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Organizations upgrading their standard-definition videoconferencing systems should purchase high-definition systems from now on, a research firm said Thursday.
Some HD systems have dropped sufficiently in price to appeal to most organizations planning an update, Gartner said. Systems are selling for less than $10,000 per endpoint.
The videoconference market is in the early stages of maturity, with penetration less than 5% in organizations. "However, it has reached the point where it's a significant upgrade in terms of quality, and it's competitive enough in terms of cost, to appeal to organizations evaluating videoconferencing technology for room-based environments," Rich Costello, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.
Gartner expects the move to HD systems to be a driving factor behind a 20% to 30% annual growth rate of the worldwide market during the next couple of years.
Although an uncertain economic outlook for this year could prompt organizations to curtail IT spending, HD videoconferencing offers long-term cost savings, such as decreasing executive travel at a time of soaring gas and jet fuel prices, Gartner said. Other benefits include contributing to a company's "green IT" initiative, and increasing employee availability and productive work time.
In moving to HD video technology, however, Gartner advises organizations to consider costs other than the initial price of the system. Those costs include provisioning an appropriate room, ensuring adequate bandwidth, and anticipating an increase in use rates.
InformationWeek magazine has listed video over Internet protocol networks as one of five disruptive technologies to watch this year.
The combination of YouTube, improved Web-based and live videoconferencing, and the ease and lower cost of creating video content is expected to lead to more video running across corporate networks, the magazine said.