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Forrester, Logitech study emphasizes pros and cons of video conferencing

Limited deployment may be best option
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On a Google Hangout held Nov. 19, industry analysts discussed the importance of videoconferencing in the business world and placed particular emphasis on the collaborative advantages of making video available to more employees.

A joint study conducted by Logitech and Forrester (to be released next week) outlined some of the widely acknowledged pros and cons of the "shifting philosophy from videoconferencing technology only for executives and managers who travel a lot and need it to recognize cost avoidance, to more of a collaborative, 'better meetings' type of approach," according to Philipp Karcher, analyst for Forrester.

Eric Kintz, senior vice president and general manager of Logitech for Business, cited the sheer amount of data transfer as one of the most difficult problems confronting enterprises who want to increase their videoconferencing capabilities.

"Bandwidth is a chief blocker and a chief concern," Kintz said. "But there is a shift in the mindset. It's less about how 'I won't deploy video because of the bandwidth concerns' and more about how to optimize bandwidth concern in the context of deployment."

Karcher noted increased expenses can also be a disadvantage. "The cost of telepresence and IT support systems don't scale down, so there is a huge cost requirement," he said, adding executives must face decisions such as whether to deploy videoconferencing in all conference rooms or only in select, larger ones.

But there are also several pros to increased use of videoconferencing, Karcher said, such as "improving relationships between people, increasing participation and engagement and improved communication companywide, especially for those who travel a lot."

Full-scale video conferencing deployment, as Karcher noted, is still a far from feasible option for all enterprises, and interoperability remains a problem as well. But companies with remote locations, enough bandwidth to support at least limited videoconferencing and sufficient funds might find it an investment worth the money in the long term.

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