Democratization of Video Solutions to Drive Large-Scale Adoption

Published: 11 Mar 2011

By Elka Popova, Program Director, Unified Communications & Collaboration

Last month, I wrote about the ubiquity of video in the consumer world and what that means for business use of videoconferencing. While the consumerization of IT has clear advantages for companies looking to leverage videoconferencing in their business, it also tells us that prosumers and visionary IT decision-makers are not going to put their money into complex infrastructure and high-end devices. Consumer video helps create awareness among business users, but it also establishes a new basis for comparison. Skype and FaceTime have taught tech-savvy professionals that video can be ubiquitous, simple and inexpensive.

Most enterprise videoconferencing solutions are costly and complex, and have, therefore, remained out of reach for the majority of business organizations. Not surprisingly, in Frost & Sullivan's 2010 Investment Decisions in Communications and Collaboration Products and Services end-user study, cost concerns emerge as the top reason 30 percent of the surveyed executives have no plans to implement videoconferencing and 21 percent are delaying implementations.

On the other hand, 21 percent of those using the technology state that "reducing costs" is the number-one benefit of videoconferencing, and 48 percent rank cost reduction as one of the top three benefits of this tool. The data clearly indicates that businesses are looking for video solutions with a compelling ROI.

End-users and vendors alike acknowledge that the future of business communications is in more "democratic" technologies, such as desktop and mobile video. These solutions leverage existing, non-specialized devices – PCs, laptops and smart phones – and applications supported on cost-effective UC platforms or delivered from the cloud. Hosted or cloud-based video solutions that also support Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) minimize customer CAPEX and OPEX requirements and help extend video to a larger selection of devices, from PCs and laptops to thin terminals, smart phones and tablets. Avistar's CMO, Stephen Epstein, predicts that: "Users in 2011 will want a feature-rich desktop visual communications experience that supports industry standards and leverages and extends UC features found in their existing solutions – in the office, on the road and on the go."

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