Worth Watching: Cisco Partners Say Video Isn't Just An Enterprise Sale

As mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets continue to bring video capabilities to people's fingertips, Cisco Systems and its partners expect video adoption to soar over the next few years.

In its Visual Networking Index Report released this week, Cisco said it expects video-driven IP traffic to account for 79 percent of all Internet traffic in 2018, up from 66 percent last year.

This, Cisco said, means that nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network each second by 2018. Put differently, it will take a person more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will traverse global IP networks each month, Cisco said.

[Related: Cisco Partners React To Reports That Chambers Could Be Stepping Down As CEO This Fall ]

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Much of this growth will be driven by consumers, as they flock to new video streaming and video on-demand services. In fact, Cisco said, consumer video on-demand traffic will double by 2018, with the amount of that traffic equaling 6 billion DVDs per month.

What's more, the ability for consumers to access and share video content on any device -- including a PC, TV, smartphone or tablet -- is also fueling growth.

But, according to Cisco partners, video adoption also is taking off in the enterprise, especially as the cloud and mobile devices make it easier and less expensive for organizations to leverage video and videoconferencing technology.

"I would agree with Cisco's assertion of the video space and where they see it going," said Brian Kinne, chief technology officer and vice president of digital media at Cleveland-based Cisco partner MCPc. "When you think about just the sheer volume of mobile and smart devices out there, it’s 100-fold more than the number of physical video units, and that's really driving IP traffic."

In addition to the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise, Kinne said it's the next generation of leaders entering the workforce that is really driving the adoption of video technology.

"It's the millennials that are on the front edge of that sphere, really saying, 'Hey, we want video in our hands,'" Kinne said.

MCPc's video business is on track to grow three- or four-fold this year compared with 2013, Kinne added. "The pipeline is strong and we are feeling really bullish," he said.

Joe Laezza, senior vice president of services at AVI-SPL, said one of the reasons video adoption overall is on the rise is because it's starting to move downstream into smaller and midsize businesses.

"Where only one to three years ago videoconferencing was more of a big-business tool, it now exists more than ever at the lower level in most small businesses and even small-office or home-office environments," Laezza wrote in an email to CRN. "In fact, I believe there is more instant messaging, web collaboration and video communications than there is voice at this point in the evolution of collaboration."

Vishal Brown, vice president of professional services at Yorktel, an Eatontown, N.J.-based Cisco partner and managed service provider, also said he's seen an uptick in video adoption in the SMB market, especially around cloud-based or hosted videoconferencing.

"A lot of enterprise customers may invest in on-premise technology, but that can be a high cost," Brown told CRN. "For the SMB market, the cloud-based services model means their barrier to entry becomes much lower, and they are able to take advantage of video capabilities in their organization."

Yorktel offers its own cloud-based videoconferencing and bridging service called Yorktel VideoCloud. Brown declined to give specific sales figures, but said Yorktel is seeing "explosive growth" with the service.

Cisco, for its part, started targeting smaller and midsize businesses this year with a new hosted video service it says is less expensive and faster to deploy than its higher-end telepresence systems.

The service, called the Cisco Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMR), was unveiled at Cisco Live 2014 last month and will go head-to-head with other hosted video meeting room services, such as those from startups Blue Jeans Network and Vidyo.