Skype, Yahoo and Gmail Beat Out Cisco and Polycom Among Business Users

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Most business users of video conferencing rely on Skype, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL instead of high-end systems from Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize. That's according to a new survey that cites cost concerns and easy upgrades as a few of the reasons why business users would choose these consumer video conferencing applications instead of the high-end ones targeted at businesses.

Think Cisco, Polycom and Logitech have a monopoly on video conferencing in business? Think again.

A new survey of 1,200 business users in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China shows that the vast majority of them—79 percent—use consumer applications such as Yahoo, Gmail, AOL and Skype for video conferencing while just 21 percent relied on systems from the heavyweight video conferencing hardware vendors such as Cisco and Polycom.

That’s not such a big surprise given the state of the world economy in 2009 and 2010 so far. Global IP Solutions (GIPS), which commissioned the survey, said in a white paper that low cost and ease of upgrade of user capabilities likely made these consumer applications more popular.

In addition, now that consumers are enjoying much faster processors built into today’s PCs and mobile phones, the quality of consumer video applications has improved.

But while the vast majority of those surveyed were using those very low-cost solutions, they also reported dissatisfaction with the performance, citing video delay and video freezing as the largest concerns of video conferencing/video chat use.

A large portion of those business users in the United States, however—40 percent—reported their companies were looking to improve the situation by deploying video communication systems within the next six to 24 months, according to the survey.

That’s good news for the big video conferencing equipment vendors, who have certainly been gearing up for the emerging market, with Cisco acquiring Tandberg, Logitech buying LifeSize, and Polycom announcing partnerships with service providers and equipment makers around the world.

The survey was conducted by Research Now and sponsored by GIPS, a provider of voice and video processing in IP communications to communications service providers, network providers and equipment vendors, including Nortel, Oracle, Samsung, WebEx and Yahoo.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com