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Mobile Video Conferencing: Cutting the Endpoint Cord
Video currently drives more mobile data traffic than any other type of application, according to Ericsson estimates in its June 2013 Mobility Report. When most people think of mobile video, they think of services like Netflix, Vine and YouTube. But increasingly that mix includes video conferencing/calling services, primarily for business-to-business (B2B) communications, but also for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and eventually business-to-consumer (B2C) interaction.

The mobile video conferencing trend has broad implications, both negative and positive. For example, it could encourage enterprises to increase the size and thus spend of their mobile data plans. But unless mobile operators can find a way to add value, video conferencing is yet another over-the-top (OTT) service that relegates them to dumb-pipe status. For providers of contact center solutions, B2C video conferencing products are a way for businesses to cater to customers whose preferred or only Internet device is a smartphone or tablet.

There are also a few wild cards, including WebRTC, which enables video conferencing using only the device's browser, so it could cut into the market for specialized apps. Another wild card is the continued adoption including among enterprises of Skype and Google Hangouts, which also compete with specialized apps and services.

This reports considers telepresence as another form of video conferencing even though some vendors continue to insist on marketing it as a fundamentally different, superior experience. That line blurred long ago thanks to telepresence's rapid downmarket evolution from a conference-room-only experience to a product that could fit on a desk.

Mobile video conferencing also increasingly includes collaboration, such as multiple participants reviewing and editing a document. Obviously collaboration is more challenging on a handheld device than in a conference room or on an executive-desktop system. As a result, it is an opportunity for vendors to differentiate their mobile video conferencing products, such as with a user interface (UI) that makes reviewing and editing documents an intuitive, user-friendly experience.

Mobile video conferencing is a nascent market, but it's also growing rapidly. Some vendors and service providers say that 30 percent of their customers' conferences have at least one participant on a smartphone or tablet. That adoption is noteworthy for another reason: The more companies that use it, the more word gets around, spurring more organizations to implement or at least consider it.

Mobile Video Conferencing: Cutting the Endpoint Cord identifies and analyzes key issues affecting the market for mobile video conferencing hardware, software and services. This report is based on interviews with a representative sample of companies.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei0813_toc.pdf)
When Apple extended FaceTime to the iPhone, most mobile operators restricted its use to Wi-Fi for fear that the additional traffic would overload their networks. That concern was understandable, partly because it was a new use case, so operators didn't know whether it would become a mainstream favorite or a niche play. This restriction is gradually being lifted, which suggests that two-way video isn't a bandwidth hog. LTE also helps because it reduces the operator's cost of delivering data services, including video. The following excerpt shows how all types of video collectively drive more traffic than any other application type. Operators must figure out how to both avoid being swamped and monetize that traffic, and many of those strategies apply to video conferencing and in turn benefit enterprises by lowering the cost of that service.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Total pages: 12
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