IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013

Robert F. Mason| Whit Andrews

12 September 2013

Enterprise video collaboration, search and content management are increasingly important components of the unified communications portfolio. The transition to software-based solutions and support for a broad range of fixed and mobile form factors is bringing these technologies into the mainstream.

Key Findings
  • Video conferencing endpoints are shifting from a mix of purpose-built room appliances to a broader base of endpoints that now include unified communications (UC) solutions, dedicated softclients, browser based endpoints and mobile apps.
  • Video infrastructure associated with multipoint bridging and hosted conferencing is transitioning from high performance hardware platforms to more scalable software implementations to support a larger population of endpoints and to reach a growing base of ad hoc demand users.
  • Video codec innovation presents more integration challenges for enterprises that do not have sufficient governance of their video endpoints and infrastructure.
  • Enterprises are demonstrating the desire to leverage video for broadcasting, narrowcasting, virtual presence and a range of other applications outside of traditional telephony and conferencing. Many of these use cases place additional emphasis on the storage and search of video content.
  • Cloud implementations of video-as-a-service are moving beyond existing exchange and federation models to facilitate the mixing of consumer, enterprise and extra-enterprise video systems for ad hoc calls.
  • Choose cloud-based alternatives to dedicated video infrastructure to gauge the demand for desktop and mobile video, allowing support for near-term demand without over committing to infrastructure.
  • Develop a formal "voice of the customer," including internal communications, external marketing, human resources, training and other constituents that captures the dominant use cases for video creation, storage and search; and the expectations for each use case.
What You Need to Know

The IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013, analyzes product categories in a number of key market segments that include endpoints, encoding, architecture and delivery. It maps each segment in terms of two key parameters: level of commoditization (see Note 1) and relative progress through each phase of the product life cycle. Enterprises need to capture both of these dimensions to facilitate technology planning, which includes enterprise video technologies that may be currently deployed, as well as those that are only just emerging. Only with this level of understanding will organizations be able to assess first-mover potential, relative vendor leverage, opportunities for additional cost efficiencies and triggers for replacement of elements in the video portfolio.

The Market Clock

This IT Market Clock illustrates the relative market maturity and commoditization levels for the leading enterprise video asset classes.

During the early stages of a specific enterprise video technology, the IT Market Clock should be used primarily by early adopters that are looking to gain first-mover advantage. This is often the case with highly differentiated use cases, or in scenarios where enterprises are seeking early integration of capabilities like conferencing, content management and search. New video technologies can remain in this stage for long periods as the balance of enterprises await a sufficient number of reference customers to reinforce their business cases and drive new investment.

If demand and supply continue to grow, the video technology may reach an inflection point, during which mass customization begins to occur. While this "Choice" phase will still see vendor differentiation, the technology has established a compelling value proposition and can sustain continued growth. This phase in video technology is characterized by the technology filling more mainstream use cases, as well as integration with existing video platforms.

As the video market segments mature, the number of providers, geographic coverage and emergence of additional standards make it easier to switch suppliers. The market will be at its most commoditized, and price competition will be at its most vigorous. In this commoditized phase, switching costs, prices and supplier margins reach their minimum levels.

Higher levels of commoditization typically lead to market consolidation as vendor scale becomes essential to profitably deliver solutions as pricing pressure continues. The result is the final phase of market development, during which the level of commoditization for the market segment actually decreases, leading to gradually rising prices because of reduced supplier choice. This is the depreciation phase, creating opportunities for new solutions that deliver similar capabilities with an improved value proposition. The transition away from ISDN videoconferencing is the most obvious example of this phase.

The IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013, is shown in Figure 1. It positions 15 classes of technology assets according to phase in the market life cycle and relative commoditization levels.

Figure 1

IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013

Source: Gartner (September 2013)

Useful Market Life

For each market segment, market life is a relative measure of where a technology currently sits within its life cycle. Measures are stated using the metaphor of a 12-hour clock face, with the full market lifetime of delivery comprising one complete 12-hour cycle, from 12:00 back to 12:00.

