Frost & Sullivan Research Shows Accelerating User Demand for Video Conferencing

After three consecutive years of revenue decline, the global video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure market returned to positive growth for full year 2015 indicating a turnaround. Businesses are rapidly adopting video communications and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.

Here are the key takeaways from Frost & Sullivan’s recently published market update on video conferencing. (Note: This report covers the market for video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure systems and does not include video conferencing use over soft UC clients, web and video conferencing services, and team collaboration solutions. For a more comprehensive view of the market, stay tuned for our upcoming report “Enterprise Video Conferencing Adoption: A Holistic View of Growth Opportunities”, which takes an end to end view across varied platforms and services).

User demand for video communications has been accelerating which is enabling the market to reach a tipping point. The proliferation of mobile devices combined with an unending appetite to consume video content and associated services has been a big driver for boosting adoption of video communications including video conferencing.
With the onset of consumerization, user expectations have shifted greatly. While exploding consumer use of video is feeding into demand for video communications at work, it sets the bar high for technology providers to match consumer expectations of easy to use, light weight applications with frictionless user experiences over connected devices.
Newer and agile clients and platforms are giving providers the control and flexibility to drive the direction for next-generation video conferencing and accelerate innovation to offer new business models.
The total market for video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5 percent from 2015 to 2020 to reach $2.9 billion by 2020.
The endpoints market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8 percent from 2015 to 2020. Unit shipment CAGR on the other hand is forecasted at 25.8%; with rapid adoption coming from the next-generation low priced devices in huddle rooms and open meeting spaces.
Currently standing at less than 10% penetration rate, growth in the future will be driven by a stronger adoption of video in multiple meeting environments – conference rooms, huddle rooms, open spaces, desktops, and mobile devices. It is estimated that globally there are 30 million huddle rooms and less than 5% of those are video enabled.
Infrastructure revenue continues to decline as migration to cloud leads to declining CAPEX investments. In addition, there is a downward impact on the market from the shift to converged call control. Growing virtualization and software-based solutions have led to declining prices putting further strain on revenues.
Cisco’s acquisition of Acano and Mitel’s acquisition of Polycom signal continued consolidation in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.
The future clearly lies in software that enables mobile and connected work. At the same time meeting rooms are not going to go away. Infact, we expect to see more rooms and more meetings. Meetings are getting less structured and less formal.
The distinction between video and web conferencing is fast diminishing. Most web conferencing solutions now offer rich video conferencing while video-centric vendors are enhancing content sharing and collaboration. It is expected that in a few years, the two solutions will look almost identical in features and price, effectively competing for the same user-base.
The onset of solutions like Slack, HipChat, and Glip mark a significant shift in the market. These free or low-priced team collaboration products have attracted a significant customer base. Conferencing in the future will increasingly get built into team collaboration solutions. This triggers the need for open platforms that allow users to integrate their choice of collaboration applications.
As collaboration becomes increasingly integrated with business applications, vendors are focusing on building open and extensible platforms and a wide network of developer partners to enable video communications into custom work flows

Why Bloomberg chose Vidyo to improve its video communications platform

Earlier this year, Vidyo announced that Bloomberg selected it to provide the enabling technology for Nexi, Bloomberg’s new global communications platform that enables the company’s employees to connect over video with each other and the rest of the world.

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So, I decided to dig a bit deeper into Bloomberg’s decision to use Vidyo and talked with the man responsible for the integration: Jeff Fairbanks, Global Head of AV and Media Technology, Technical Operations at Bloomberg.

I asked Fairbanks if he could describe Bloomberg’s use of video and provide some historical context for why the technology is so important today.

Although Fairbanks joined Bloomberg in 2013, the company has had a video-first culture for decades. Michael Bloomberg became interested in video in 1987 when the technology was in its infancy. The company tried a number of different enabling technologies, including ISDN and microwave antennas on trucks, but found all of them unreliable. Despite the challenges, Bloomberg plowed forward with the vision of ubiquitous video.

After about a decade, the company had a handful of hardware-based systems, but the utilization was low because the end points were difficult to use. The company wanted to expand the use of video and shifted to a desktop solution.

Video was put on desktops in 2008, and utilization took off. It peaked in 2013 when the existing technology reached its limit and productivity became impacted. For example, every day when utilization was high, the system would become overwhelmed and fail. Also, the existing solution had a physical limitation on users, far below the 17,000 employees at Bloomberg.

Fairbanks was hired to find a new solution that could meet the needs of the organization now, as well as into the future. Given the strategic importance of this initiative, Fairbanks was open to looking at any solution that could meet the organization’s needs and not just what the incumbent vendor offered.

