by April 1, 2009 0 comments



Do you think high definition video conferencing is not for you? There are
several examples of how high definition video conferencing is changing the way
people communicate and do business. Large global banks need to do daily
trans-continental calls to their partners and customers. They use high
definition video conferencing to have on the fly conversations with each other,
where they can take prudent decisions faster and save on traveling costs.

Why hi-def videoconferencing?
Video conferencing as a concept has been around for several years now. But
it suffered from issues like poor quality of image, unclear sound quality, too
many session breakages due to the fluctuating transfer of data and high
bandwidth requirement, not to mention the high cost of the equipment. Its hi-def
version tries to eliminate all these negatives. There are several reasons why
enterprise customers globally are now willing to opt for hi-def video
conferencing and the key one is the closing gap between the prices of the low-
and hi-def versions. “Soon, the prices of hi-def video conferencing will overlap
that of low-def video conferencing and customers will no longer need the
latter,” informed Craig Malloy, CEO, LifeSize Communications.

Another important reason why enterprises will readily invest in hi-def video
conferencing increasingly is because it eliminates the need for its executives
to travel. This in turn will result in huge savings in cost as well as manhours,
besides ensuring that the turnaround time for decision taking is very short.
Malloy gave an example of how LifeSize itself uses hi-def video conferencing
internally. Though it is headquartered in Texas, the company uses this
technology to communicate with its design centers in Bangkok and Bangalore.
“Often there is a need to evaluate what’s happening on the circuit board,
approve the paint used on our products and check its aesthetics. Sending someone
over can be an expensive affair. Therefore we use hi-def video conferencing
instead to communicate with the factory supervisors as design heads,” he
explained.

Anil
Chopra, Editor, PCQuest discussing the applications of high-def Video
Conferencing with Craig Malloy, Global MD of LifeSize Communications. Plus a
live demo of a high-def video conferencing in action was also shown (right).

Given that most manufacturing companies have outsourced the production of
some of their product components to third party agencies all over the world, one
can see how video conferencing can come in handy in taking spontaneous
decisions, without incurring the expenses of travel. Additionally, it propels
global team collaboration as different offices of an organization can
communicate with each other in real time taking quicker decisions, improving
productivity.

This also explains why there is an increasing number of takers for this
technology which is evident from that fact the global videoconferencing business
is expected to touch $2 billion this year and the market has been growing at a
CAGR of 20 percent over the past five years. This growth will be enabled due to
significant price performance advancements in the technology.

The Indian perspective
The Indian videoconferencing market in 2008 was pegged at $35 million per
year and has registered a 28 percent growth over 2007, according to figures
shared by LifeSize Communications. Several myths abound about the technology in
the country, which is why the vendor decided to have select end-customer
meetings to dispel them.

The
conference was well attended by CIOs of some of Mumbai’s large neterprises

One of the perceptions that enterprise customers have about this technology
is that it is difficult to deploy and it needs a technician. Malloy proved that
wrong with a live demonstration of a real time conferencing with his colleague
Dave in Austin with the use of one of their latest product, LifeSize Express,
which is easy to set up.

This also answered the query that a few of the present audience had raised
about the clarity of the images transmitted as all images transferred at 60
frames per second were transmitted live with a lag of just 15 milliseconds.
Touching about the cost of deploying and operating the equipment, Malloy pointed
out that prices for the equipment were coming down and the inbuilt features made
external intervention unnecessary. Amongst the audience was an official from
Reliance Industries, which has already deployed LifeSize’s hi-def video
conferencing equipment. He raised the question about when will the company
introduce wireless versions of its equipment which will make the devices more
compact and portable. Malloy assured him that his organization was working on
such products, which will be launched in the market shortly.

Some of the other gathered CIOs and CTOs agreed that this development would
be of great interest to them as customers. Their enthusiastic response is
evidence of the fact that they were keen to experiment with video conferencing,
which in turn signals a good business avenue for channel partners.

In fact, the underlying message that came across was that video conferencing
was not merely a boardroom solution, but is more of an IT solution, where
partners play a critical role.

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