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Are People Still Buying Dedicated Telepresence Rooms?

on September 29, 2014

The idea of telepresence, or giving someone the ability to be present at a meeting even if they are not physically there, is one that has taken off in recent years. However, some in the industry are wondering, are people still buying dedicated telepresence rooms? This question is a complicated, multifaceted one.

Video conferencing has been a valuable form of communication for many years, especially for larger organizations that are looking to unite team members that are working across a great geographic distance. The idea of telepresence, or giving someone the ability to be present at a meeting even if they are not physically there, is one that has taken off in recent years. However, some in the industry are wondering, are people still buying dedicated telepresence rooms? This question is a complicated, multifaceted one.

The Popularity Of Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is an extremely popular technology that will most likely stay popular for many years. One of the main reasons that conferencing is so popular is that it reduces travel costs: research shows that 56% of CFOs around the world would be willing to spend money on videoconferencing to reduce travel needs. This popularity might make you believe that dedicated telepresence rooms are here to stay: however, there is also some evidence that shows how dedicated telepresence rooms may be declining in popularity.

Are People Still Buying Dedicated Telepresence Rooms?

In a recent Forbes article, writer Eric Savitz calls telepresence “the private jet of company boardrooms.” The basis of Savitz’s argument is that since telepresence is often limited to a single room and requires the help of IT professionals to maintain, these rooms are becoming less popular in the commercial world. Savitz also points out that leaders in the field like Cisco and Polycom are facing competition from solution providers that can offer clients similar services at a fraction of the price.

There are statistics that back up the negative elements of telepresence as well: in the fourth quarter of 2012, Cisco’s revenues from collaboration, which includes telepresence and HD video conferencing, went down 8%. CEO John Chambers says that the decline is primarily based on a lack of telepresence sales. Some companies have made the decision to stick with mobile-based video conferencing instead of devoting a single room to their telepresence needs.

What Will The Future Bring?

It is hard to predict exactly what will happen over the coming years as it relates to telepresence rooms. Video conferencing as a whole is becoming more popular, as is the use of mobile devices in the workplace. On the other hand, because of the cost barriers and limitations involved with these dedicated telepresence rooms, some companies are shying away from them. One thing remains clear: in order for providers to have a chance at success with telepresence rooms, they need to be able to provide a cost-effective solution to their customers that gives them the ability to communicate more effectively.

What is the final answer to the question, "are people still buying dedicated telepresence rooms?" The best way to answer this question might be: yes, for now. Despite the negative trends that are popping up relating to telepresence, if providers of dedicated telepresence rooms can innovate and provide mobility and a competitive cost, they will be able to stay popular and survive the tremendous surge in popularity of mobile devices around the world.