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The coming convergence of video and unified communications

Finished wrapping up interviews for my next SearchITChannel Tech Watch story, looking at the convergence of network video applications and unified communications solutions that combine IP telephony, email, instant messaging and other voice applications.

In the process, I came across some new figures from International Data Corp. that suggest enterprise videoconferencing solutions will grow to about $3.2 billion in 2012, which is an 18.7 percent growth rate over 2011. Last year, the market reached about $2.7 billion in revenue, IDC reported, which was a growth rate of 20.6 percent.

In a statement accompanying some of the IDC stats, Rich Costello, senior research analyst for enterprise communications infrastructure at IDC, said his team expects “increasing integrations of video and telepresence with unified communications and collaboration applications, and other related video network equipment.”

It appears that people are getting sick of communications application islands and are looking for VARs to integrate video applications, including videoconferencing, with existing unified communications platforms.

Anecdotally speaking, the technology solution providers I have interviewed for my upcoming story said that videoconferencing applications are moving beyond nice-to-have technology that can bring some benefits when it comes to corporate travel budgets.

Smart small businesses are using emerging videoconferencing options that don’t require room-based or immersive deployments to create face-to-face experiences with customers and customer prospects. Why limit your selling activities to a canned video on your Web site? This is an example of a tool that could provide a revenue stream for VARs and systems integrators, AND also become something that aids their own selling activities.

Watch for my coverage of the convergence of video and UC later in March on The site editor Leah Rosin, riffs on managed video conferencing in a related post.

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Wish it would be possible to have base hardware available standalone. And functionality kept loaded as desired based on standards. Wish it was possible that iPAD hardware is available and I cloud load windows on top of it. I see that to be the future anyways.