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Telepresence - VU Telepresence Keynote at Tigerpaw Conference Analyzed

October 28, 2010 | Chris Payatagool
Vu_logo.jpgBy David Sims via TMCnet

Vu Telepresence (News - Alert), the video conferencing company related to Zenith Infotech, "stepped into the keynote spotlight" at the Tigerpaw User Conference in Dallas recently.

The company's pitch was pretty simple, really: "Until now, telepresence has been too expensive and too complex for small businesses to deploy." Hardly surprising, Vu officials say, adding that the company "believes it has solved those issues, and sees telepresence as the next natural managed service for MSPs."

MSPmentor offered some insights on the presentation: "Let's start with the challenges. According to Vu's Clinton Gatewood (a Zenith Infotech (News - Alert) veteran), several factors have held back telepresence so far: Cost of equipment: single screens can cost $10,000 and a telepresence room can cost $150,000, and cost of bandwidth -- most telepresence systems don't work too well over the traditional Internet."

Also, Gatewood said, the systems typically need a T1 connection or better, and low-end consumer offerings are susceptible to jitter and packet loss. And don't even mention the complexity of setup.

Despite those challenges, as MSPmentor notes, Gatewood says the telepresence market is "set to double in size, reaching about $3.5 billion in 2013 up form $1.6 billion today. Vu's goal is to upend traditional telepresence player likeCisco ( News - Alert)-Tandberg, Polycom and Logitech-Lifesize," in MSPmonitor's words.

Now, as the MSPmonitor commentariat says, on the one hand, "consumer video could cannibalize portions of the telepresence market. FreeSkype ( News - Alert) video and other services are good enough for many web-based video conversations." But by the end of November, as they report Gatewood saying, "Vu will introduce a free web client for users that want to mix and max between the full-blown Vu Telepresence experience and simple video conferencing."

And for MSPmonitor here's the bottom line: "Customers are already used to pay as they go approaches for phone service and Internet service. Why not add telepresence service to your portfolio before the phone companies beat you to it?"

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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