Channel Partners Asks: Is Video Conferencing Gaining Traction?

It has been my experience that video conferencing today is where VoIP was 10 years ago  a lot of smoke and not much fire. Of course, the larger enterprise customers have been doing video conferencing for some time. Small and medium-sized customers doing conference calls on a regular basis have inquired about video conferencing but have been deterred either by bandwidth constraints and/or the investment in equipment necessary to achieve clear, reliable resolution. The bandwidth issue will be resolved as 4G continues to become ubiquitous and hence affordable, thus making the equipment a less important part of the financial equation. We are probably still a few years away from seeing steady growth in video conference deployment; however, I foresee it becoming a more meaningful part of an agents portfolio in the years ahead.”
Joe Grauman, President, Grauman Communications , telecom agent

We offer branded Web conferencing service that does not require any software downloads. The demand for this monthly service with optional webcams is definitely increasing. A $70 Logitech webcam is capable of high-definition video and together with a flat-rate service using the Internet creates a very competitive service offering.”
Herb Levitin,  President,  GoConference, service provider


Video conferencing is certainly the buzz in the collaboration space. The driving force behind the increased awareness and adoption is the emergence of stable desktop platforms and low-cost bandwidth. SMBs are now able to utilize technologies that were previously enjoyed by larger enterprises with deeper IT pockets. While I avoided video conferencing like the plague as recently as three years ago, it has become an integral part of almost every conferencing discussion I have today. If you are in the conferencing space and not offering video, you are leaving money on the table and an open door for your competition to enter.”
Greg Plum, Director of Business Development, the Conference Group, service provider

Without a doubt we are seeing an increased demand for video conferencing. However, most of this demand can be taken care of through the multipoint desktop video through a high-end Web conferencing solution. We see the natural evolution of a conferencing customer, starting with audio and progressing to Web, before jumping into full-blown video conferencing. Most of our customers who request video conferencing have not fully explored the desktop video capabilities available in today’s Web conferencing market, so we consult with them to make sure they are aware of all the options.  The vast majority are well served by a Web conferencing solution with multipoint desktop video as a feature.”
Steve Praske, President, ARG, telecom agent

“Yes, we are seeing tremendous demand in video conferencing. All of the macroeconomic trends are driving demand for video communications. Organizations have to get more done, faster and with fewer resources than ever, and the biggest driver is that fewer and fewer employees are working in the headquarters of companies. Today organizations need to find the best personnel wherever they happen to be — whether that is in a remote office or telecommuting from a home office. Significant enhancements in new technology and the entry of the big players into this space — Cisco, HP and Microsoft — have put video conferencing and telepresence at the top of CIO/IT list of initiatives for 2011 and beyond. A recent industry report put growth in the market of 35 percent for 2010 over 2009 and a 25 percent annual growth rate over the next four years.

What we are really excited about — and what we think will be the next big driver of video conferencing — mobile devices like the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and Android tablets that will quickly put video conferencing in the hands of everyone all the time. We are working with a large number of agents to help them put in customer networks that support video for today or down the road when the customer is ready to deploy.”
Walter Somsel, President, Conferencing Advisors Inc., video conferencing integrator

“Conference room video conferencing (formal, everybody sitting around the table)? No. Desktop-to-desktop video conferencing? Yes.”
Roger Thomas, CEO, TeleComp, VAR

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 by May 15, for possible inclusion in the July edition of Channel Partners Asks. Any answer submitted is eligible for publication and may be edited for clarity or brevity.

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