The market life comprises four primary phases:

  • Advantage: From 12:00 to 3:00, the market typically moves from an emerging status to adolescent. Levels of demand and competition in the first Quartile are typically low, so IT leaders deploy for competitive advantage in advance of market maturity.
  • Choice: From 3:00 to 6:00, the service typically moves from an adolescent status to early mainstream. This is the phase of highest demand growth, when supply options tend to grow, and prices fall at their fastest rate.
  • Cost: From 6:00 to 9:00, the service moves from early mainstream to the mature mainstream status. During this phase, commoditization is at its highest level, and prices are usually the strongest motivator in the procurement decision.
  • Replacement: From 9:00 to 12:00, the service moves from the mature mainstream status, through legacy and to market end (at which point, the service is no longer viable to procure or use). In the last Quartile, an enterprise's costs of continued procurement and use will steadily rise, and thus clients should seek alternative approaches to fulfill business requirements.

Commoditization is shown on the IT Market Clock as the (radial) distance from the center of the Clock: The further toward the outside an element is, the more commoditized it is. Commoditization is evaluated on a scale of 4 to 20 (least to greatest) as the sum of three measures:

  • The level of standardization: This determines the potential ease with which the service can be interchanged, and, hence, the buyer's potential capability to exercise choice.
  • The number of suppliers: This defines the range of choice available to buyers, and, hence, the buyers' potential ability to take advantage of the interchangeability/interoperability yielded by standardization.
  • Access to appropriate skills: Every technology service requires some level of internal capability to use it. The ease with which these capabilities can be obtained and augmented directly impacts the internal cost of switching suppliers.
>Levels of Standardization

Table 1 summarizes the scores corresponding to the different levels of standardization.

Table 1

IT Market Clock for Enterprise Video, 2013

Source: Gartner (September 2013)

Level of Supplier Choice

Table 2 summarizes the scores corresponding to the levels of supplier choice.

Table 2

Scores for the Number of Available Suppliers

Source: Gartner (September 2013)

Ease of Access to Appropriate Skills

Table 3 summarizes the scores corresponding to the levels of skill availability.

Table 3

Evaluating Access to Appropriate Skills

Source: Gartner (September 2013)

Market Life and Commoditization Measures
Figure 2

Enterprise Video Asset Classes

Source: Gartner (September 2013)

Market Clock Changes for 2013

This is a new IT Market Clock for 2013.

Market Clock Recommendation Summary

The Recommendation Summary (see Figure 3) maps the enterprise video market asset classes and anticipated changes in a tabular fashion. Each element of the table is color-coded to indicate the relative level of priority for actions.

  • Red denotes a recommendation that should be acted on within the next 12 months
  • Orange indicated a recommendation that should be acted on within 24 months
  • Green denotes recommendation that is less urgent
Figure 3

Market Clock Asset Phases

Source: Gartner (September 2013)

Market Background

The enterprise video market is dynamic and characterized by several broad transitions. Most notable is the shift from specialized video appliances and dedicated networks to software-based endpoints and infrastructure that can enable enterprise video across a broader range of form factors and network alternatives. Compared to five years ago, video is now a more integral component of UC and, increasingly, enterprises want to leverage video for more than just conversation and conferencing. This has led organizations to explore video search and content management as tools to multiply the value of video assets. In particular, these tools allow video to be embedded in a range of enterprise initiatives including building communities, training and virtual presence.

Supplier Landscape

The enterprise video market has demonstrated some consolidation over the last three years, with videoconferencing vendors acquiring vendors with content management capabilities. This has been part of a directed effort to round out enterprise video portfolios with a vertical set of capabilities that can be attached to the majority of video use cases. These use cases include training, conferencing, CEO broadcast and enterprise portals. Adding video to UC is becoming easier for enterprises, with vendors building APIs or reference designs that allow their solutions to be either interoperable or directly embedded in a UC workflow. From the perspective of the enterprise, the suppliers include vendors of video conferencing and telepresence, traditional telephony and collaboration software vendors and providers of UC suites. The enterprise video market continues to show high levels of technology innovation and differentiation by vendors, in codec implementations, scalability and infrastructure virtualization. This has allowed small, innovative suppliers to emerge in video as a service, video endpoints, content management and distribution. Enterprises should evaluate technologies in the Advantage phase of the clock to identify potential for first-mover advantage.

Asset Class Profiles
Video Search

Definition: Video search is the ability to search within a collection of videos. It incorporates elements of social networking, social tagging, metadata extraction and application, audio transcription and conventional enterprise search. Audio transcription is the most prominent method of video search used now, but other factors such as facial recognition and sentiment detection will become part of the technology. (Voice recognition is already used in some cases.)

