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Report: Demand, Technology Driving Videoconferencing Market Growth
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May 20, 2008

Report: Demand, Technology Driving Videoconferencing Market Growth

By Brendan B. Read
Senior Contributing Editor

The odds are increasing that your next face-to-face meeting will be via videoconference, thereby helping to free you and your organization from skyrocketing airfares and gas prices.
Your enterprise will also look and be greener with videoconferencing as it uses minimal energy and releases a fraction of the greenhouse gases compared with ‘real’ transportation, even efficient and low-polluting intercity trains and buses and local public transit.

You are not alone in switching on rather than turning the key or showing your boarding pass. A new report from Frost and Sullivan, World Enterprise Videoconferencing Endpoints Market, predicts that sales revenues of videoconference solutions will nearly quadruple to $3.9 billion in 2014 from $1.1 billion in 2007. The drivers are coupled with rising consumer and enterprise awareness and demand coupled with and enabled by higher quality high definition (HD) conferencing solutions.
“Travel cost and time savings have always remained a key driver for videoconferencing,” said Frost and Sullivan Principal Analyst Roopam Jain. “We consider them the lowest common denominators for this solution. Productivity enhancements and a better communication experience are the other key benefits. However, in times like these when fuel costs are sky high, travel has become more expensive, financial markets are in turmoil, and several organizations have mandated strict travel restrictions; collaborative technologies like videoconferencing get significant attention.”
Jain continued: “In addition there is an increased awareness and emphasis on green initiatives and reducing carbon footprint by cutting back on travel. We see all these factors positively impacting the demand for videoconferencing.”
Another significant factor behind the demand for videoconferencing is an increase in the number of remote teleworkers, aided by high-bandwidth and low-cost residential broadband. Close to 100 million workers are expected to telework either full-time or part-time by 2010. Globalization is also driving videoconferencing, with team members working together and with customers in many different locations.

“Remote workers as well as virtual workers are finding new ways to communicate and collaborate regardless of location, time zones, network, or devices,” Jain pointed out. “Remote workers in particular are finding that visual communications is a key way stay in touch with their co-workers and customers when working from remote locations.”

Videoconferencing, has, however, long been a ‘tomorrow technology’: until recently it has not been widely adopted thanks to lackluster performance. This situation is changing, reports Frost and Sullivan Industry Analyst Krithi Rao, thanks to in fair part to HD solutions, which already accounts for a significant share of the global market revenue within just two years of their launch.
HD videoconferencing's better quality, ease-of-use, and promise of enhanced productivity, along with improvements in firewall traversal, security, and encryption, have renewed customers' interest in upgrades as well as new installations. The rapid pace of innovation combined with positioning videoconferencing as a solution rather than a technology is leading to introduction of multiple products that fit different end-users' needs.
“Also, the marketing hype for telepresence in general and the media coverage of major vendors' market entries have helped the sales of high-end systems,” Rao said. “Organizations that could not invest in telepresence due to the high price tag (News - Alert) have adopted high-end HD room systems that met a large portion of their needs.”
Videoconferencing will get a boost from increased deployments of unified communications (UC) tools since they will include video as an integral part of comprehensive IP communications solutions. That integration will dissipate another key issue with video and that is the difficulty organizations have in attaching an ROI to it as compared with other virtual collaboration technologies, which has limited its adoption. 
To fully exploit the market potential will require, however, videoconferencing vendors will partner with UC vendors to position their systems as part of total enterprise communications solutions and themselves as video ‘enablers’; their products will no longer be standalone buys.
“Vendors are introducing the ability to integrate videoconferencing with presence, instant messaging, IP telephony, calendars and data collaboration to deliver a comprehensive real-time communications suite, enhancing value and effectiveness,” Rao noted. “However, the imminent move from standalone conferencing technologies to UC requires a change in vendor strategies, business direction, and higher investments in product development and marketing.”
Brendan B (News - Alert). Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

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