Tandberg deal reflects videoconferencing growth

Tandberg acquired videoconferencing equipment maker Codian for US$270 million.

A rising tide lifts all boats, and in the world of videoconferencing, Cisco Systems' high-profile TelePresence products are boosting the market as a whole. Longtime player Tandberg is trying to make the most of the good times.

In the latest move for market position, Tandberg said Thursday it plans to acquire privately held Codian, a maker of back-end infrastructure for other vendors' conferencing endpoints. The 107-employee company, based in Slough, U.K., will help Tandberg grab sales and develop new products faster, as well as go after new opportunities in the IP communications market, Tandberg said. It expects the US$270 million deal to close in the third quarter.

Cisco's TelePresence, introduced late last year, was practically all Cisco executives would talk about when they met with financial analysts this week, and with good reason: The technology costs up to US$300,000 per location and requires special design and installation work, but it looks and sounds great. Using it has already slashed Cisco's travel costs, Chairman and CEO John Chambers said. The marketing effort Cisco has been pouring into TelePresence has raised the profile of other telepresence systems such as Hewlett-Packard's Halo and Teliris' VirtuaLive.

These systems bring videoconferencing, traditionally complicated and low quality, to another level. In turn, they have put the spotlight on improvements in midrange videoconferencing systems that now feature high-definition cameras and displays and better sound.

"The attention has done more for HD videoconferencing than for telepresence," she said. "The price tag (on telepresence) is still prohibitive for most enterprises."

Whereas telepresence usually involves designing a whole room for a particular system, which can even include special furniture and room modifications, midrange high-definition videoconferencing may be installed in an existing conference room or as upgraded components to an existing system, IDC's Freedman said. These systems can be deployed for a fraction of the cost of telepresence.

Codian makes back-end infrastructure for conferencing systems, including MCUs (multipoint control units), gateways, content servers and management software, Tandberg said. Tandberg pledged to continue developing and supporting both its own and Codian's product lines even though both companies make, for example, MCUs.

Tandberg, based in Oslo, is already working with HP to let users hook up its high-definition desktop videoconferencing systems with Halo conference rooms.

Although the telepresence market is still a "corporate jet replacement" for top-level executives, the market isn't standing still, Freedman said. IDC estimated telepresence sales worldwide were just US$64 million in 2006, but believes they will rise to US$170 million this year and to US$1 billion by 2011.

Polycom, which makes a broad range of conferencing products including a telepresence system, moved to grab more of that market early this year when it acquired Destiny Conferencing for US$47.6 million. The 27-employee company was already supplying core technology for Polycom's RPX telepresence product and held several patents in the area.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?