Trend Analysis: Expectations driven by YouTube are intriguing consumers because they see the possibility for improved searchability in rich media. Some vendors still rely on human transcription or metadata and others are adding speech-to-text facilities. Ultimately, enterprise search will subsume video search as simply another format, just as it did with audio and graphical media. Also, video search will become a presumptive feature in enterprise video content management (EVCM).

Time to Next Market Phase: 2 to 5 years

Business Impact: Making video easier to locate will boost the use of nontextual elements in training and communications in the enterprise. Video search powers use cases for analytic examinations of crowd and individual behaviors in retail, service and public locations. It improves the understanding of what a video is "about."

User Advice: IT leaders with the greatest ambition to use video in their operations should invest in video-specific search capabilities. Example verticals are higher education, law enforcement and correction, and consumer goods or business products manufacturers and service organizations. Others will wait for video search as an element of enterprise search or video content management and delivery, which is beginning to occur, although typically for a substantial price premium.

Selected Vendors: 3VR; Altus365; Annotag; Cisco Systems; Flex Analytics; HP (Autonomy); Koemei; Limelight Networks; LTU Technologies; OpenText; Sonic Foundry

Enterprise Video Content Management

Definition: Software, appliances or software as a service (SaaS) intended to manage and facilitate the delivery of one-to-any on-demand video across Internet protocols. Many of the vendors in the market offer video delivery across the Internet to people external to enterprises. Examples include customers, suppliers, partners, agents and others. Many enterprises demand vendors support internal delivery.

Trend Analysis: Gartner client inquiries related to enterprise video content management continue to rise. Vendor revenue growth in this category is significant in some cases, according to credible data provided by vendors under nondisclosure agreements as part of the Magic Quadrant information-gathering process. YouTube is typically the inspiration for organizations, as their users experience positive entertainment and training experiences on the popular consumer site.

Time to Next Market Phase: 2 to 5 years

Business Impact: Enterprises use video content management to stabilize their video messaging for training, executive messaging, and customer or prospect communications. As the expectations for video change, with users expecting shorter videos, more in context, with the ability to follow branches they or organizations establish, it will become an effective hypermedium inspired by Web mashup sensibilities.

User Advice: IT leaders should develop internal video shares and external video stores with various considerations in mind. Useful video sharing products must be able to address network optimization for external or internal users and workflow must be able to address the use cases for which the products are targeted. Content management functions that address governance challenges, such as the approval or life cycle of specific video content objects, are also critical.

Selected Vendors: Cisco Systems, Polycom, Kaltura, Brightcove, MediaPlatform, VBrick Systems, Kontiki, Ignite

Mobile Videoconferencing

Definition: Participation in multipoint video calls using any combination of 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi-connected smartphones and tablets as well as room-based video conferencing systems.

Trend Analysis: Improved processing power, a growing range of form factors, and increasing mobile network performance have all contributed to interest in mobile videoconferencing. Participants without convenient access to room or desktop systems can download an app and participate in calls with video quality largely determined by their network connectivity. This capability is especially useful in supporting applications like remote expert, in which video interactivity extends to physicians, field employees and other specialties to resolve issues that include rich content (like medical images). While the majority of personal participants in video calls do so from a desktop, more clients are demanding flexibility to support mobile devices, especially tablets.

Time to Next Market Phase: 0 to 2 years

Business Impact: The primary impact of mobile video enablement is increased utilization of existing video investments, since the addressable population of endpoints is multiplied, with a very low barrier to entry. Gartner clients may opt for mobile videoconference participation over audio, and add and uncover new use cases for point-point calls between conference rooms and mobile executives. In some instances, enterprises employ 4G to serve sites whose wired network and physical facilities are not well suited for high-bandwidth video calls.

User Advice: Enterprises with a mix of room systems and personal video endpoints need to minimize interoperability complexity and retain the ability to policy-manage network utilization. Where possible, legislate a preferred mobile endpoint that is directly interoperable with existing room video investments. While 3G connectivity is viable for low-resolution video calls, focus primarily on 4G and Wi-Fi for network transport. Participants on smartphones and tablets also need to be mindful of user behavior – they must avoid excessive motion that can frustrate conference room participants, be aware of background content that will be visible other callers and use high-quality audio peripherals.

Selected Vendors: Polycom, Cisco Systems, Avaya, Vidyo

WebRTC Endpoints

Definition: Allowing native browser-based endpoints in videoconferences without requiring browser plug-ins or the downloading of "thick" clients.

