Of all the applications that wreak havoc on enterprise network infrastructure, video takes the cake. And now that new generations of mobile devices are priming the pump for reams of hi-def video to come coursing your way, high throughput solutions are quickly transitioning from optional status to necessary.
According to IDC, enterprise video conferencing and telepresence are expected to see nearly 19 percent growth in 2012, from $2.7 billion to $3.2 billion. In infrastructure terms, the market for MCUs, gateways, video network adapters and other components surged more than 22 percent to $716 million in 2011. Oddly, the market for high-end immersive video platforms saw a 22 percent drop over the past year, which IDC says indicates video is moving down-market where it will have greater impact on workgroup, desktop and mobile infrastructure.
Either way, video is likely to eat into a greater share of networking resources, according to Network Instruments. According to its recent global network study, nearly a quarter of enterprises expect video to consume half of available bandwidth in the coming year, with more than a third looking at a 50 percent growth in video traffic by 2013.
Enthusiasm for enterprise video services is running high in both enterprise and carrier circles alike. Avaya recently bought out Radvision Ltd. to build a soup-to-nuts video platform designed to support collaboration and other services across multiple client devices, including the iPad and Android-compatible units. The package will tie Radvision's Scopia product line to the Aura unified communications platform, where it will support business-to-business, business-to-customer and internal BYOD capabilities that the company vows will be as easy to implement as voice and text services.
Video-friendly infrastructure will not rest solely on wider data pathways, of course. Key enablers include specialized management and monitoring capabilities, preferably featuring standardized metrics for things like latency, packet loss and other qualifiers. Video will also impact traditional applications as well, possibly leading to an entirely new tier of service where video and non-video capabilities can be mixed and matched to suit user needs.
Whether it's plain old conferencing or full-blown telepresence, video services will almost certainly make their way to an enterprise near you very soon, if not already. Unlike normal data loads, however, video is not something you can simply offload to the cloud. Interruptions in video flow are much more readily noticeable than text or application data, so both internal and external infrastructure will need a makeover to keep the images and sound flowing smoothly.
Arthur Cole covers networking and the data center for IT Business Edge. He has served as editor of numerous publications covering everything from audio/video production and distribution, multimedia and the Internet to video gaming.