The video conferencing market is changing, and in any market, change typically requires the need to evolve.
While working on an article this week about video conferencing interoperability, a couple of analysts mentioned that Polycom, typically thought of as a leader in this space, was struggling. It appears that this hardware-centric vendor is noticing that the enterprise is gravitating toward software-based video-conferencing offerings.
Video-conferencing rooms are being replaced with lightweight alternatives like desktop video. And why buy video hardware when other vendors are giving it away for free? Microsoft probably had this trend in mind when it acquired Skype, which users can download onto any device they wish and use it anytime, anywhere.
Smaller players are also paying attention and taking this opportunity to break in to the video conferencing market by way of partnerships with other vendors. These partnerships aimed at delivering hosted video conferencing offerings, a solution that many enterprises have begun to favor.
Vendors should keep in mind that enterprises are looking for ease of use, something that many desktop or mobile video offerings (like Skype) provide. Hosted solutions are also growing, given the low up-front investment required by a subscription service.
The good news is, the market for video only seems to be going up and Polycom has a great reputation. With a little evolution, perhaps Polycom will see its stock rise again.