Businesses to benefit from late adoption of IP-based videoconferencing


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




(2000), "Businesses to benefit from late adoption of IP-based videoconferencing", Facilities, Vol. 18 No. 3/4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Businesses to benefit from late adoption of IP-based videoconferencing

Businesses to benefit from late adoption of IP-based videoconferencing

Keywords: Internet, Videoconferencing

IP-based videoconferencing will be here soon, but not yet, says Sony

Marketing hype around the videoconferencing over IP (Internet protocol) standard, H.3231, is causing unnecessary market confusion, according to Sony, Europe's second largest supplier of videoconferencing systems. As a result, Sony has launched a white paper which, it claims, offers a clear and concise summary of the facts about recent developments in videoconferencing.

The paper: "An eye to the future: videoconferencing and the IP revolution", assesses the current state of the technology: from the proven H.320, ISDN-based standard, to H.323, the emerging IP-based standard for videoconferencing over the Internet and LANs. Sony claims that, to date, the effects on an organisation's infrastructure of deploying IP-based videoconferencing have not been sufficiently highlighted in much of the readily-available marketing literature.

Adam Fry, business manager for Videoconferencing Group at Sony Broadcast & Professional UK, explains: "Videoconferencing is at a crucial and exciting stage of its evolution. The current technological developments are capturing both our imagination and those of our customers. However, with the surrounding marketing hype, current discussions are also confusing prospective customers as to what is a sound investment for the future. There are significant practical consequences of adopting IP-based videoconferencing as it stands today - different from those of mature and proven ISDN-based systems. These effects need to be assessed in order to reach any informed conclusion on system purchase and implementation. The paper, which we have sponsored, provides a definitive review of the most significant issues for both the IT manager and the board director alike".

The paper goes on to maintain that once quality and reliability issues are resolved - which Sony believes will occur in a matter of years - IP will offer clear advantages to business users of videoconferencing. The paper also highlights the business opportunities that IP will hold, once the standards have stabilised.

"Given the current networking and interoperability issues, IP is not yet sufficiently mature for business-grade conferencing. For the time being, ISDN will remain the most reliable method for videoconferencing and the most appropriate choice where reliability is the most important criterion. When the work surrounding the ratified standards has matured sufficiently and the impact of videoconferencing on LANs has become quantifiable and predictable, users will be able to invest in IP-based options with the same confidence as in today's proven, risk-free ISDN-based systems. IP-based videoconferencing is not a matter of if, but a matter of when", says Fry.

Sony believes firmly in TV-quality videoconferencing and the evolution of the technology into business communication solutions to the point where it will become just another tool in a tightly integrated set of applications, just as MS-Office suites combine word processing, spreadsheets and databases.

Sony is currently developing products based on the H.323 standard to be delivered in 1999. However, today, Sony delivers ISDN-based systems to thousands of businesses and is working to ensure that they receive the same quality of business benefits when they adopt IP-based videoconferencing in the near future.

For further information please contact: Kerri Bowles. Tel: +44 (0) 1932 816269; E-mail: or Natalie Minter. Tel: +44 (0) 1943 816275; E-mail:; Fax: 01932 817013.

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