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Video conferencing has been considered one of
the primary strategic investments for business in an age of tighter travel
budgets and the demand for higher productivity.

Take one look at the merger and acquisition activity this year in the space,
and you can see that companies are placing their bets. Cisco is hoping to
acquire HD video conferencing player Tandberg. And yesterday Logitech announced
it will acquire HD video conferencing upstart LifeSize.

It’s no wonder. As LifeSize CEO Craig Mulloy
pointed out during an analyst call today, the HD video conferencing business is
growing fast and is expected to reach $2 billion in revenues in 2009.

Aside from acquisitions, other big trends for 2009 in the HD video conferencing
market included efforts by vendors to bring their expensive solutions down to
the midmarket and small-business markets. That’s one of the reasons why Cisco
is looking to buy Tandberg, and why LifeSize’s systems, which range from a
sub-$2,500 system to room systems in the $50,000 range, are turning heads and
causing executives to open their wallets.

Another big push is to make these systems interoperable and easier to use.
Cisco’s announcement of a more collaborative platform that would be more
standards-based was a nod to that effort.

All these trends played themselves out in the HD video conferencing news of the
2009. Here’s a look at some of Channel Insider’s coverage of the ever hotter HD
video conferencing market over the last 12 months.

December 2008
Survey:
IT Organizations to Spend on Video Conferencing in 2009

The experts have predicted it and now the research confirms that IT decision
makers will continue to buy video conferencing technology in 2009, as companies
target travel budgets when money gets tight. Video conferencing companies such
as Cisco, Tandberg, Polycom and others stand to benefit.

March 2009
Polycom
Media Phone Brings Videoconferencing Down to Size

Polycom’s VVX 1500 provides a programmable, multimedia and multiapplication
desktop device that provides videoconferencing capabilities and more for SMB
organizations.

June 2009
Tandberg
Takes Video Conferencing to Small and Midmarket Business

As business travel budgets have been cut to the bone, more businesses, large
and small, have been looking to video conferencing to replace some travel. Now
Tandberg has released two product bundles targeted at the small and midmarket
business space and at enterprises looking to equip branch offices. Tandberg’s
products are offered at price points previously only served by rivals such as
Polycom and LifeSize.

October 2009
Cisco
Partners See Big Upside in Tandberg Acquisition

Partners say Cisco’s $3 billion bid to buy Tandberg will fill in major midtier
gaps in Cisco’s video conferencing portfolio and open up a host of upsell
opportunities around unified communications.

LifeSize Passport Brings Video Conferencing to Masses

Upstart video conferencing vendor LifeSize is offering a sub-$2,500 HD system
called LifeSize Passport, designed to bring the telepresence experience to the
masses. LifeSize’s announcement comes one day after Cisco announced plans to
create a video conferencing juggernaut through its acquisition of Tandberg.

Cisco
Partners Already Sell Tandberg in the Middle

The chasm between WebEx and TelePresence leaves a lot of middle ground
uncovered in Cisco’s video conferencing portfolio. That’s where Tandberg has
fit in all along.

November 2009
Cisco Intros Next-Gen Video Conferencing, Collaboration Platform

Cisco announces a handful of new technologies designed as components of its
larger vision of a next-generation collaboration platform that includes HD
video conferencing such as Cisco’s TelePresence with Cisco’s WebEx technologies
and taps into technology to make Cisco’s technologies interoperable with
solutions from other vendors.

HD Video Conferencing Heats Up as Logitech Buys LifeSize

Logitech plans to buy HD video conferencing vendor LifeSize for $405 million in
cash. The announcement follows news that HD video conferencing vendor
Tandberg’s shareholders were less than excited about networking giant Cisco’s
offer to acquire their company. Meanwhile, Polycom’s CEO
says the deal frenzy points to a faster move for video conferencing going
mainstream.