The Impact of Skype and Google+ on Enterprise Video Conferencing

by Kyle DeWitt on July 26, 2011 · 4 comments

in ScanSource Communications,Videoconferencing

In a recent conversation about Video Tele Conferencing (“VTC”) options, the questions were posed to me, “What do you think about Google+?  Do you think it will affect sales of video conferencing equipment?”

Having worked with the Polycom personal and room video conferencing systems now for a few years, I have felt comfortable comparing the user experience of the video aspects of Skype, Google Chat, and the various other IM engines  (the SoHo video clients) with that of a true VTC system, like those manufactured by Polycom, Cisco, Avaya, etc.  Typically, the SoHo video clients supported only point-to-point calls, used proprietary video codecs, and provided a low-quality video image.  It was an easy sell to show the benefit of dedicated video conferencing equipment for enterprise-level communications, especially considering there was almost NO interoperability between it and the SoHo options.

Now we see major changes to this landscape unfolding.  Skype was purchased by Microsoft and is being integrated into Facebook.  Google has launched Google+ with “hangouts” which allow multi-party video conferencing.  Companies are beginning to host software-based video conferencing applications in the cloud.

The line between SoHo video conferencing and Enterprise VTC is starting to blur.

Is it possible that enterprises will start to adopt these mainstream social media-based video conferencing solutions in lieu of the more expensive, dedicated VTC equipment?  One thing is certain:  it is a question that they will not be able to avoid.  As these consumer-level products continue to be released into the market, and into mainstream social media outlets, more and more users will be exposed to them.  Employees will begin to request the same efficient method of communication in the business that they have at home.

Or will the boom of video at home products drive the demand for video into the enterprise bringing with it an increase in video conferencing unit sales?

This post was written by

Kyle DeWitt is the Director of Technical Services for ScanSource’s NA Communications segment, based in Greenville, SC. He has over 10 years of experience in distribution for converged products and is a regular contributor to The Source on unified communications, and various technology discussions.

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