Telepresence, Video Conferencing Growing?

David ByrdWhen Cisco Systems purchased Tandberg, it signaled the beginning of a converged solution for video one that combined video, voice and IP technologies into something that continued to move toward the promise of true video collaboration. Normally, this blog addresses the growth of Skype and Googles Hangout. These are video applications that deliver good value to small businesses. However, larger companies are continuing to acquire equipment, albeit at a lower rate in 2012 than 2011. According to IDC, the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing and telepresence equipment market declined 8.6 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2012. The full-year total for 2011 was $2.71 billion versus $2.64 billion in 2012. The decline was attributed to global macroeconomics rather than businesses souring on the need for video solutions. In fact, good growth was seen in room-based video conferencing (4.1 percent) and personal videoconferencing (5 percent). The segment demonstrating a continued decline was the high-end or multi-codec immersive telepresence segment, which declined 32.8 percent.

The leaders in the space continue to be Cisco (44.8 percent) and Polycom (23 percent), with Huawei showing strong growth in sales in Asia and Latin America. Over the last two years, Cisco has seen its market share rise while Polycom has seen a decline from its high of 35 percent.

The value proposition of video conferencing remains. Reduce travel and cut down cost of airfare, lodging and lost productivity. Improve communication and collaboration between organizations and geographically disperse employees. Environmentally, a recent study on human-to-human communication noted that driving an hour to participate in meeting uses the equivalent power consumption of 1,000 video conferencing hours. Finally, live video meetings provide participants much more visual information where facial expressions and body language can be used to better interpret meeting communications.

Video conferencing and telepresence provide other benefits as well and it is the collection of these that will keep video from faltering as it did in the 1990s. Enterprises will continue to expand their implementation of SIP trunks and IP infrastructures to support telepresence and create special rooms. SMBs will continue to look to application service providers and carriers to build the necessary facilities and tools to support low-end video solutions. As these infrastructures are completed and cost begins to drop, demand will grow. May 2013 be better than 2012.

David Byrd is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of channel sales for


. He previously spent five years as vice president of marketing and sales for Broadvox and before that was vice president of channels and alliances for Eftia and Telcordia.

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