Trend Analysis: Several cloud-based video service providers including Blue Jeans Network and Vidtel already support the inclusion of WebRTC endpoints in mixed-mode videoconferences. Since only a limited number of browsers now support WebRTC, many enterprises still prefer dedicated video clients because they need the flexibility to manage video layouts, policy management of attributes like per-call bandwidth, or because they want to limit the need for transcoding and interworking.

Time to Next Market Phase: 2 to 5 years

Business Impact: The business focus for WebRTC video has centered on business-to-consumer applications where there is the need to simplify call creation. Typical examples include home healthcare initiatives and contact center implementations. For business videoconferencing, we anticipate that WebRTC will be just another endpoint option in heterogeneous meet-me conferencing and will be mixed into calls accordingly. WebRTC video's primary business advantage is the additional reach it supplies without the need to manage concurrent or ephemeral licenses, or intervene in initial endpoint configuration.

User Advice: WebRTC video is still only supported in a limited number of browsers, and may also require additional transcoding resources since WebRTC includes both h.264 and VP8 as video codec options. The audio stream (Opus) will need to be transcoded and, in many cases, needs interworking signaling between enterprise SIP and the WebRTC endpoint. Enterprises that are focused on video-enabled contact centers or business-to-consumer (B2C) applications should evaluate WebRTC as an option, but should also evaluate other video meet-me alternatives that are endpoint agnostic.

Selected Vendors: Google, Mozilla, Microsoft

h.265/High Efficiency Video Coding

Definition: The primary successor to the h.264 codec family, offering the next increment of coding efficiency and allowing more aggregate video to be allocated to a given amount of bandwidth.

Trend Analysis: While the video quality of h.264 has been sufficient for many use cases, the most important use cases have still struggled to reach critical mass in terms of video quality. With the advent of h.265, the threshold for network capacity will finally come down below 1 Mbps for all use cases apart from immersive telepresence. However, the processing power to encode and decode video with h.265 is considerably higher than h.264, making it less appealing for devices without h.265 chipsets. As h.265 is more broadly implemented in endpoints, additional complexity will also arise to support interoperability of h.265 with h.264 through multistreaming or transcoding.

Time to Next Market Phase: 0 to 2 years

Business Impact: enterprises with lines of business in growth geographies and other international locations where bandwidth is at a premium will be able to seed more endpoints, in many cases for the first time.

User Advice: enterprises with soft endpoints should evaluate h.265 upgrades based on current network capacity limitations as well as the suitability of existing video platforms to encode/decode at the desired profiles. Those enterprises with a focus on room appliances should obtain information from suppliers on planned upgrades to new codec profiles and place specific emphasis on both upgrade-eligible platforms and platforms that can are also support h.264 on the same endpoints. For environments that rely on hardware MCUs, enterprises should also evaluate the upgrade path and road map for h.265 as platforms transition to software.

Selected Vendors: Vidyo, Samsung

4K Videoconferencing

Definition: very high resolution or "ultra-HD" videoconferencing delivering four times the resolution of existing 1080p60 video implementations and offering the option to mix panels of HD video and content in a single display.

Trend Analysis: consumer displays are beginning their gradual transition to the next step in resolution, although much of the focus is on upscaling local HD content for greater impact rather than actually broadcasting video in full 4k resolution. Despite the appeal of ultra-high resolution for very large form factors, 4k conferencing faces a similar dilemma – notably constraints on network capacity. Instead of multiple screens of 4k resolution, a more likely outcome will be single 4k displays that are subdivided into video and content, creating bezel-less form factors that can ride down the price curve of a consumerized technology.

Time to Next Market Phase: 2 to 5 years

Business Impact: In addition to supporting some high-resolution use cases in manufacturing and telemedicine, the biggest impact will be more integrated and flexible form factors for dedicated video rooms.

User Advice: Enterprises with a high reliance on content collaboration in conjunction with video, especially those seeking flexibility across a range of possible group video use cases should evaluate 4k conferencing as more solutions are introduced.

Selected Vendors: Vidyo

Video as a Service

Definition: Multipoint bridging resources, along with adjunct capabilities like network address translation (NAT) and firewall traversal and audio add-on, implemented in software and hosted in a network facility. The goal of video as a service is to provide utility conferencing in a public or private cloud, offering elastic capacity and eliminating the dependence on local infrastructure.

