BT announced on Monday that it had completed the acquisition of Wire One Holdings, a specialist US videoconferencing company, for an undisclosed amount.
Wire One also has offshoots in the Asia-Pacific regions. According to Aaron McCormack, chief executive of BT Conferencing, the company "is one of the leaders in videoconferencing and is a great acquisition for [BT]".
McCormack believes videoconferencing is one of the faster growing areas of IT. "Last year it was a £150m market; this year we are looking at £250m," he told ZDNet.co.uk. "In the first quarter it was a bit soft but this quarter it is very robust. We are looking at growth of anywhere between 25 and 40 percent, depending on who you talk to.'"
He claims there is a stronger market in videoconferencing now, "because of the green issue and the tighter economy squeezing spending". It has also been helped, he believes, by the emergence of HDTV. "When you look at things like HD, which is so lifelike now, and telepresence, it makes a real difference to meetings," McCormack said.
As ever, the chief issue is price, admits McCormack. Such systems can cost anywhere from £40,000 to £50,000 for a basic videoconferencing system, up to "£300,000 for the full University Challenge look", he said.
BT's purchase of Wire One was settled five weeks ago but the company has waited to make a full announcement when some final details were settled, McCormack said.