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Wednesday, 29 April 2009 13:19

Telepresence spurs on APAC market growth

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The entry of local players, Hong Kong’s CPCNet and China’s Huawei Technologies into the Asia Pacific market with their own telepresence offerings, has boosted the regional market for the video conferencing technology.

Market analysts Ovum, in its report on the telepresence market released today, says, up to this time, telepresence had been a global vendor/global service provider story – involving companies like Cisco, Tandberg, Polycom, AT&T, BT and Verizon Business - but the momentum has now shifted with the entry into the Asia Pacific market by the two local regional players.

Ovum’s Lucy Arole says the market shift has been brought about by CPCNet’s launch of its managed high-definition video conferencing solution, VC2, and Huawei’s launch of its own line of telepresence equipment. Added to that, says Arole, was the launch at the end of last year, by local player SingTel, of its managed HD video conferencing service, which now includes telepresence.
 
According to Arole, the potential for HD video conferencing in China is huge, with telepresence providing an extremely useful tool to help manufacturers demonstrate their products without the need for travel.

“So far, telepresence deployments in China have been made by the major players in the HD video conferencing market, Tandberg, Polycom and Cisco,” Arole says, adding that global managed telepresence offers from AT&T and BT have had “limited reach into the Asia-Pacific region as the operators build up network operations centre capacity to support inter-carrier and inter-company video networking.”

Arole says the release of Huawei’s telepresence solution will help the market grow within China.
“Huawei is renowned for its low-cost solutions so we may expect pricing to become more competitive for video conferencing units in the future if the Huawei solution can compete with its western competitors.”
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“Now regional enterprise users will have potentially even more choice than counterparts in Europe and the Americas, with the emergence of these regional players,” Arole predicts.
 
Arole stresses that CPCNet has focused its managed services model around video conferencing being accessible to all users, something, she says, that Ovum believed was essential for the development of video conferencing when telepresence made its entrance to the market in 2007.
 
“Telepresence has definitely spurred on the video conferencing market and CPCNet’s managed network connectivity is essential for the quality of video conferences using different devices.”

“CPCNet’s VC2 solution is provided through a range of CPE devices and allows laptop access to the conference room, and the provides the managed network connectivity to maximise the efficient use of the network for video traffic at the same time as integrating different bandwidths to provide HD quality video to all participants in the conference.

Commenting on Huawei’s entry to the telepresence market, Arole says it has quietly announced its latest telepresence offering, and although the company is already offering a selection of end points for HD video conferencing, this is its first move in the telepresence market.

“The solution, ViewPoint Telepresence 3006, is based on open standards so that it can be interoperable over different networks and can provide HD and standard-definition conferencing to users with existing video conferencing solutions. The solution uses a wireless control to manage the call setup, which it says is simpler and more convenient to use than a telephone call.”
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Arole maintains interoperability is key for telepresence, and says Huawei has made the right choice to make sure that its solution is interoperable.

While Ovum observes the market changes taking place with local players entering the telepresence business, the firm says western operators are catching up in the APAC region by making their own moves in China.

Ovum points to the announcement in by AT&T that it would also extend its telepresence services into China during 2009 by working with local partners to provide the service, and the announcement just this month by Orange Business Services that it is upgrading its IP network in Asia-Pacific, citing video conferencing support as one of the reasons for the upgrade.

Arole says all this activity in the Chinese market shows that telcos are trying to maximise their efforts to make the most of the potential of these markets, and, she says that time will tell whether the economic downturn will restrict this growth or, “if the emergence of HD video conferencing will enable enterprises to make much-needed cost savings to help them through this difficult period.”

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