Video conferencing is a dog of a market.

by alec on October 14, 2007

Andy is feeling his oats this morning in Madrid.  He cites Steve Adubato’s piece in the Newark Star-Ledger on how to make video conferences more productive, and then takes the entire video conferencing industry to task for not understanding their customers’ needs.  Andy sees web cam based solutions, like the excellent system from SightSpeed, as the key to successful conferencing.  Forget about the complication and expense of the Cisco Telepresence platform, HP’s Halo, or older systems from Polycom, Tandberg and others!

He’s right.

When Cisco announced the Telepresence platform, the biggest mystery was why they chose to dive into a dying industry.  Yes, dying.  The graph below was reproduced from Wainhouse founder Marc Beattie’s slides from the Wainhouse CSP event last year at this time.  It shows video conferencing service provider revenues since 2001.  The decline probably has a lot to do with the fact that the novelty of video conferencing installations which drove the market in 2001 in no way justifies the expense in 2006.  Note that Marc doesn’t comment on the market for video conferencing equipment in this slide.

Graph

Andy’s also right about the utility of personal video calls, such as those enabled by Sightspeed.  With virtually every laptop sold today incorporating a web cam, and the quality of those cameras steadily increasing, it’s only a matter of time before the natural way to have a conversation will be by video.

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