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January 18, 2008 | Howard Lichtman
polycom-rpx-hd-photo.jpgVideo conferencing has come a long way in the past few years, as improvements to backend communications infrastructure have led to enormous increases in bandwidth and speed. And with the latest breed of telepresence equipment - which combines large, high definition screens with high-tech acoustics, allowing people to have face-to-face meetings while situated in different parts of the world - the technology looks set to transform the business communication sector. CommsMEA talks to three industry insiders about the latest trends in the sector.

How are you seeing the teleconferencing market develop in the MENA region, and what do you think are the key drivers?

Andrew Elder, Managing Director of Enterprise and Advanced Technology, Cisco Systems: I think the market has been good for quite a while, but the thing that has always been missing has been the quality and the ease of scheduling teleconferences. That's been the inherent barrier that has stopped the market from being as good as it could be, because in places like MEA, there is nothing quite like face-to-face meetings.

Unless you can get that face-to-face experience from teleconferencing, it is an inhibitor of technology, so what telepresence really does is takes that to the next level. We have got the levels of quality that mean people can have face-to-face meetings without actually having to go there.

Olsen5_thumb2.jpgDharmendra Parmar, General Manager of Polycom Middle East and African distribution partner, FVC: We see a lot of growth for many reasons. Traditionally people saw it as a cost benefit. The first priority for people is enhanced communication between their teams but something else that has just recently come up is that it is more environmentally friendly, as people become more aware of the effects of flying and companies express a desire to cut down on unnecessary travel. Our equipment allows people to meet a lot more often and conduct meetings faster and more efficiently.


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