Gartner: Video conferencing to carve US$3.5b a year from travel by 2012

| February 9, 2009

By Petroc Wilton, Communications Day

Video telepresence could be stinging the travel industry for US$3.5 billion every year by 2012, replacing 2.1 million airline seats annually – if new forecasts from Gartner prove to be accurate. Analysts for the firm laid out its top ten predictions for 2009 and onwards at a briefing in Sydney, also projecting significant growth in server virtualisation and cloud computing, a shift away from the desk phone and a clampdown on mobile data plans.

Gartner suggested that the financial crisis would drive a shift from physical travel to video calls, echoing the expectations of many commentators in the video communications market. “The challenge of the current economic conditions demands that every organisation revisit the need for face-to-face meetings,” said Gartner fellow Steve Prentice. “Telepresence is not the answer in every circumstance… but not every meeting needs to be face to face.”

“There is no doubt that telepresence and other approaches to virtual collaboration…. will provide a real alternative for many businesses. Companies should put aside previous prejudices and bad memories of older video-conferencing services and seriously investigate these new technologies.”

Gartner also forecast significant growth in virtualisation and cloud computing. The firm predicted a CAGR of 28% for the server virtualisation software market worldwide through the next four years, estimating its value at US$6.2 billion by 2013. Meanwhile, it anticipated that 30% of consulting and systems integration revenue would be delivered via the cloud by 2011. Gartner encouraged organisations to give serious thought to both propositions, highlighting potential cost benefits from each.

Finally, on the mobile front, the research company picked out a trend of discarding the desk phone in the workplace, estimating that 2013 would see 40% of enterprise knowledge workers operating exclusively on mobile – but also warned that the honeymoon for flat-rate mobile data plans must soon end, saying that operators would no longer be offering such arrangements by the end of next year.

“Networks are already hitting capacity and increased customer demand is impacting network availability and effective throughput,” warned Gartner. “Users must expect data throughput limitations on 3G to continue and plan mobile enterprise services accordingly.”

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Category: Applications, Green corporations

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