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September 14, 1995

PRICEY REPORT PUTS VIDEOCONFERENCING MARKET AT $15,000M

By CBR Staff Writer

Worldwide annual desktop videoconferencing and customer premises equipment sales will skyrocket to $15,000m by 2000 from around $250m today according to a report released by Sunnyvale, California-based analysts Multimedia Research Group – and we’ll believe it when we see it, because since by 2000, it will cost at most $300 to equip a personal computer with the camera and board needed for desktop videoconferencing, so the number implies that the system will be installed for 50m workers during 2000 alone, which seems a little unlikely. The group argues that a number of factors combine to create such demand – but how many office workers actually need or want it? – including corporate support for interoperability standards; standardisation of communications protocols; product scalability for enhanced video quality; and a dramatic decrease in average costs, championed by consumer-driven retailing strategies. The word consumer seems to imply that we’re talking about fireside as well as the office videoconferencing implied by the word desktop, which changes the picture a little – but while Granny may want to see you when you telephone her, we’re not convinced that very many people actually want to be seen on the phone. The report, ISDN-Based Desktop Videoconferen cing And CPE Report: Market Analysis And Forecast 1995-2000, said that large group systems have paved the way for smaller desktop videoconferencing systems, but that the market has also been driven by demand for Internet access via ISDN telephone lines. Also, it finds that widespread adoption of interoperability standards – including H.320, H.261, and T.120 – by major industry players, such as Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp, Apple Computer Inc, IBM Corp, and AT&T Corp have lent further support for ISDN-based videoconferencing. The report is available now, at a whopping $2,200.

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