Trend Analysis: Video as a service primarily appeals to small and midsize enterprises that lack extensive investments in existing video infrastructure, and may also have significant uncertainty as to the demand set for their next wave of video usage. Larger enterprises that are adding a significant number of personal endpoints are also attracted to the elastic capacity of video as a service, along with its flexible pricing models. The video as a service approach also appeals to environments with a heterogeneous, evolving mix of endpoints, since the onus is on the provider to keep pace with technology transitions.

Time to Next Market Phase: 2 to 5 years

Business Impact: Small and midsize enterprises with reasonable Internet capacity at the site level can take advantage of video-as-a-service to gauge the demand for videoconferencing across a broad range of endpoint types. Instead of starting with a fully prescriptive approach to enterprise video, the enterprise can evaluate a range of endpoint types and call experiences to obtain a baseline call volume and capture valuable information on endpoints and form factors that best suit their business requirements.

User Advice: Evaluate video as a service providers in terms of the endpoints supported, existing network connectivity and peering options, commercial commitments and pricing when compared to like volume on internal infrastructure. Since latency is an especially critical performance parameter, enterprises with global footprints should be especially concerned with exactly where (and how) the service is instantiated.

Selected Vendors: Blue Jeans Network, Vidtel

Scalable Video

Definition: Scalable video coding is an extension of the h.264 video codec family that allows video to be encoded and selectively decoded in layers, depending on the capabilities of the participating endpoints. Scalable video coding provides for flexibility in frame rate and resolution while also offering a range of implementation options. This improves the end user experience for videoconferences with heterogeneous endpoints (or varying network connectivity quality) by not forcing all endpoints to agree on a single "common denominator."

Trend Analysis: Most of the major videoconferencing vendors' hardware endpoint portfolios include products that have h.264 SVCs, while soft clients still rely on less resource intensive codecs like h.264 AVC. Scalable video coding remains foundational to transcoderless video architectures like that of Vidyo, and a version of SVC is included in the reference design for Microsoft's Lync Room System.

Time to Next Market Phase: 0 to 2 years

Business Impact: As SVC implementations become more pervasive, businesses will be able to more effectively extend their video reach across a broad range of fixed and mobile networks while retaining a critical mass for call quality, especially for video endpoints outside the firewall.

User Advice: While h.264 SVC is a standard, there remains considerable room for interpretation at implementation time, with many vendors implementing only the "temporal" version of SVC. To limit undue dependence on transcoding resources, enterprises transitioning to SVC should migrate a large majority of endpoints.

Selected Vendors: Polycom, Microsoft, Avaya, Vidyo, Teliris

Software MCU

Definition: The implementation of multiparty videoconferencing using software running on vendor-specific hardware or general purpose servers.

Trend Analysis: With the addition of personal endpoints to the videoconferencing mix, there is much greater urgency to reduce the effective cost-per-port of video bridging resources. In early adopter enterprises, personal video endpoints outnumber room systems at least 10:1, with nearly all of the demand for supporting video resources now unscheduled. This added component of ad hoc demand combined with a larger installed base of endpoints causes enterprises to want to mimic the "reservationless" model already in place for audioconferencing. To satisfy this need for scale, vendors have been refining their approaches to software-based bridges, which is now available on dedicated servers, general purpose machines, or as virtualized instances. As the demand for scale increases, Gartner expects to see additional emphasis on orchestration layers that more dynamically distribute port capacity by time of day to better manage latency budgets and license consumption.

Time to Next Market Phase: 0 to 2 years

Business Impact: Enterprises can add sufficient port capacity to readily accommodate a broader and richer mix of endpoints, including desktop and mobile, with little compromise in call quality. In addition to reducing the effective cost per port, businesses can add the flexibility of virtual meeting rooms, a form of reservationless videoconferencing that drives convenience and utilization.

User Advice: Traditional DSP bridges remain the best for enterprises that require a large number of video layouts and emphasize high resolution of 1080p (progressive scan) and 30 or 60 frames per second for a core group of executive room systems. Software MCUs will add value as an adjunct to UC deployments that emphasize voice-activated switching at lower resolutions (like 480p) as well as in deployments where reach for ad hoc video and the convenience of reservationless calling is a priority over the highest possible video quality.

Selected Vendors: LifeSize, Polycom, Avaya, Cisco Systems

Transcoderless Video

Definition: Video architectures that emphasize routing and switching of video streams among endpoints as opposed to mixing endpoint video on a video MCU.