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Fairbanks looked at every possible solution from every video vendor. In addition to being able to scale to the over 17,000 users, the solution had to meet some other requirements. Bloomberg wanted a solution that was completely customized and offered a unique experience. Also, the solution should allow users to easily change screen layouts, as well as be able to pop content up on another worker’s screen for easier collaboration.

What to choose?

After looking at all of the solutions, Fairbanks had three options:

Continue to use the incumbent vendor and do nothing. This was obviously the least-expensive option because the only cost would be maintaining the system. This wasn’t practical, though, as the solution already had some scale issues and did not allow for any kind of personalization.
Upgrade to the incumbent vendor’s new architecture. This would have met the requirement for the number of users, but it did not provide the ability to pop up content or change layouts on the client.
Change to Vidyo. It was the only solution that met all of Bloomberg’s requirements.
Moving to Vidyo and away from the incumbent required an up-front cost, but that did not matter. Bloomberg wanted something that met the company’s requirements, and the Vidyo solution was the only option that did.

Initially Fairbanks discounted Vidyo because the vendor seemed to be closed and proprietary. There was also a perception of risk because Vidyo is smaller than the other solution providers.

A trial run of Vidyo’s solution put Fairbanks’ concerns to rest, however, and he selected it. Some of the benefits it offers:

Integrated collaboration features into Nexi using the VidyoWorks platform. VidyoWorks enables the embedding of point-to-point and multipoint video, audio and content sharing and collaboration into Nexi.
A customized Bloomberg experience instead of being forced to use the vendor’s application.
The ability to scale to all 17,000 employees with no performance degradation. Now, every employee can enjoy the benefits of Nexi.

Also, the solution deployed quickly. The entire process took nine months from contract signing to full deployment across Bloomberg’s 192 offices in 73 countries.

The implementation of Vidyo in Nexi was smooth, and user satisfaction has been high. There haven’t been any performance issues despite the increased volume.

Performance gains

Specifically, Fairbanks provided these data points to illustrate the solution’s performance:

There is now three times the number of video users, but the whole solution uses less bandwidth than before.
Bloomberg now averages more Vidyo calls in a week than the company did in a month with the legacy solution. The company call volume is in the millions in the past six months.
Fairbanks said Vidyo was willing to listen to his feedback and liked how the companies partnered on the final solution, which now includes strong security and other infrastructure enhancements.

Vidyo also minimizes the impact on the WAN and can be flexibly deployed in a variety of network topologies, which optimizes the video for quality. It can be deployed in a geographically distributed fashion that allows for localization of traffic to certain regions. By using intelligent cascading technology, inter-region traffic is minimized to a single video call’s worth of bandwidth between regions, reducing the total traffic load on the WAN. This is similar to a CDN but optimized for real-time, low-latency, two-way video communications.

Today, use of Nexi is pervasive across Bloomberg, users are happy and video utilization is at an all-time high. Fairbanks was successful because he did his homework and chose the best solution for his organization instead of making the easy decision of staying with the incumbent.

8 Ways Your Students Can Benefit From Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has become a staple of many businesses in recent years, allowing companies to meet together and share ideas in a matter of minutes, saving them time and money in travel into the bargain. The technology has proved so versatile, that now the education sector has been trying it out in the classroom.

But what can you do with technology meant for the business room in the classroom? Does it really have a place in technology? You would be surprised at just how useful it is for teachers and students alike. Check out the various uses of video conferencing below, and see just how your students can use it to enhance their learning.

Go on a virtual field trip: While fun and hugely beneficial to students, sometimes it just isn’t feasible to take your class on a field trip. With time restraints, money concerns, and staffing issues, there just isn’t any way to take the students to your local museum or place of interest. However, not all is lost, as they trip can come to you. Video conferencing also means that distance isn’t an issue, so you can take the class on a trip somewhere thousands of miles away, just with the push of a button.
Talk to experts around the world: When you’re studying the people of Ancient Greece or the life cycle of a frog, it can feel as though there are limitations to your knowledge. You may not be able to bring an expert in the subject into your classroom physically, but you certainly can with video conferencing. For example, Mashable describes how one class, struggling with their writing skills, took part in a seminar about narrative writing online, and came away excited about what they could do next.
Collaborate with other schools: In past years, your class may have worked with a different class in your school on a project, or maybe another school in your local area. Video conferencing makes it possible to collaborate with schools all over the country, or even further afield. Lifesize shows how conferencing can help you reach other children all over the globe, and allow your class to put a face to other cultures that otherwise that they wouldn’t have been able to, otherwise.
Expand access to education to rural areas: Most students can take their access to education for granted, but some struggle to learn due to their distance from a school, and other obligations that make learning take a backseat. Video conferencing means that they can attend school from home, fulfilling their right to an education, and allowing them to attend any field trips or other special events that the class may attend.
Record classes: You hope that none of your students will miss school, but sometimes it’s unavoidable due to illness or other complications. If a student is living with a long term illness, they can miss out on a large amount of schooling, which can seriously affect their education. Video conferencing technology allows teachers to record their lessons and send the videos to their absent students. The student doesn’t miss out on anything, and you have a record of your classes that can be useful for evaluation purposes.
Create study groups: If students are given access to the technology, it can be used for all kinds of purposes. When putting together study groups, conferencing can be used to allow the group to meet up remotely. This is great if all of your students live distantly from each other, as it allows them to meet instantly from the comfort of their own homes.
Remote parent/teacher conferences: It can be difficult to get parents into the school for parent teacher conferences, with modern work schedules being so demanding and often unpredictable. Video conferencing allows you to meet up with your student’s parents wherever they are, keeping them in the loop without pulling them away from their job.
Integration with existing classroom technology: How Stuff Works explains how video conferencing can be used with technology already in your classroom. Interactive whiteboards mean that you can pull up the conferencing application to show the whole class, useful if you’re talking to an expert or want the whole class to see something on a virtual tour. If there’s laptops in your classroom, students can use them individually to talk to their peers. There’s a whole raft of ways that students can use their technology to get involved.

