Is Telepresence the Answer for Video Conferencing?

David Byrd : Raven Call
David Byrd
David Byrd is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer for Raven Guru Marketing. Previously, he was the CMO and EVP of Sales for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, He was CMO at ANPI, CMO & EVP of Sales at Broadvox, VP of channels and Alliances for Telcordia and Director of eBusiness development with i2 Technologies.He has also held executive positions with Planet Hollywood Online, Hewlett-Packard, Tandem Computers, Sprint and Ericsson.
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Is Telepresence the Answer for Video Conferencing?

The acquisition of Tandberg by Cisco Systems appears to indicate that video, voice and IP technologies are finally going to converge to deliver a satisfying video conferencing solution. Assuming the technologies will mesh properly, market demand remains the only unknown. Telepresence is one of the promises of Unified Communications. If successfully deployed, it could represent a tremendous improvement in worker productivity and business communications. While this may seem esoteric to some of you, it is vitally important to the IP community. The broad deployment of an application like this will be preceded by greater investment in corporate and carrier IP infrastructures. It also increases the need for the IETF to complete its development of the next generation of SIP to support this and related applications.

Cisco is spending $3.4 billion to acquire Tandberg, a market leader with an estimated 31 percent share. That is very close on the heels of the better known conferencing giant, Polycom, with a 35% share. Initial reaction to the acquisition will be interesting as many of Tandberg's partners, HP for one, are also competitors of Cisco. It may not be a major problem as technology companies have dealt with coopetition for many years. While the technology companies will see changes to their telepresence strategy as a result of the acquisition, what does this mean for businesses and carriers?

Enterprises are expected to beef up their IP infrastructures to support telepresence and create special rooms to support the solution. SMBs are expected to look to service providers and others to build the necessary facilities and rent them on an as needed basis. Obviously, that market will take some time to develop. Due to cost, the majority of early adopters will be enterprises. However, as the infrastructures are completed and cost begins to drop, attracting the larger SMB markets will be imperative. In anticipation of supporting either of these groups, Broadvox has completed testing of video transmission. We used multiple devices (Grandstream, Polycom and Logitech) as well as soft solutions running on PCs and laptops. It is too early to offer a video service to our customer base but we are prepared for the expected need.

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