Trend Analysis: Switched video architectures are not an entirely new phenomenon; in fact they are key to the design of many multiscreen telepresence systems. Telepresence typically employs switching to dynamically move participating speakers in and out of the field of view with a minimum of latency, key to maintaining the immersive experience. Broader video architectures had been more MCU-centric, since they often had to accommodate a broader range of endpoints with varying speeds and codecs, and needed a central point to manage and relaunch calls since the network connectivity was inherently unreliable. However, many new enterprises' video users do not have the asset inertia of video endpoints and infrastructure, and place a greater focus on personal video and less on room-based systems. These enterprises are attracted to a switched architecture that is software centric, easily upgraded and substantially less dependent on expensive MCU ports.

Time to Next Market Phase: 2 to 5 years

Business Impact: Transcoderless video can be delivered as a complimentary tier to existing MCU deployments, integrated into UC or implemented as a greenfield approach. As the market continues to innovate, continue to "switch where you can, bridge where you must" to deliver the greatest impact from video to the largest addressable audience.

User Advice: Enterprises that are evaluating new video deployments with a focus on personal endpoints and high volumes of video calling should evaluate deploying transcoderless video architectures. Moreover, instead of building out adjunct MCU or gateway capacity for scenarios that may require external room connectivity, enterprises should focus on acquiring this capability as a service.

Selected Vendors: Vidyo, Cisco Systems

h.264 AVC

Definition: h.264 AVC (Advanced Video Coding) refers to a set of video codecs that replaced h.263, providing substantial benefit by delivering comparable video quality at approximately half the bandwidth.

Trend Analysis: Vendors have broadly embraced h.264, although not all vendors implement all of the profiles associated with the standard and some vendors have focused on more advanced versions like h.264 high profile. While proprietary approaches extract incremental performance gains, they cause more interoperability problems with both endpoints and MCUs. While enterprises can fit more calls of comparable quality into a given amount of bandwidth with h.264, many felt that h.263's quality was inferior and that they favored leveraging h.264 for performance gains instead of bandwidth efficiency.

Time to Next Market Phase: 0 to 2 years

Increased adoption of h.264 by chipset and endpoint vendors has made business video calling commonplace from the browser to boardroom, and greatly increases the number of mobile endpoint options. Businesses can opt for very high quality video calling, or opt for additional bandwidth efficiency to support a larger population of personal endpoints.

User Advice: Even within the context of a standard like h.264, there is a broad range of codec profiles and implementation options. To derive the maximum amount of performance and efficiency, enterprises should focus on endpoint and MCU portfolios that emphasize a high level of commonality in supported h.264 implementations.

Polycom, Huawei, LifeSize, Cisco Systems, Avaya

Video Exchange

Definition: The ability to seamlessly connect high-quality video calls among subscribed participants that reside on a mix of public and private networks in a managed or unmanaged fashion

Trend Analysis: Extending high-quality video calling outside the firewall can introduce challenges, including NAT and firewall traversal, IP addressing, transcoding and interworking, as well as demand management and security. Because enterprises are very sensitive to call quality and call creation with executive participants, they are willing to engage the services of third parties that support secure, interconnected video through direct and cascaded video exchanges that allow private network video within their private network clouds and among exchange partners.

Time to Next Market Phase: 5 to 10 years

Business Impact: Enterprises can drive incremental awareness and utilization, especially when interconnecting immersive telepresence systems across enterprise boundaries.

User Advice: Enterprises that are focused more on reach than quality have a growing range of options to extend video calling, including desktop and mobile clients. For group participation, room systems outside the firewall can be facilitated using border proxies and edge devices that are now available as virtualized instances. Also, a growing array of service providers offer cloud based bridging for heterogeneous endpoints. Enterprises should focus on a video exchange relationship when their incumbent WAN provider offers exchange services and secure, high quality, external video calling.

Selected Vendors: AT&T, BT Conferencing, Verizon, Glowpoint

Immersive Telepresence

Definition: A combination of multiple screens of high definition video, prescriptive furniture and lighting designs and optional content displays to create a highly interactive and personal virtual meeting experience.

