With the advent of high-definition desktop video conferencing and more robust IP networks, demand for this capability is steadily increasing. But the one hurdle that remains has more to do with the practicality of deploying these solutions than it does with anything related to the cost of acquiring the technology.
Specifically, deploying desktop video conferencing is a pain for most IT organizations. It typically requires separate tools, and each client needs to be set up by hand. That's why it's interesting to watch companies such as Tandberg and Polycom warm up to technologies such as Microsoft Active Directory, which sets the stage for desktop video conferencing system to be managed just like any other PC application.
Tandberg is taking the lead in this regard with the rollout of a Tandberg Management Suite that is a set of provisioning tools that leverages Active Directory. But it won't be long before a range of PC application management tools start encompassing video conferencing systems. That would make a huge difference in terms of enterprise adoption because IT organizations would then be able to provision desktop video conferencing applications while rolling out the rest of the PC application portfolio.
It remains to be seen what will happen to Tandberg given Cisco's planned acquisition. But it's pretty clear that the economics of video conferencing are pretty close to taking this technology mainstream, just on the potential travel savings alone. The only thing that really needs to be done is to make it easy deploy on IP networks alongside everything else that needs to be managed, as opposed to requiring a separate trip to each individual desktop.