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Trends 2011: Telepresence vs air travel

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Telepresence will replace 2.1 million airline seats and video-conferencing from the desktop will become more proficient, writes DAN ENGEL, regional sales manager of Polycom

· According to Wainhouse, by 2013 hosted and managed Unified Comms (UC) services will eclipse traditional conferencing services in revenue. This is little surprise when businesses are constantly striving to do more with less, always looking for ways to improve productivity and increase return on investment (ROI).

¬∑ UC, including voice, video conferencing, content sharing and telepresence collaboration solutions provides a ROI due to reduced travel costs (in fact telepresence will replace 2.1 million airline seats by 2012, according to Gartner) while increasing productivity and real-time collaboration between globally dispersed workforces. This, coupled with most business’ commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint has created in essence, ‚The Perfect Strom’. UC provides ROI, increases productivity all while meeting certain key green objectives – hence the perfect storm analogy.

¬∑ This said then, hosted/managed UC services are at the cusp of becoming big business and will present corporates and vendors with ample opportunities. In fact, all vendors with established UC services offerings are reporting double-digit growth and significant interest in the markets they address. It is evident then that UC is certainly an industry to be investing in, in 2011 and beyond. Both the North American and European regions are expected to achieve billion dollar markets by 2012-2013 and the African market, while traditionally behind in technology implementations, will only benefit from this ‚lag’, having not invested in now legacy teleconferencing systems ‚ hence the corporate (big or small) opportunity.

¬∑ In fact, by 2015 Gartner believes over 200 million workers globally will run corporate-supplied video conferencing from their desktops, which is staggering but with what I’ve mentioned in mind, not unexpected. The next four years will also see the growth rate of video infrastructure exceed that of video endpoints. This will be driven by the increased deployment of desktop/personal/video units, solutions and services that enable B2B video calling, and the growing richness of infrastructure features and functions.

· As organisations seek to contain costs without limiting their ability to execute and innovate, and at the same time, ensuring business continuity, telepresence solutions are fast becoming a mission-critical business tool. No matter the size, type or nature of your business, business collaboration and continuity has never been more important than it is today and with uptake increasing, economies of scale influence makes now the perfect time to invest in UC.

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