As the on-premise systems now support reservationless On-demand conferencing, they let employees hold impromptu meeting, without pre-scheduling these meetings – allowing them to collaborate when they need to, with whomever they need to, provided both parties have access to compatible video conferencing systems.
Vendors are recognizing the market opportunity and value of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market and are making available systems that are affordable and easy-to-install/ use/manage because SMBs typically don’t have the IT staff to support these solution. In some instances these solutions can be managed remotely by VARs and service providers. However, they are still a ways away from a price that will explode mainstream adoption in the global SMB markets.
Video conferencing solutions fall in three broad categories:
- Top Tier of Telepresence solution at corporate locations to communicate with key accounts for executive management that support high-def.
- Tier 2 small conference room solutions for teams/workgroup meetings and training sessions (low-end support standard def. and high-end support hig-def.)
- Tier 3 of personal integrated or desktop system for more regular 1:1 communication sessions. These personal integrated web/video conferencing systems (which are point and click and only need a web cam or desktop systems (with integrated audio, video and content sharing capabilities).
Video conferencing solutions vendors are now developing products and solutions designed specifically for the SMB and mid-market. These systems are easy-to-use and priced appropriately for this market segment. Polycom’s QDX6000 system is now available for under $4,000. The QDX6000 is a full featured SMB product that offers high resolution DVD quality video room-based video conferencing solution that has low-bandwidth requirements. A these price points, SMBs can pay for the systems by reducing travel expenses – reduction of 2-3 business trips can now pay for these solutions providing short-term ROI.
Video conferencing solutions are leading to more frequent meetings between distributed workers (and in several cases with outsourcing partners), and providing improved productivity by speeding product development by helping teams triage and resolve problems faster. This is especially true for SMBs that sales and development office in the U.S., outsourced software development locations in India, and outsourced manufacturing in China and Latin America.
Horizontally across all mid-market companies’ sales, marketing, training (for distributed employees, partners, and customers), recruitment, and product development are the key application segments. Vertical industries including financial services, professional services, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, oil and gas, law, entertainment and education are among the top adopters of video conferencing solutions. New applications for video conferencing are being launched with greater frequency as deployment increases; increases in travel costs are prompting SMBs to interview potential employees as this allows one to interact virtually face-to-face as if you were in the same room regardless of geographic locations and time zone differences.
Polycom, Tandberg, Lifesize, and Vidyo are the top SMB video conferencing solution vendor. Polycom is the leading video conferencing solutions vendor. On a global basis Polycom is shipping about 10,000 video conferencing systems, with a large number of them now going into the SMB segment. Tandberg is another front-runner providing comprehensive video conferencing that is increasing focus and products targeted at the SMB segment.
– SMBs don’t have internal IT staff expertise to setup on-premise video conferencing systems. Increasingly they are turning to VARs and service providers that specialize in video conferencing services and rentals like WireOne Communications and Intercall to help setup and remotely support these systems. Video service providers enable rich media communications by providing IP network services optimized for videoconferencing traffic by providing dedicated MPLS-based IP networks that handle voice, video, and data on a single network with quality of service (QoS) built in to support the more rigorous needs of these solutions.