“My goal is to get that technology out and about and working, and make sure the infrastructure can support the growth as it occurs,” he added.
Indeed e-learning—as well as telemedicine—are two of the primary drivers of videoconferencing technology’s double-digit growth, said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research. Other vertical-markets are also adding the technology.
“We are seeing an increasing trend with customers using telepresence to offer new services for their customers. We see this in the financial industry (wealth management experts connecting to clients), legal industry (remote consultations), and even in retail (remote experts for product information),” a Cisco spokeswoman told Tech Decisions.
Dimension Data, which has headquarters in South Africa and offices around the world, uses videoconferencing to foster a sense of community among its far-flung executives and employees, said Danto. In addition, Dimension Data has reduced travel times and costs; is more environmentally friendly, and enhances employees’ productivity, since they spend much less time stuck in traffic or at airports, he said.
Dimension Data and its videoconferencing clients enjoy faster decision-making, said Danto. While people often need to see each other to make decisions, videoconferencing provides that face-to-face factor, without the drawbacks of air travel.
“You can accelerate critical decision-making. We don’t need to first set a meeting for next week,” he said.
Whereas videoconferencing once was limited to conference rooms equipped with dedicated, proprietary systems, vendors today are developing systems that work on an array of platforms and environments.
Polycom has evolved its products to include open standards-based mobile-based videoconferencing solutions, said John Antanaitis, vice president of product marketing.
“Video has left the building. It’s kind of like Elvis. It’s moved away from the conference room. It’s still thriving there and growing there, but it’s moved to new areas like mobile, social, collaboration and the cloud,” he said. “Social networking has become massive from the consumer market but it’s also become helpful for the enterprise. It’s removing the clock barrier. Polycom has been working to integrate with a number of the leading social networking solutions.”
For example, Polycom is compatible with IBM SameTime unified communications software. The Polycom RealPresence family can integrate with backward- and forward-compatible with