Video conferencing and telepresence market hit $2.7bn last year

Users' increasing appetite for collaborative communications technologies is helping fuel market growth, according to IDC.

video conferencing

Demand for videoconferencing technology is going from strength to strength thanks to a particularly strong quarter at the end of last year, according to research published this week by IDC.

Videoconferencing revenue for the entire year shot up by a fifth to $2.7 billion, fueled by a 24.6 per cent year-on-year growth in Q4 revenue and a 19 per cent quarter-on-quarter rise.

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Advances in technology and the falling cost of network bandwidth means the opportunity to embrace video conferencing and develop innovative uses exists now more than ever before.

"Growth has been spurred on by more well-defined video use cases among organisations across a range of vertical market segments, including healthcare, higher education, financial services, legal, law enforcement, manufacturing, and retail," said Rich Costello, senior analyst at IDC's Enterprise Communications Infrastructure division.

"We also expect growth over the next several years to be bolstered by the impact of video integrated with vendors' unified communications and collaboration portfolios, and increasing video usage among small workgroups, desktop users, and mobile device users."

The growth rate has positive implications for future business opportunities as well, according to other industry experts.

"It is promising to see video conferencing revenues growing, as companies begin to recognise the business benefits that video conferencing can bring," said Chris Argent, financial services consultant at ICT consultancy Hudson & Yorke.

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Argent explained the possibility for exploring videoconferencing for customer-facing services instead of just internal, employee-focused activities.

"As consumers are growing used to socialising, banking and shopping in a virtual way, many would be happy to discuss and buy financial products and other services from a video agent," Argent said.

"Advances in technology and the falling cost of network bandwidth means the opportunity to embrace video conferencing and develop innovative uses exists now more than ever before."

Cisco held the top spot during the fourth quarter of 2011 with 35.5 per cent year-on-year growth and holds 54.3 per cent of the market.

Polycom's revenue also increased 15.2 per cent year-on-year, with annual growth figures of just over 20 per cent.

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