The emergence of a total unified communications (UC) is transforming videoconferencing's long-standing status as a niche technology for use in a conference room setting and mostly in intra-company communications. This trend, in turn, has compelled vendors to make changes to product features and functionality. Furthermore, this has also given an advantage to the videoconferencing infrastructure systems market.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (conferencing.frost.com), Videoconferencing Infrastructure Markets (Americas), finds that the market earned revenues of $137.3 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $463.1 million in 2014.
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Organizations' better understanding of the value proposition of collaboration tools and technological improvements in firewall traversal, security, and encryption ensured that videoconferencing entered mainstream communications. With the introduction of high definition (HD) technology in videoconferencing endpoints, the videoconferencing infrastructure market grew even faster.
"Videoconferencing bridges, which were necessary for connecting the endpoints, specifically HD endpoints (as they need more bridge ports), experienced accelerated adoption," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Krithi Rao. "Further, the market saw a surge in adoption with many vendors introducing bridges that can optimally and economically support both standard definition (SD) and HD endpoints on the same bridge."
Despite this hike in demand for infrastructure ports to support HD deployments, there has been no equivalent impact on the market revenue. This is mainly due to the constant decline in port prices, to make the ports affordable to most end users.
However, this market remains lucrative for real-time communications vendors. There are three solid windows of opportunities in the market – infrastructure systems required to support a fast-growing installed base of videoconferencing endpoints, end-to-end infrastructure solutions (bridges, gateways, management, scheduling tools, and firewall traversal) for converged IP deployments, and finally, UC deployments that include video and require supporting infrastructure systems.
Being participants in a high-technology industry, videoconferencing infrastructure system vendors invest substantially in R&D. This dedication to research is especially significant considering the appearance of new technologies such as telepresence and HD.
Vendors find it increasingly hard to differentiate themselves only through products and technology. They are circumventing this situation by developing marketing messages around solutions for business functions in specific verticals, rather than solely focusing on technology-related marketing.
"Vendors are laying out channel and product strategies to enable line-of-business solution selling rather than point-product sales," explains Rao. "They should also position themselves as 'enablers' of video as part of a complete UC solution, especially since they have the expertise and technology resources needed to deliver a robust video experience."
Vendors are also working toward enhancing end-user experience by improving their products' ease of use and deployment. This will ensure that end users become more comfortable using video in their day-to-day business activities, accelerating the shift of the technology from just conferencing rooms to mass deployments at end-user desktops.
Videoconferencing Infrastructure Markets (Americas) is part of the Conferencing & Collaboration Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: audio conferencing, videoconferencing services, web conferencing, telepresence markets, North American enterprise telephony, open-source telephony, IP phones, VoWLAN, unified communications markets, enterprise telephony equipment services, and enterprise media gateways. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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Videoconferencing Infrastructure Markets (Americas) N196-64