Latest Trends in the Conferencing and Collaboration Market
Sep 09, 2015
The conferencing services market is in a state of rapid transition. The segments comprising the total market, including hosted audio, web and video conferencing, and managed video conferencing services will each experience varying growth rates over the next seven years. Total market growth will be boosted by high growth rates in emerging services markets and tempered by the commoditization of mature technologies and services.
During Frost & Sullivan’s latest North American conferencing services research, we had the opportunity to interview more than 20 leading conferencing service providers specializing in hosted audio, web, and video conferencing services. Market participants shared their thoughts on the latest trends having the greatest impact on the industry.
What follows is a summary of the ten leading trends in the conferencing and collaboration market:
- The use of visual conferencing continues to grow: What was once a checkbox on an RFP now holds serious weight in decision makers’ minds. High-quality visual conferencing and the networks to support it on an array of devices are driving the growth of video. As the Millennials continue to take up more of the workplace population, and price points drop with newer technology, demand will continue to rise. In general, video is becoming more pervasive and the business world is gradually overcoming its fear of being on camera.
- Company-wide Conferencing Deployments: Active Host/Full Deployment type models are opening conferencing services to more users than previously when these services were reserved for selected groups due to cost.
- Pronounced shift from PSTN audio to VoIP: More users are using VoIP to carry on conferencing calls than the traditional PSTN network. The price points of growing VoIP traffic are expected to have a huge downward influence on average selling prices (ASPs).
- Web conferencing evolving into collaborative team spaces: While the web conferencing market is shifting from growth to maturity, web conferencing is becoming more integrated with other communications tools. Also, the market is witnessing the emergence of additional applications for web conferencing in collaborative workspaces. An example of this is Cisco Spark, which enables users to share content, host meetings, leave posts/notes for other team members, etc.
- Companies are starting to deploy different conferencing solutions: Especially in North America, more companies are starting to have overlapping conferencing services, with 2-3 web conferencing and 1-2 audio conferencing providers plus instant messaging (IM), file sharing, webcasting, team workspaces, etc. This is, sometimes, leading to confusion.
- Content management in conferencing becoming key: The next wave of productivity tools, given all the collaboration solutions enterprises use today, will solve the challenges of consolidating knowledge. Particularly with baby boomers retiring, more and more importance will be placed on content management. Recording meetings and recycling them in a way that serves up the best and most relevant content at the right time will increase in importance. The new generation is very accustomed to gain knowledge quickly via searchable, digestible and readily available video content.
- Tools focused on user experience: More collaboration tools are focused on a strong user experience to drive loyalty and adoption. Knowledge workers can do more with audio/video/web conferencing now than ever before. Simpler user interfaces and an intuitive user experience are becoming more important than price in the purchase decision.
- Growth of conferencing minutes coming from UCC bundles: Audio and visual conferencing capabilities included as part of on-premise and hosted UCC bundles coming from enterprise communications vendors have been considerably growing competing with conferencing services from traditional CSPs. Growth will be largely driven by vendors such as Microsoft, which are expected to offer conferencing capabilities within UCC entry-level bundles.
- Continued growth of mobility and remote working demand mobile-first strategies: Remote working options and increasingly distributed workforces require organizations to equip their employees with feature-rich and easy-to-use tools. Today, office workers are increasingly mobile, working from anywhere and at any time. Some large conferencing service providers have reported that as many as two-thirds of their customers use mobile conferencing apps almost all the time.
- Growth of hosted video: The shift from traditional video conferencing solutions to the desktop and mobile realm has been accelerating, boosting the adoption of hosted video. Also driving this shift is the reconfiguration of offices from large partitioned rooms to open spaces, some of which include areas for quick, ad-hoc meetings. There’s increasing awareness from businesses that the cloud and its pricing model can level the playing field among companies of different sizes.
Mohamed Alaa Saayed
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