The big picture

The revenues of visual collaboration managed services are expected to grow due to the rise in the need for alternative means of communication between clients, partners and co-workers

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The market is also driven by the shift from the CAPEX to the OPEX model and the increasing complexity of managing multiple visual collaboration endpoints. However, growth could be restrained by a rise in automation in infrastructure products and processes and a fall in prices, as clients are not likely to pay for services they can manage themselves.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan World Visual Collaboration Managed Services Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $171.3m in 2010 and estimates this to reach $796m in 2016, growing at a compound  annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.2 percent.

“The driving factors for visual collaboration managed services include the fact that they do not have a direct impact on client’s facilities – there is no need to purchase MCUs, gateways or IT departments – there is no requirement to dedicate special teams to manage the conferences,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Iwona Petruczynik. “This is because all processes are outsourced to a service provider.”

Thus, the client is able to lower the cost of utilisation of visual collaboration. Moreover, visual collaboration solutions improve teamwork and accelerate the decision-making processes, as arranging a multimedia session is easy once the equipment is installed.

“A number of companies investing in visual collaboration solutions do not have the desire or resources to manage the systems themselves,” adds Petruczynik. “With high-end visual collaboration becoming a mission-critical component of the daily business operation, this situation creates an opportunity for service providers, as well as system integrators to deliver the visual collaboration services to clients.”

For companies that already utilise visual collaboration tools, expanding their offices means an increase in the number of endpoints that need to be managed and in some cases is beyond the company’s ability to administer them efficiently. Therefore, making the option of outsourcing such services to a third party is an attractive alternative. As a result, the visual collaboration managed service providers are likely to experience a rise in the demand for their services.

“One of the major challenges that visual collaboration managed services providers face is the lack of a single solution that would allow the interoperability of all systems and endpoints coming from different vendors,” comments Petruczynik. “Additionally, although the telepresence and high-definition video conferencing can run over a bandwidth 832 Kbps-1.7 Mbps, the requirements are still higher than the average. The upgrading would result in additional cost.”

Furthermore, factors like the automation of infrastructure products are likely to have an adverse effect on the growth of visual collaboration managed services, as customers are not likely to pay service providers for a feature they can manage by themselves. The demand is still likely to be high, but the fall in prices will be greater.

Visual collaboration managed service providers need to address a number of challenges including the generational and cultural gaps among business leaders, the lack of well-developed infrastructure that can support high-bandwidth requirements, and limited investment capabilities from enterprises caused by harsh economic conditions.

“Until recently, there was little interoperability between visual collaboration managed services systems that came from different vendors or operated on different networks,” concludes Petruczynik. “Although the problem is being resolved by a number of service providers, a single solution to connect all visual collaboration session participants working on different networks and products sourced from various vendors is not currently available.”

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