A recent article about teleprsence by Jeff Cavins
The CEO of FuzeBox, suggests that Polycom and Cisco are in trouble. The rise of different providers in both HD Video Conferencing systems and mobile video conferencing software has forged the way to a new era. LifeSize and Radvision both offer great alternatives to the expensive and less perfoming polycom and cisco systems. Both LifeSize and Radvision offer great solutions for Video Conferencing at lower cost with higher performance. SCOPIA Mobile is a great could based solution at very low cost.
Check out the article by Jeff Cavins. (read below)
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a videoconference with the members of a Fortune 500 company that has invested million of dollars in top-of-the-line telepresence systems (special rooms that use cameras and TVs to make it seem as if meeting attendees are all sitting at the same table). While some executives joined from telepresence rooms, other members of the company were testing some newer videoconferencing technology from other providers and joining into the same meeting via their laptops and Apple iPads.
Ten minutes into the meeting, the 90-year-old chairman made a decision on the spot: his company would stop investing in telepresence systems and networks and immediately move to a next-generation videoconferencing platform from another provider (there are several companies with disruptive technology in this space). From the chairman’s point of view, there was no reason to sink more money into telepresence. In a line that I won’t forget anytime soon, he stated that telepresence was the equivalent of having a single “e-mail room,” from which all of his employees had to go to in order to send and receive their e-mails.
Due to its high cost, telepresence has become the private jet of company boardrooms across the globe. Fortune 1000 companies, seeking to cut down on airfare and travel costs and have their employees speak face to face over high-definition video, have invested anywhere between hundreds of thousands and hundreds of millions of dollars on these complex videoconferencing solutions and the dedicated networks required to use them. Thanks to these systems, telepresence has grown into a 4 billion-dollar per year industry. Today, however, the juggernauts of the market, such as Cisco and Polycom, are being outmaneuvered by a number of upstart companies.
Due to a variety of technological breakthroughs, from mobile networks and devices to new powerful video technologies, there are five major reasons why the market will be disrupted as we know it, enabling a variety of upstarts to win the business of business meetings:
- Cost: Entrants into the videoconferencing space are offering similar quality high-definition video for a fraction of the price of established telepresence providers such as Cisco/Tandberg, Polycom and Logitech/LifeSize. A similar quality setup using the latest video codecs now costs one-tenth of the price, while maintaining the look and feel of being in the same place as other meeting attendees. Yes, 90% cost savings. This is the equivalent of millions of dollars of expense that can be re-routed into profits or expanding one’s business in other ways.
- Cloud: Companies that invest in telepresence know they need a team of IT ninjas on hand to keep their systems running and up to date. Now, with cutting edge software being hosted in the cloud, all of the IT work is done remotely by the service provider. This makes the entire system much easier to use and much less costly over the long run. In addition, by having videoconferencing in the cloud, online video meetings are kept persistent (even if the host drops off) and can be easily recorded and stored for later review. We are talking about greater accountability of meeting information, more secure storage and the elimination of additional in-house technical resources.
- Mobile: Ever since tablets – namely the iPad – have taken off, the lack of mobile offerings from traditional telepresence providers has been their Achilles’ heel. Having dedicated rooms in which employees can meet is no longer tenable in this mobile age, because employees often work remotely. The technology for this has been around for some time, but it is not until recently that mobile devices have become powerful enough to support HD videoconferencing. Now that HD videoconferencing can be delivered to any employee on any device, be it in the boardroom or desktop or tablet or smartphone, the dedicated room feels Jurassic. Even Verizon Wireless understands that collaboration will drive the next generation of 4G devices.
- Interoperability: Remember the days when mobile phone users could only send text messages within their own network? For example, Verizon users could not send text messages to AT&T users. Current telepresence systems are similar; companies have set up “Berlin Walls,” where one type of telepresence system, like Cisco, cannot communicate with another kind, say Polycom. This makes it nearly impossible for companies to use telepresence to connect with other companies. Now, newcomers to the game are tearing down these walls with software workarounds, called gateways, which make it possible for any system to connect with another. Freedom to actually meet with anyone. What a novel concept.
- Collaboration: When you have a meeting, do you discuss ideas alone or do you often collaborate over working documents and other types of multimedia? Videoconferencing providers are now realizing that video is not enough; there must be added functionality for real-time sharing, annotation and content viewing. This includes documents, video, audio, images and graphics, with the ability to annotate and markup, as well as the ability to embed presentations. New mobile apps and services are making productivity during meetings more about doing actual work than face time. True digital working meetings.
Why has it taken so long to evolve beyond e-mail rooms for meetings? Money. Cisco, Polycom and others have held on to a multi-billion dollar industry replete with proprietary systems that require organizations to spend sometimes millions of dollars per installation. Now there is a massive sea change underway – from enormous media companies to Fortune 100 companies, to healthcare and education – for workforces to ditch their telepresence systems and go with more economical, mobile, cloud-based offerings. Save the old meeting hardware for the Tech Museum.