Is Videoconferencing Finally Making a Difference?

Scott Francis
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In a Forrester blog that usually focuses on more “process” and “application” issues, Claire Schooley recently blogged about Telepresence and Video Collaboration.  It might seem a little off-topic, but we at BP3 have written a few posts about video conferencing ourselves (here and here), because we’re fans of the technology (and in particular, of the solution we use from Lifesize). And in fact, good video collaboration may be a key to more efficient business processes in the future. What Schooley describes is the expensive high-end solution, with purpose-built-and-equipped rooms.  However, most of the same benefits can be achieved with less expensive solutions from a firm like Lifesize: high definition video, high-quality full duplex audio, IP-connectivity, and interoperability with standards that enable cross-vendor calls (with, for example, Polycom and Tandberg). When friends ask me about our video conferencing setup, I often tell them if I could get the cost down to $1000 per location, we’d have a system in every office – because it is worth that much to us.  The high-fidelity connections are just better than a skype video chat (though that is certainly better than nothing!).  The price keeps getting closer – LifeSize just came out with a unit that brings the price down to approximately $2500, and then with the Desktop solution there’s a bit lower-fidelity option that’s even cheaper. I don’t think it won’t be long before the quick trip on an airplane for a meeting will be a memory (or a luxury), but before that happens, we need to get high fidelity videoconferencing to be nearly as ubiquitous as instant messaging.