Unified Communications Featured Article

Conferencing is Moving to the Desktop

November 17, 2009

Though high-end systems tend to grab the headlines, desktop-based conferencing will dominate the segment, with Cisco and Microsoft leading the market share rankings, says David Ferris, Ferris Research principal.

And in a startling prediction, Ferris is bearish on the future for high-end, room-based systems, at least for solutions not based on commodity PC style components.

"My hunch is that not merely will high end solutions be marginalized, but they will also be driven out of business," Ferris says. "There will be a market for high-end conferencing solutions, but they will be based on commodity PC technology."

For the last 10 years, the electronic conferencing world has tended to focus on high-end solutions such as those from Polycom, he notes.

But those solutions require special conference rooms, expensive WAN links and special equipment. Mass adoption requires use of PC-based systems that do not require these investments, he argues.

IBM/Lotus, Microsoft and Cisco are leading the march, he argues.

It's clear that PC-based solutions will dominate this market before long, says Ferris. "They are much cheaper and are simpler to use, both from the user and the IT standpoint." Quality, meanwhile, keeps increasing.

"Microsoft overall has the advantage in this market, because it can provide the most user- and IT-familiar technology," says Ferris. "But expect strong competition from Cisco over the next few years." And IBM cannot be discounted, either, he argues.

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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