organizations grow in size and become more geographically dispersed,
corporations find themselves on a search for business communication
solutions that boost employee productivity and effectiveness, and show a
substantial return on investment.
Lately, there has been steady movement for organizations of all sizes to
leverage the Internet for all types of communications: written, spoken
and visual. As a result, vendors, both large and small, have emerged to
take a piece of the multi-billion dollar markets in real-time data
conferencing, teleconferencing and video-centric communications.
over IP (VoIP)
Instant Messaging (IM) and, most recently, the notion of Presence is
among the newest technologies that are changing the way large
organizations and enterprises communicate. Companies around the world
have chosen to embrace the power and inherent flexibility of these
business communication initiatives for a variety of compelling reasons:
reduced travel, revenue generation, improved customer service, increased
employee productivity and more.
Market Background and History
1995, a communication standard known as T.120 was created and ratified
by two organizations: FutureLabs (now known as WebEx Communications) and
DataBeam (acquired by Lotus and then by IBM). T.120 was created to
enable network-independent teleconferencing and video conferencing,
which was viewed as an important building block of Internet-based
conferencing. This created a wide range of collaborative apps�such as
desktop data conferencing, Instant Messaging and chat, point-to-point IP
video conferencing and multi-player gaming.
truly benefit from this point-to-point standard, large amounts of
bandwidth (in addition to expensive hardware and software) were
necessary to maximize communications and maintain data integrity. In
response to the costs involved, corporations retreated as customization,
implementation and securing dedicated bandwidth from each �data point�
were expensive and arduous processes. Communications providers found it
difficult to scale with the growing needs of customers and the
proliferation of the Internet. Moreover, point-to-point communications
solutions failed between these private end-points.
1998 many data, voice and video communication providers altered their
business models to subscription-based hosted services�now known as
Application Service Providers (ASPs). These Web-enabled solutions
overshadowed the presumed antiquated client/server solutions with
promises of speeding implementation and enabling companies to maximize
their Web communications with little or no capital expenditures. In this
user-focused model, security and on-going costs were afterthoughts and
features were king.
According to research, as usage of these ASP solutions spread throughout
an organization�and its partners, suppliers and vendors�and despite the
promises of the ASPs themselves, costs actually increase. Now the old is
new again, as large organizations search for scalable architecture,
long-term ROI and cost control and internal administration.
Current State of the Market
Pressure to reduce travel costs while maintaining real-time
communications with customers, employees and partners, has resulted in
virtually all Fortune 1000 companies using some form of Web
conferencing, IM, and/or video conferencing solution�although most often
on a hosted (read: ASP) basis.
More widespread, global collaboration implies a need for more efficient
communication between corporations and their customers, partners,
distributors, manufacturers and designers. Technology industry analysts
have discovered that through better collaborative tools and techniques,
industry-leaders are also reducing their development time
significantly�sometimes by 50 percent.
Application Service Providers (ASPs) have enabled small workgroups to
cost-effectively communicate regardless of time zone or logistics
constraints, but as usage of these solutions spread across an enterprise
and beyond, costs dramatically increase and the scalability and
performance of these archaic ASP-only services suffers.
Additionally, overage fees are standard and hold back mainstream
acceptance of Web-centric collaboration. Also, multiple vendors are
being utilized by large organizations, and thus the end result is higher
consideration of Microsoft�s acquisition of PlaceWare in 2003, thus
announcing their market entry, other collaboration vendors are
scrambling to build and/or acquire key functionality to stay
competitive. Also, with Microsoft�s renewed focus on the Microsoft
Real-Time Collaboration project and its inclusion in the next Windows
operating system (codename: Longhorn), analysts are in agreement that
major changes are in store for the collaboration category in the next
24-36 months. Some of the speculation centers on the following issues:
Virtual dismissal of the T.120 standard � Analysts across the board are
rethinking their opinions on T.120 for the enterprise and have begun to
deepen their understanding of why a larger organization needs more than
just a point-to-point communications solution for the LAN. Additionally,
T.120/point-to-point solutions fail to function securely and
consistently between routers, NATs and firewalls.
Market Consolidation and Convergence � Microsoft, Documentum and Polycom
have recently acquired technology players in the industry. In addition,
there have also been mergers and acquisitions that have occurred from
large audio conferencing service providers, such as Teleservice�s
acquisition of InterCall.
Usage Entrenchment � While awareness of collaboration continues to
permeate businesses of all levels and sizes�and major vendors such as
AOL, WebEx and Yahoo! continue their attempts at garnering end-users�the
majority of growth continues in the corporate environment. Similar to
what has taken place in the audio conferencing market; the majority of
businesses have yet to realize the benefits of instituting collaboration
into their communication practices. As the market grows toward
saturation, the extremes of the market (small business sector and large
enterprise/government) will be critical in driving vendor growth and for
the market to reach its full potential.
