Consider the following statistics: Cisco Systems has cut its annual travel budget from $780 million down to $230 million. When the economy improves, Cisco will raise the figure to $350 million -- but it will never rise from there, because of increased online collaboration and telepresence. Meanwhile, managed video as a service (MVaaS) continues to proliferate. Are you catching the wave?
Generally speaking, I think most VARs and managed service providers continue to focus too much on basic infrastructure (managed switches, routers and related upgrades) rather than embracing MVaaS. But there are signs across the market that telepresence and high-definition video conferencing is going mainstream. A few prime examples:
- Privately held Lifesize Communications saw its revenue rise roughly 150 percent in 2008 vs. 2007, as VARs and customers increasingly adopted the company's low-cost video conferencing systems. Our sister site, TheVARguy.com, has been hearing rumors about Cisco potentially acquiring Lifesize.
- BT, the big service provider, is building an Exchange that will allow telepresence sessions between companies.
- AT&T and others are pushing telepresence into hotel conference centers, which are available on a pay-by-hour basis.
- Smaller companies, such as Envysion, are building out MVaaS offerings for channel partners. (The company also publishes a timely MVaaS blog.)
- Cisco's Chambers expects 90 percent of Internet loads to involve video traffic within a year or two.
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