Air traffic bans boost video conferencing – Cisco

* Cisco says travel disruption creates “huge spike” in demand

* Norwegian startup Videoworks sees impact lasting

By Richard Solem and Paul Sandle

OSLO/LONDON, April 19 (BestGrowthStock) – The videoconferencing
industry is getting a boost in demand from the disruption to
business travel across Europe caused by a volcano in Iceland,
Cisco Systems (CSCO.O: ) said.

“The only evidence is anecdotal, but you will not get a demo
room in any of the Cisco facilities,” said Fredrik Halvorsen,
former Tandberg CEO and head of the Cisco Systems’s TelePresence
Technology Group. “We have seen a huge spike in usage.”

Large parts of Europe enforced no-fly rulings for a fifth
day on Monday because of a huge ash cloud from an Icelandic
volcano that has caused the worst air travel chaos since the
Sept. 11 attacks. [ID:nLDE63I007]

Cisco became the biggest maker of videoconferencing
equipment on Monday as its $3.3 billion aqcuisition of Tandberg,
announced last October, closed. It is already the world’s
biggest network equipment maker [ID:nN29208167]

Norwegian tech start-up Videoworks, which opened for
business on Monday, said it would begin supplying a range of
high-definition conferencing systems based on technology from
Sony (6758.T: ). One of the company’s founders came from a top
sales position at Tandberg.

Videoworks Chief Executive Even Zimmer said 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,”
Zimmer said.

The videoconferencing sector has seen a flurry of
acquisitions and, analysts say, is a key growth area as
companies seek to cut business travel costs.

On a smaller scale, Logitech International SA (LOGN.VX: ) has
acquired privately held video conferencing company LifeSize
Communications and U.S. based Polycom (PLCM.O: ) is attracting
interest as the only major public videoconferencing company left
without a deal [ID:nSGE62POG2].

Money

(Editing by Tarmo Virki and Erica Billingham)

Air traffic bans boost video conferencing – Cisco