Sanjeev Aggarwal's Blog

June 10, 2009

Video Conferencing Solution – Now Affordable by the SMBs

Filed under: Channels, Collaboration, Conferencing, mid-market, SMB strategy, video — Tags: , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 10:06 pm

As the on-premise systems now support reservationless On-demand conferencing, they let employees hold impromptu meeting, without pre-scheduling these meetings – allowing them to collaborate when they need to, with whomever they need to, provided both parties have access to compatible video conferencing systems.

Vendors are recognizing the market opportunity and value of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market and are making available systems that are affordable and easy-to-install/ use/manage because SMBs typically don’t have the IT staff to support these solution. In some instances these solutions can be managed remotely by VARs and service providers. However, they are still a ways away from a price that will explode mainstream adoption in the global SMB markets.

Video conferencing solutions fall in three broad categories:

  • Top Tier of Telepresence solution at corporate locations to communicate with key accounts for executive management that support high-def.
  • Tier 2 small conference room solutions for teams/workgroup meetings and training sessions (low-end support standard def. and high-end support hig-def.)
  • Tier 3 of personal integrated or desktop system for more regular 1:1 communication sessions. These personal integrated web/video conferencing systems (which are point and click and only need a web cam or desktop systems (with integrated audio, video and content sharing capabilities).

Video conferencing solutions vendors are now developing products and solutions designed specifically for the SMB and mid-market. These systems are easy-to-use and priced appropriately for this market segment. Polycom’s QDX6000 system is now available for under $4,000. The QDX6000 is a full featured SMB product that offers high resolution DVD quality video room-based video conferencing solution that has low-bandwidth requirements. A these price points, SMBs can pay for the systems by reducing travel expenses – reduction of 2-3 business trips can now pay for these solutions providing short-term ROI.

Video conferencing solutions are leading to more frequent meetings between distributed workers (and in several cases with outsourcing partners), and providing improved productivity by speeding product development by helping teams triage and resolve problems faster. This is especially true for SMBs that sales and development office in the U.S., outsourced software development locations in India, and outsourced manufacturing in China and Latin America.

  • Applications/Markets



    Horizontally across all mid-market companies’ sales, marketing, training (for distributed employees, partners, and customers), recruitment, and product development are the key application segments. Vertical industries including financial services, professional services, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, oil and gas, law, entertainment and education are among the top adopters of video conferencing solutions. New applications for video conferencing are being launched with greater frequency as deployment increases; increases in travel costs are prompting SMBs to interview potential employees as this allows one to interact virtually face-to-face as if you were in the same room regardless of geographic locations and time zone differences.

  • Vendors


    Polycom, Tandberg, Lifesize, and Vidyo are the top SMB video conferencing solution vendor. Polycom is the leading video conferencing solutions vendor. On a global basis Polycom is shipping about 10,000 video conferencing systems, with a large number of them now going into the SMB segment. Tandberg is another front-runner providing comprehensive video conferencing that is increasing focus and products targeted at the SMB segment.

  • Channels

    – SMBs don’t have internal IT staff expertise to setup on-premise video conferencing systems. Increasingly they are turning to VARs and service providers that specialize in video conferencing services and rentals like WireOne Communications and Intercall to help setup and remotely support these systems. Video service providers enable rich media communications by providing IP network services optimized for videoconferencing traffic by providing dedicated MPLS-based IP networks that handle voice, video, and data on a single network with quality of service (QoS) built in to support the more rigorous needs of these solutions.

March 19, 2009

BroadSoft now supporting Hosted Video Unified Communications creating new revenue opportunities for Service Provider partners

BroadSoft, the leading provider of hosted PBX platform, VoIP services and unified communications solutions is now supporting video communication solutions from the leading video communications vendors – Tandberg, Polycom and LifeSize.

As SMBs become more distributed and globalized, efficient communications and collaboration are becoming increasingly difficult with utilizing only applications like e-mail and audio conferencing solutions. These companies are turning to affordable web and video conferencing solutions to resolve and optimize the above issues.

In the current difficult economic environments and with increasing travel expenses (both domestic and international) and time commitment required, the new affordable and easy-to-use hosted video conferencing systems that may be conference room or desktop based, the reduction in travel costs is providing rapid ROI and savings in travel time providing increased employee productivity – leading to increased adoption even among SMBs globally. In addition, as SMBs become more environmentally aware and responsible, these solutions help support the need to reduce carbon emissions and provide support for ‘green’ initiatives.