Although the Web conferencing newest users typically feel more
comfortable with the presentation features, experienced users are
finding the collaboration piece to be the most beneficial. Data/desktop
sharing and document collaboration functions of Web conferencing enable
users to efficiently work in a virtual team environment whether they are
a few cubicles apart or thousands of miles away. Document sharing,
application sharing, group Web browsing, desktop sharing and
whiteboarding represent the features and functions most frequently
utilized by the enterprise.
Subscription-based solutions are inherently cost-intensive over
long-term use and T.120-based peer-to-peer technology prohibits a secure
and scalable, cross-platform solution. These global leaders are shifting
to implement viable, server-centric solutions that enable both secure,
scalable Web communications and cost-effective ownership and
Most of these collaborative solutions are based on
technology/functionality that can only be acquired as subscription
services (ASPs) and provide significant barriers to enterprise-wide
beyond the customer�s license agreement are exorbitant and limit the
use of collaboration in any size organization. Additionally, these
customers have no awareness of real-time usage and costs. Current
pricing of ASP-only vendors is $40-200 monthly per user. This
monthly recurring cost, combined with overage fees, does not provide
for cost-effective usage of ASP-only Web conferencing solutions.
ASP-only Web conferencing services are offered on a
subscription-basis and hosted outside the corporate firewall,
security is often limited to Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.
ASP-only services do not allow migration to a behind-the-firewall
solution and, therefore, cannot enable ironclad security for the
Conflict: ASP vendors� dominant source of Channel Conflict is the
Pay-Per-Use (PPU) model, where customers pay a small recurring
monthly access fee and are charged only for they time they use.
While it sounds beneficial, larger corporations are beginning to
experience the exact opposite and should turn to a more
cost-effective solution in the near future.
While hosted solutions are advantageous for workgroups and smaller
organizations, larger corporations need a standards-based solution with
enhanced security and administrative control that enables
bandwidth-independent collaboration and incorporated IM, video, data and
Current Client/Server LAN collaboration software vendors have attempted
to acquire market share by retrofitting and adding collaborative
functionality into their existing software offerings. They have inherent
architectural problems reaching out beyond the corporate LAN to securely
include external conference participants. Some vendors have attempted to
re-tool their product offerings in an effort to augment their solutions
and support the globally distributed enterprise. Aside from unreliable
functionality and insurmountable firewall challenges, these solutions
usually require major expenditures and significant implementation time.
However, a select number of vendors have emerged with significant
vision, talent, capital, and relationships that enable enterprises of
all sizes to integrate and implement all aspects of real-time and
on-demand collaboration behind the firewall in days�not weeks or
months�without significant investment, administration, training or
management. A good example of enterprise communication and collaboration
convergence is provided by WiredRed Software.
part of this analysis on Internet-based enterprise communication,
Engravado Consulting has conducted an in-depth review of WiredRed�s
e/pop product line and has determined the following:
WiredRed offers convergence of collaboration and communication. There is
significant opportunity for WiredRed as well as their customers based on
the integrated offerings in the e/pop product line. As e/pop is deployed
and managed behind the firewall, WiredRed is able to meet the short-term
and long-term business collaboration needs of the enterprise.
ability to �start simple� with the like of an alert or chat session and
then escalate the encounter to a fully interactive conference�with
multi-point and bandwidth-friendly data, voice and video conferencing�is
of significant benefit to the end user and the organization as a whole.
Aesthetically, users and administrators will find the UI intuitive.
Whether you are starting a conference or installing the server itself,
WiredRed has put significant time and energy in maximizing and
simplifying the experience.
WiredRed�s flexible and scalable Real-Time Routing Architecture is a
tremendous benefit to organizations looking to truly utilize the
Internet for their communication needs. By acting as a �smart agent� and
enabling e/pop modules to �talk� to one another, WiredRed is positioning
itself to compete in the realm of enterprise software infrastructure.
End-users and administrators alike will find WiredRed�s e/pop products
extremely feature-rich, offering the best in Internet-based data, voice
and video conferencing functionality.
WiredRed was founded in 1998 and headquartered in San Diego, California.
WiredRed's e/pop software targets IT staff that seeks secure instant
messaging, company-wide alert messaging and face Web conferencing
challenges. The company licenses its software to corporate and
government IT organizations.
Charles Orlando has
served as both in-house and external marketing consultant for number of
consumer and technology companies in high technology; and also as
director of marketing for WebEx Communications and Pixion, Inc.