Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) on Monday added video conferencing to its enterprise services portfolio by establishing an agreement to offer LifeSize Communications' services to its business customer base.
The service provider will bundle LifeSize's HD video products with its IP network solutions, including Ethernet data, in addition to its suite of VoIP, SIP trunking and MPLS services.
While videoconferencing is still a nascent yet growing market segment, partnering with LifeSize enables Windstream to offer the service on a broader scale than it would have on its own.
Instead, Windstream can immediately offer HD video services immediately to both its lower-end T1 data and higher-end Ethernet customers throughout its fiber network footprint.
Another option for Windstream is that could also offer video service on a cloud basis from one of its data centers, a market it has been expanding into via strategic acquisitions including its purchase of Hosted Solutions.
Offering videoconferencing via a partner that has that expertise is a positive move for Windstream. But it still faces the challenge of educating more of its business customers on the value of such a product. It also comes at a time when the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing and telepresence market declined 6.9 percent in Q2 2012 to $564 million from the same period a year ago, according to a new IDC report.
Petr Jirovsky, Worldwide Networking Trackers senior research analyst for IDC, acknowledges that while the Q2 slowdown is a concern, adoption continues to grow.
"Despite the overall weak 2Q12 performance in the worldwide enterprise videoconferencing market, we still see adoption being driven by video integrations with vendors' UC and collaboration portfolios, and with the increasing use of video among small workgroup, desktop, and mobile users," he said.
Regardless of the near-term market challenges, it's obvious that Windstream has added videoconferencing through the partnership with LifeSize as a way to diversify its business services portfolio to more effectively compete with a host of smaller CLEC competitors as well as the big three ILECs AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).
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