OSLO: One of the main benefits often touted about video conferencing technology is that it allows firms to cut down on travel expenses and so lets executives become more productive.
The general manager of Cisco's TelePresence Systems Business Unit, Snorre Kjesbu, is proof this can work. He explained to V3 that he usually works several hours each evening from his home in Oslo, while chatting with colleagues in the US or other locations.
However, Kjesbu also travels a lot, visiting offices in the US, China and India to keep track of the firm's work at promoting the use and uptake of its Telepresence systems in businesses across the world.
While this may appear contradictory, Kjesbu claims reducing travel is only one of several benefits offered by video conferencing systems to businesses.
"The real advantage is about being able to make decisions faster, to scale knowledge within an organisation more easily and to unify an organisation. Yes, you can save on travel, and carbon emissions, but there are much more to video tools than that," he said.
"To me, working for Cisco, I use our systems every day, wherever I'm working, and I really struggle to understand how you can run a business without using tools like this to stay in touch with offices across the world."
While it's no surprise the head of TelePresence would find the use of the tool a major aspect of his job, recent figures from IDC suggest that the uptake of large-scale systems is slowing in the face of competition from smaller, more personal end points. The analyst house noted that while the last quarter saw enterprise video sales rise by 14 percent, this was down from 23 to 25 percent growth in the previous three quarters.
"The high-end, immersive telepresence market has been taking a hit lately as lower-cost, HD-quality video solutions, along with a range of new video deployment options for customers, have emerged," said Rich Costello, a senior analyst on Enterprise Communications Infrastructure.
However, growth is still expected in the future.
"We still expect overall positive video market growth for the next several years though, driven by the impact of video integrated with vendors' unified communications and collaboration portfolios, and with increasing strength among small workgroup, desktop and mobile collaboration users."
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