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August 26, 2009

Telepresence Market to Reach $4.7 Billion by 2014: Report

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor


As more and more companies look for cost savings during the economic downturn, high-tech solutions such as telepresence and video conferencing services are becoming more popular.
 
A new report found that the telepresence solutions and video conferencing market is posed for strong growth. By 2014, the market is expected to reach $4.7 billion, according to analyst group Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert).
 
Of that total, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be a major market for telepresence and will account for more than one-third of the total market, or $1.7 billion in revenue, the report said.
 
"The telepresence market in Asia is definitely seeing a strong growth and awareness,” Pranabesh Nath, an industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan's ICT Practice for Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “However, to realize the full potential of this technology, customers need to be able to talk to each other no matter what telepresence system or vendor they use.”
 
What’s driving the growth? According to Frost & Sullivan, the introduction of higher quality products, dropping broadband prices, and the need to cut business travel costs are just some factors fueling telepresence.
 
BrightCom, a Huntington Beach, Calif. provider of integrated telepresence and video conferencing solutions, is one company experiencing an increase in the adoption of these technologies in Asia. BrightCom CEO Bob McCandless told TMCnet in an interview that business is good in the region because of the large amount of business – such as manufacturing – that the Asia Pacific provides for enterprises around the world.
 
Product quality, ease of use, accessibility and network connections have vastly improved over the last decade, McCandless said. The costs and logistics of operating dedicated networks for conference broadcasts are also greatly reduced with the increase of managed service providers, the utilization of MPLS networks, and cheaper rates for T1 lines, he said.
 
“The global economy is a major factor that is influencing all enterprise operations,” McCandless said. “Budgets everywhere are limited and companies are looking for ways to save money and reduce costs like corporate travel. While video conferencing and telepresence can accomplish this, more importantly, companies are looking to these types of communications to decrease their time to market and leverage their intellectual capitol in real-time, across their entire organization. In order to do more with less, businesses are realizing that conferencing technology has improved products, and managed network services that are tailored to specifically to enterprise’s needs and challenges.”
 
Company officials that use telepresence solutions favor it because it gives them the tools they need to conduct face-to-face meetings from afar.
 
“Businesses are finding that they can emotionally and professionally connect with partners and clients from anywhere in real-time via a mobile laptop or a fixed telepresence room specifically crafted for instant and collaborative meetings,” McCandless said. “This promotes higher levels of productivity, competitive edge and eventually increased profits.”
 
Telepresence (News - Alert) solutions are being used for a variety of reasons. For example, BrightCom recently announced that Vaughan Benz, a manufacturer of high-end, custom made wood and upholstered furniture for the hospitality industry, is using the company’s integrated HD video and data solutions. The company implemented BrightCom’s ClearView Telepresence system to enhance communications and strengthen its corporate culture between the company’s North American and Chinese manufacturing factories.
 
The technology also helped another customer “attend” meetings through telepresence when he was banned from flying back and forth to Japan for meetings due to swine flu travel restrictions
Other users are tapping BrightCom’s telepresence technology to cut back on travel expenses. First California Bank, for instance, looked to reduce the number of hours its employees spent traveling back and forth to branch meetings in Southern California. So, it deployed BrightCom’s Visual Collaboration System, a single network appliance that acts as the backbone to BrightCom’s telepresence solutions offering complete Web conferencing capabilities and video call management. Beyond business settings, telepresence solutions are even being launched at sea and in classrooms.
 
But no matter the location, the technology helps create a better work environment for employees, allowing them to connect on a higher level with overseas partners.
 
“With instant and clear communication, telepresence delivers the necessary eye contact that helps overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers between the two countries,” McCandless said. “It also provides the collaborative workspace suited for interaction with the tools necessary to get the job done.”
 

Learn more about BrightCom at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPOWest will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Visit BrightCom at booth #202 in the exhibit hall. Don’t wait. Register now.

 

Follow ITEXPO (News - Alert) on Twitter: twitter.com/itexpo

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney




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