As you can see, there’s a huge range of ways that video conferencing solutions can enhance your students’ learning experience. With many companies, such as Blue Jeans, offering their services, you can choose the best service for your school and get started quickly. Why not try the technology for yourself and see what it can do for your classroom?

Using Video Conferencing to Help Different Departments Work Together

Different departments within a company need to be able to work together to facilitate efficient operations. However, with the globalized nature of present day corporate operations, effective types of face-to-face interaction and communication are easier said than done. Some French companies in Lyon could have their HR division in Paris while their IT team might be operating from Toulouse. This division of operations across multiple regions has been an increasingly popular kind of operation within the country due to different labor codes and tax incentives in particular cities. As such, managers and employees within various regions have learned to adapt to these rules, resulting in more people communicating over email and telephone calls rather than face-to-face conversations. Unfortunately, many employees find that communicating in this manner is very restrictive since they lack the level of interaction that can be found when talking directly to a person instead of through email or via a telephone. This is why the use of video conferencing for IT from providers like Blue Jeans has become an increasingly preferred way to hold conversations with other people.

What is the Appeal?

Face-to-face conversations make people more comfortable with each other and facilitate the creation of a more pleasing professional relationship. While emails and phone calls are effective methods of interaction and communication, they have a certain remoteness to them that make them less appealing. People like seeing the face of the person they are communicating with since it enables them to gauge the reaction of the other person to particular ideas. Communicating emotion over emails is difficult, and phone conversations are often very formal when it is between individuals in the same company. Face-to-face conversations allow people to feel more at ease with one another, and this facilitates more informal methods of reciprocal communication.

Why is It Important to Facilitate Communication between Different Departments?

Different divisions working together towards a shared goal is a necessary process for any company. For example, IT teams within many companies need to know what various departments require when it comes to the implementation of particular systems. This can range from the type of user interface that is going to be installed all the way down to the access controls that each team head gives to his or her individual team members. While an IT employee within a company can implement the most efficient process that they believe would work, this does not mean that this method would be what another group would consider as being effective. IT teams often have to engineer custom made solutions to fit the needs of a department, and this can only be done if they know what that division considers as pertinent or inconsequential. To accomplish this, an IT employee would need to talk with the appropriate team head to understand their needs and create a solution that would suit them. The problem with this process lies in the method that they choose to communicate with each other.

Yes, emails and phone calls would work, but it is often the case that both individuals focus on formalities and professional attitudes when it comes to how they address one another. As a result, custom made solutions utilizing these methods of communication often lack the informal opinions of the division head due to concerns of propriety when it comes to all emails and phone conversations. The resulting solution developed by the IT staff would work, but it would not be as effective when compared to a solution that was created with both the professional input of the team head as well as his informal opinions regarding the current systems in use.

The use of video conferencing in facilitating collaboration between different divisions is important in present day operations since this enables employees to talk to one another in a manner that allows both professional inputs as well as informal opinions to blend into a seamless back-and-forth conversation. As a result, this allows employees across different groups to understand one another in a more desirable manner which makes inter-departmental collaboration easier to accomplish.

How Can This Be Implemented?

The simplest method of implementation is to utilize already present services so that the company will not have to create its own internal system just for video conferencing. Many video conferencing companies can provide the necessary hardware and software to accomplish this task, and all a company would need to do is choose the appropriate package that would suit them the best.

All in all, video conferencing is one of the best methods of facilitating better understanding and collaboration between different departments. By implementing such a system, a company would be able to notice the difference in more effective and efficient operations. Do note though that you should not go overboard. Only get the package that you need and add more onto it as the need arises.