Trend Analysis: As enterprises shift their acquisitions to more affordable form factors, Gartner projects limited enterprise adoption of immersive telepresence systems through 2016. The combination of very high quality and more affordable modular videoconferencing systems along with the lack of sufficient telepresence user volume to spark a large interest in intercompany calling have contributed to a market stall. Immersive telepresence remains a highly utilized collaboration tool for international meetings when enterprises have a limited number of large points of concentration, like between major U.S. and EMEA campuses. Gartner expects additional emphasis on system designs for telepresence that require less room remediation for multiscreen, and on more single screen alternatives that can readily extend the immersive experience to a broader audience.

Time to Next Market Phase:

0 to 2 years

Business Impact: Executive sponsorship and the availability of high quality, managed video experiences are critical for enterprises that have sustained adoption of video meeting technologies. View telepresence capabilities used internally or through partners as foundational to the video ecosystem, which spurs the appetite for additional investment by the businesses.

User Advice: Enterprises with existing telepresence investments should seek to drive incremental utilization through exchange capabilities and by facilitating calls between telepresence and personal endpoints. Those organizations with existing traction should assess traffic patterns to insure that particular systems are not a chokepoint in the topology. Any incremental investments in multiscreen telepresence should be undertaken with a clear vision for seamless interoperability across the video estate.

Selected Vendors: LifeSize, Teliris, Huawei, Polycom, Cisco Systems

ISDN Videoconferencing

Definition: h.320 allows videoconferences to be constructed on a circuit-switched digital network. Instead of relying on an "always on" IP network, h.320 dials up the required bandwidth at the time of call, typically connecting video systems at speeds ranging from 256 Kbps to 768 Kbps, although higher speeds are possible.

Trend Analysis: ISDN videoconferencing is approaching replacement for the majority of videoconferencing environments given the preponderance of high quality private and public IP networks. In addition to more bandwidth flexibility, IP networks allow for in-band element management, a critical feature for most enterprises. However, ISDN still has favorable use cases. It offers affordable connectivity for environments that conduct a very low (less than four hours per month) volume of video calling. ISDN also avoids the plethora of NAT and firewall traversal issues that can challenge federated IP video calling, making it useful for large supply chain networks with low levels of centralized governance.

Time to Next Market Phase: End of Life

Business Impact: Businesses with ISDN endpoints will still find them viable for low volume internal calls, but will be increasingly challenged by customers and partners that have already transitioned to IP. While premise and service provider gateways remain an option, these carry additional costs. Businesses with higher call volumes will find ISDN prices to be prohibitive, as users seek higher video quality. The cost of ISDN for high volumes of HD calling is also prohibitive.

User Advice: Enterprises interested in immersive telepresence or simply standardizing on 1080p HD quality should actively transition video network connectivity to IP in step with endpoint refresh cycles. Those enterprises that rely on video network operations center (VNOC) services for video bridging need to evaluate the public and private connectivity options for hybrid calls (ISDN and IP) to ensure a smooth transition. Enterprises with existing ISDN endpoints with very low call volumes should forgo ISDN upgrades until a successive endpoint form factor is identified for video calling.

Selected Vendors: AT&T, Verizon


Definition: h.263 is a video coding standard that is among the most common baseline codecs for backward compatibility in video endpoints. The vast majority of installed videoconferencing systems support h.263 (typically version 2 or 3) or its predecessor h.261 as a fallback while also supporting a variety of h.264 implementations.

Trend Analysis: As implementations of h.264 including AVC and SVC become more broadly deployed and more video is implemented in browsers and mobile devices, the need for back level support for h.263 is becoming less important. As transcoding resources become more affordable there will be less demand for native h.263 support in the endpoint, but it remains a critical capability in MCUs.

Time to Next Market Phase: End of Life

Business Impact: Lack of support for baseline legacy video codecs will add cost and complexity for businesses that rely more on external video calls with third-party participants.

User Advice: Enterprises that have a mixed portfolio of video endpoints that include legacy devices, as well as enterprises that rely on a broad mix of external IP videoconferencing, should be sure to have support for h.263 in endpoints and MCUs. This is especially important for businesses that conduct primarily point-to-point video calls.

Selected Vendors: Polycom, Cisco Systems, Avaya


Information is gathered from Gartner inquiry and other direct client interaction over the course of 2013.

Source: Gartner Research, G00253474, Robert F. Mason and Whit Andrews, 12 September 2013

Note 1. Commoditization Definition

A commodity is a thing of value of essentially uniform quality, produced in large quantities by different producers, in which the items from each producer are considered equivalent. In the IT industry, commoditization reflects the transformation of IT products and services toward commodity status.