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Asia-Pacific Mobile Video Conferencing Industry Faces Two Major Obstacles

August 30, 2011

A recent examination of the mobile video conferencing market from industry observer Ellyne Phneah made two major observations about the industry.

Phneah cites Subha Rama, enterprise communications senior analyst at ABI Research, saying that the growing popularity of the iPhone 4 and FaceTime “simplified video conferencing with a simple on-screen interface,” and as a result, “prompted many vendors and managed services providers to extend the room and desktop experience to the mobile environment.”

Yet there are two major issues. For one, Phneah says, the consumer case is lacking.

She reports that Pranabesh Nath, industry manager at Frost & Sullivan’s ICT Practice, saying that while both business users and consumers are set to benefit from new developments in video conferencing, in the enterprise world “its potential to grow is immerse as video becomes more tightly integrated with all aspects of business communications,” in Phneah’s words.

But, as she says, BT Southeast Asia CEO Stephen Yeo says mobile phones would not be optimal platforms for enterprise video conferencing, calling them “good for seeing [short] news clips, but not for holding a discussion with people from three other countries at the same time.” You’d want a tablet or PC for that.

In fact, Nath said, the growth of consumer usage of mobile video conferencing won’t be anywhere near as high as some are predicting, since people really are not in the habit of making video calls: "The future for enterprise video market looks bright as more enterprises employ video for various purposes, but the future for consumer based video looks hazy.

This brings up the second major point: Today, the technology simply is not mature. As Nath told Phneah, "For both enterprise and consumers, video was not the first application to [go] mobile because data, messaging and voice are more useful and the hardware and network capabilities of mobile devices were sub-par which resulted in a poor user experience.” There simply aren’t the products out there to justify switching over.

Glenn Fleischman, executive vice president for e-commerce and video executive at Arkadin Global Conferencing, told Phneah that network access is an issue in the Asia-Pacific: "The access to low-cost, high-quality network is not uniform throughout the region, particularly in developing cities.”

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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 Tammy Wolf