Videoconferencing News You Might Have Missed

The big news last week in the world of unified communications and collaboration was the announced acquisition of videoconferencing vendor Radvision by unified communications vendor Avaya. Combined with Cisco’s 2010 acquisition of Tandberg and Logitech’s 2009 acquisition of LifeSize Communications, I think you’d have to say that videoconferencing is pretty much in the hands of the networking/IT giants.

So I was concerned that as of a week later, none of the five major U.S. trade media outlets covering the commercial AV industry had informed its constituents about this latest acquisition. (Kudos to the European publication InAVate for picking up the story the day it was announced!) Is this not news that all commercial AV systems integrators would need to know about? Or is videoconferencing – which, along with digital signage and streaming media in general was identified by InfoComm as some of the fastest growing technologies – slipping away from the commercial AV integrator as a business opportunity for the future?

The proposed new owner of Radvision, Avaya, is not a company you’d expect to see exhibiting at InfoComm. But then, several years ago we didn’t think we’d see Cisco there either. But here they are, and we need to acknowledge that the lines between AV, IT, telephony, and other industries are blurred almost to the point of invisibility. It’s all unified communications and collaboration technology now, even if UC is not fully deployed or even deployable in many cases (that’s a whole other blog).

To be fair, some of the larger AV firms are already well-entrenched in these communications technologies, but for those that aren’t, it may be too late. Most of the larger UC vendors have well-established channel partners who are supplying different blends of communications and networking equipment and services, and few of them are AV integrators. And it’s true that about 80% of the Systems Contractor News Top 50 Systems Integrators are already competing in the unified communications and conferencing space.

What about the rest of you?

About Mark Mayfield

Mark Mayfield is Cinema Marketing Manager for QSC Audio Products. He has an extensive background as a recording/live sound engineer and AV products marketing executive with firms such as Bose Corp., Harman International (JBL Professional), Loud Technologies (EAW), and Extron Electronics. Most recently, he was a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research, a market research firm focused on unified communications and collaboration technology. In addition, he has held editorial positions with several major trade industry publications, where he re-launched Pro AV magazine and co-founded AV Technology magazine.

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