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Despite quality concerns, desktop video was the most likely purchase of IT professionals considering video conferencing technology, according to a recent TechTarget survey.
In a survey of 326 IT professionals looking to buy solutions that improve enterprise communications, three-quarters of the respondents were considering the purchase of software-based video for the PC in the next 12 months.
Mobile video came in second to desktop video with six out of 10 respondents looking to buy. Other video options -- traditional room-based video, immersive telepresence and consumer market options -- each drew less than 50% of the buyer interest, although room-based video was close to the halfway mark at 49%.
Buyer awareness of video limitations
While interest in desktop video is high, survey respondents indicated that they see limitations in the technology. The three biggest headaches listed by IT pros were an unpredictable user experience and insufficient quality for multiparty sessions and for use as a corporate collaboration tool.
Deployment challenges often listed by video experts include having enough processing power on the desktop or laptop for video calling. Companies may have to upgrade their virtual private networks if employees need to use it on the road.
In addition, video requires additional network bandwidth. While a typical VoIP call uses 24 Kbps to 35 Kbps, a video conferencing call can use as much as 2 Mbps.
Almost nine out of 10 IT pros chose improving corporate collaboration as the reason for implementing any video conferencing technology. Almost 60% of respondents cited travel reduction as a reason to deploy video conferencing.
In terms of the vendors IT pros planned to evaluate before buying a video conferencing system, nearly 60% named Cisco, with about four in 10 looking at Polycom. Avaya came in third at 21%.
Cloud-based video conferencing status
While the survey did not address cloud-based video conferencing, this emerging market has given birth to a new generation of companies including Fuze, Zoom and TokBox, which was acquired in 2012 by Spanish telecom provider Telefonica.
Cloud-based video conferencing has yet to attract many enterprise buyers, according to Ovum. Still, it's an upcoming area to watch. In 2015, companies are expected to have more enterprise-grade choices from large service providers like AT&T, BT and Orange Business, and system vendors like Cisco, Lifesize and Vidyo.
The cloud is seen as a simpler way to deploy video technology on mobile devices, which enterprises have marked as a key target for UC capabilities. Cloud-based services do not require software on the device, which means lower management and maintenance costs.
Enterprise do not view desktop and mobile video conferencing as a business-critical application, so they are willing to experiment with new technologies, according to Ovum analyst Brian Riggs.
"Those are communication services that are not necessarily core to your entire business," Riggs said. "If a company (vendor) goes away or video calling goes down, the phones won't stop working, and the call center won't grind to a halt."
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