. So we do things like that, and I definitely know that we’re doing—like Randy said, the consultants are using it more and more for desktop meetings back and forth, that they interact on things. And as Rick shared, definitely from a personal perspective, connecting with out-of-town or our remote family members kind of thing.
But Rick touched on something that—another trend that we’re seeing, and I think video definitely is going to be a part of this, too, and that is just persistence across units. So if I’m—you know, he equated maybe the big-screen TV to something much like what we would see from a laptop or from a tablet kind of perspective. And I think what we’re going to see more and more just as a neat trend going forward is if I’m on a call and I want to flip over to video, then there’s enough smarts in the television that it’ll say, “Oh, wait a minute. I see that you’re on this call on your cellphone. Let me go ahead and let you continue that conversation and bring video into the mix.” Or if I’m moving from my phone to my tablet or my tablet to my PC and so forth.
So I just really look at video as just another piece of that puzzle, and I’m looking for this kind of ability to move between devices with some kind of awareness between the devices of what we’re doing and then really allowing us to do even more grab and go than we’re already doing it—than we’re doing today, with some consistency in the user experience across these devices. So again, just exciting times.
You know, as we’ve kind of looked at technology, even in the last 12 to 24 months, I think we’ve all kind of universally agreed that it’s as much fun, if not more fun, today to be in the technology space than it’s ever been. So I’m really excited to see what still lies ahead.
- Part 1: Key Technology Issues for 2012, Oct. 5, 2011
- Part 2: Favorite New Technology, Oct. 12, 2011
- Part 3: Cloud Computing, Oct. 19, 2011
- Part 4: Mobile Technologies: Tablets and Smartphones, Oct. 26, 2011
- Part 5: New Revenue Sources for CPA Firms, Nov. 2, 2011
- Part 6: Social Media, Nov. 9, 2011
- Part 7: Software Trends for 2012, Nov. 16, 2011
- Part 8: Security Issues, Nov. 23, 2011
- Part 9: Hardware Trends for 2012, Nov. 30, 2011
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