In my discussions with several small and mid-market SMBs in the last several weeks, an increasing percentage of the SMB and mid-market enterprises distributed over several locations, are now seriously considering video conferencing solutions. Some of the larger financial and private venture companies are looking at 3 Tier solutions. The top Tier of Telepresence solution at corporate locations to communicate with key accounts for executive management, Tier 2 small conference room solutions for teams/workgroup meetings and training sessions, Tier 3 of personal integrated or desktop system for more regular 1:1 communication sessions. As the adoption of “presence” becomes more prevalent for IP devices and unified communications, integration of video communications into presence engines will further increase interest and adoption; new video conferencing solutions are based on standards and allow easy integration with other audio visual systems at partner and customer sites.

The ability to use standard web browsers with hosted solutions, off-the-shelf web cameras, and existing network infrastructure has accelerated the popularity and growth of web-based video conferencing market and has helped to drive its adoption into new industries and applications. As video communication solutions now support reservationless On-demand conferencing, they let employees hold impromptu meeting, without pre-scheduling these meetings – allowing them to collaborate when they need to, with whomever they need to, provided both parties have access to video conferencing systems.

Vendors are recognizing the market opportunity and value of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market and are making available systems that are affordable and easy-to-install/ use/manage because SMBs typically don’t have the IT staff to support these solutions. In some instances these solutions can be managed remotely by VARs and service providers. However, they are still a ways away from a price that will explode mainstream adoption in the global SMB markets.

Key Drivers for Video Conferencing Solutions in the SMB Market:

  • Availability of affordable HD/SD Video Conferencing Systems, both web and on-premise based Video Conferencing solutions
  • Support for Unified Communications
    supporting integration of video with UC desktop and smartphone applications
  • Support for end-to-end video solutions
  • Increasing employee productivity and enhancing organizational efficiency
  • Better and more interactive real-time communication and collaboration between employees
  • Need to interconnect distributed branch offices (within country and international locations), better interaction with outsourcing partners
  • Enhance the ability of distributed workforce to communicate and collaborate among themselves, and with customers/ partners
  • Save travel costs and meeting expenses
  • Ability to utilize off-the-shelf video cameras and headsets
  • Increased bandwidth availability and lower cost of high bandwidth connectivity
  • Increased adoption of rich media communications – video
  • Scaling knowledge by making domain experts more accessible and productive

Applications/Markets — Horizontally across all mid-market companies’ sales, marketing, training (for distributed employees, partners, and customers), recruitment, and product development are the key application segments. Vertical industries including financial services, professional services, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, oil and gas, law, entertainment and education are among the top adopters of video conferencing solutions. New applications for video conferencing are being launched with greater frequency as deployment increases; increases in travel costs are prompting SMBs to interview potential employees as this allows one to interact virtually face-to-face.

February 4, 2009

SMB’s turning to Conferencing Solutions in tough economic times

In today’s tough economic times, driven by higher travel costs, staff reduction, and tight credit – SMB are turning to solutions that will reduce costs and provide clearly identifiable short-term ROI. In the past year, conferencing solutions service providers that provide hosted audio and integrated web/video conferencing services are experiencing dramatic increases in adoption of these services among SMBs and mid-market enterprises. Not only are more SMBs adopting these solutions, the existing users of these solutions are also using these solutions more often.

  • Audio Conferencing (leading vendors – Intercall, ATT, Verizon ,IP-PBX and hosted VoIP vendors):
    • Distributed workforce conference calls
    • Improve employee collaboration and productivity
    • Support for mobility, don’t need to be in front of screen for conference
    • No need to be at desktop, works well when on the road
    • Integration of VoIP solutions reduces costs by reducing call toll charges
    • Increased adoption of podcasts
  • Web Conferencing (leading vendors – Cisco/WebEx, Microsoft LiveMeeting, Citrix OnLine Go-To-Meeting, IBM Sametime Unyte and Lotus SameTime):
    • Easy-to-use
    • Save travel costs and participant time
    • Support revenue generation activities
    • Availability of hosted service with pay-as-you-go
    • Ability to host impromptu meetings
    • Improve employee collaboration & productivity
    • Better support a global distributed workforce
    • Improve organizations efficiency
    • Better communication and collaboration between employees, customers, partners, suppliers
    • Fewer number of experts become more productive by scaling knowledge
  • Video Conferencing (leading vendors – Polycom, Tandberg,Lifesize,Cisco/Webex,IBM):
    • Save travel costs and meeting expenses
    • Need to interconnect distributed branch
    • Better and more interactive communication and collaboration between employees
    • Ability to utilize off-the-shelf video cameras and headsets
    • Availability of affordable web and on-premise based solutions
    • Increased bandwidth availability
    • Increased adoption of rich media communications – video
    • Better interaction with outsourcing partners
    • Fewer number of experts become more productive by scaling knowledge


This bodes well for the vendors, VAR’s and service providers involved with selling these conferencing solutions. However, businesses need to be careful when selecting a vendor. Stability and financial viability of vendors/service providers becomes more important in the current economic climate, as startups feel the squeeze.


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