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Volcanic Ash the Pain? Video conferencing the gain!

For a whole week, air travel in Europe was paralysed by the effects of volcanic ash belched into the atmosphere by a volcano on Iceland. There had been more disruption since the tragedy of 9/11. While, in one case, the USA struggled to bring 40,000 of its citizens home, the telecoms sector has been trying to make the best of a particularly challenging and difficult situation...

For a whole week, air travel in Europe was paralysed by the effects of volcanic ash belched into the atmosphere by a volcano on Iceland. There had been more disruption since the tragedy of 9/11. While, in one case, the USA struggled to bring 40,000 of its citizens home, the telecoms sector has been trying to make the best of a particularly challenging and difficult situation.

Key commentator is Cisco Systems’ Fredrik Halvorsen, settling in as head of Cisco’s TelePresence Technology Group: “the video-conferencing industry is getting a boost in demand from the disruption to business travel across Europe caused by a volcano in Iceland...The only evidence is anecdotal but you will not get a demo room in any of the Cisco facilities...We have seen a huge spike in usage."

Cisco has just taken over Tandberg, of which Fredrik Halvorsen was the most recent CEO, and Cisco is now the world’s biggest maker of videoconferencing equipment. There are 3.3 billion reasons why Mr Halvorsen should be so supportive...

Further endorsement of video-conferencing has come from Norwegian start-up Videoworks. This has been in business for a mere fortnight or so, and is in the process of supplying a range of high-definition conferencing systems based on Sony technology. One of Videoworks’ founders came from a top sales position at...Tandberg. Its CEO Even Zimmer believes the volcano will make business people think about the benefits of videoconferencing, "The timing is very good. The market's growing and the consequences of the ash cloud won't be forgotten very soon."

In fact, there has been a flurry of acquisitions in the video-conferencing market recently. The technology can help companies make their acquisitions worthwhile through increased income, while businesses can reduce their business travel expenses, such that both customer and producer benefit.

Proving that advantage can come of adversity.

Developing Telecoms acknowledges Reuters as a key source of information for this report.

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