Cisco, Polycom, Huawei Face ‘Dismal’ Videoconferencing Revenue

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Videoconferencing equipment revenue in general – and for companies including Cisco, Polycom and Huawei, in specific – isn’t faring so well.

In fact, one analyst calls newly released numbers “dismal."

That’s because demand for videoconferencing gear showed steady declines for the first quarter, according to IDC’s latest Worldwide Enterprise Videoconferencing and Telepresence Equipment QView.

For example, overall revenue fell 20 percent quarter-over-quarter and 15.9 percent year-over year. And the total number of video units sold in the first quarter of 2014 fell 13.3 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013 and 6.2 percent year-over year.

In particular, immersive telepresence equipment revenue dropped 34.7 percent quarter over-over-quarter and 25.9 percent year-over-year because they are so pricey. Meantime, sales of room-based units were down 13.9 percent for the quarter, but only 1 percent for the year-over-year comparison. Infrastructure such as MCUs declined 29.2 percent for the quarter, 13 percent year-over-year.

Except for Latin America, all of the major regions showed lower revenue for videoconferencing gear, IDC found.

"We continue to see the impact of delayed customer buying decisions, lower-cost systems, more software-centric products, and competitive cloud-based video service offerings on the worldwide enterprise video equipment market," said Rich Costello, senior analyst for enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC. "The weak vendor results are also indicative of the ongoing transition from a primarily hardware-based reporting model to one impacted by the interest in and growth of video subscription services. On the bright side, most or all of these vendors are now offering cloud-based video alternatives to customers, too – in addition to their own lower cost, premises-based systems."

To that point, IDC reported the following:

  • Cisco's first-quarter results showed decreases of 27.8 percent quarter-over-quarter and 22.4 percent year-over-year in video equipment revenue. But the company remains the leader in enterprise videoconferencing equipment with a 40.1 percent share of the worldwide market.
  • Polycom's revenue dropped 7.3 percent quarter-over-quarter and 8.4 percent year-over-year. The company ranks second in enterprise videoconferencing equipment with a 28.9 percent share of the worldwide market.
  • Huawei's quarter-over-quarter revenue fell 42 percent and, year-over-year, 1.9 percent. But it still ranks third with a 7.8 percent share of the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing market.

"As dismal as these quarterly numbers are, video as a key component of collaboration continues to place high on the list of priorities for many organizations," said Petr Jirovsky, research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Networking Trackers group. "IDC believes that among the challenges customers are currently trying to work through are a market transition and determining exactly what, when, and how to provision their video deployments as more software-centric and cloud-based service offerings become part of the enterprise video market landscape."

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