Telepresence under fire by cheap HD video conferencing

Summary:What's going on? HD video conferencing is good enough for small groups and immersive telepresence has a limited market.

High-end telepresence sales have decelerated as lower cost video conferencing tools gain traction, according to IDC data.

This news shouldn't be all that surprising given both Cisco and Polycom cited slower sales. According to IDC, video conferencing revenue in the first quarter grew at a 14.4 percent clip. That tally is below the 23 percent to 25 percent pace over the last three quarters.

Systems like this one may be good enough over immersive telepresence set-ups.

More importantly, immersive telepresence systems are stumbling with sales falling 38.7 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago. Immersive telepresence sales have fallen year over year five quarters in a row.

What's going on? First, HD video conferencing is good enough for small groups. In addition, immersive telepresence is an investment a limited number of large companies can make.

The returns are there based on travel budgets, but bandwidth costs, conference room overhauls and other investments limit the market. As video conferencing moves downstream tools like Skype may be good enough.

In terms of market share, the video conferencing market remains dominated by Cisco, which has 50.6 percent of the market. Polycom has 26.3 percent of the market and Logitech's Lifesize is No. 3 with 5 percent share, according to IDC. Watch Lifesize given it is emerging as a value telepresence play.

Topics: Cisco

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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