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Infrastructure at the heart of communication

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Last year, Frost & Sullivan predicted that telepresence and video conferencing markets are set to grow into a $4.7 billion industry by 2014, and as the year of 2010 nears to an end, we can see that this growth is becoming a fast reality.

The days of video conferencing as a nice-to-have substitute for the corporate jet are long gone. For thought-leading organisations, video has transitioned away from its historic limitations to become a mission critical component of Unified Communications (UC).

In fact, the growth rate of video conferencing over the last few years has been robust, where the market for enterprise video, both room and executive systems, has sustained a unit growth rate in excess of 20%, and as a result, is having a profound impact on the overall video industry ‚ most specifically video communication infrastructure.

Dan Engel, regional sales manager of Polycom says, ‚It is great to see such growth for the industry, and with the recent changes in Africa’s broadband landscape, the potential for further growth in the uptake of video and voice conferencing locally is undoubtedly increasing. However, business decision makers are beginning to ask penitent questions around infrastructure, and rightly so.‚

Video is leaving the dedicated conference room and becoming a standard communication tool and part of the individual’s daily workflow. As a result, businesses want to know what their options are in terms of infrastructure. Is it best to implement a rip and replace strategy when it comes to implementing the right infrastructure or are there viable ways for interoperability and integration? Where is the return on investment and how does one justify such an investment?

Continues Engel: ‚This growth trend in the industry is having an impact on the scalability, reliability and redundancy requirements of a visual communication system – which now must support tens of thousands of users where once it only had to support several dozen or at most a few hundred video rooms. The best approach, as a result of such growth, and of course, business scalability is system integration, where interoperability has become key to allowing organisations the opportunity to reach fully effective video conferencing and communication across all available technologies and solutions. Industry leaders, as a result, are working together to create open collaboration for infrastructure and video conferencing interoperability to stimulate this growth.‚

The core of any UC environment is the infrastructure that enables teams to have the freedom to collaborate over voice and video anywhere, anytime. Notes Engel: ‚Through the implementation of the right and necessary infrastructure, businesses and decision makers will not only be able to communicate effectively, but will see a clear return on investment on their video conferencing solution in as little as 1-6 months. Furthermore, having the right infrastructure in place allows organisations to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) with up to 50% less bandwidth utilisation – benefits that will certainly go a long way in ensuring continued growth of this industry in Africa.‚

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