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Conferencing Volume Grows, Revenue Not as Fast

December 01, 2009

The worldwide online collaboration and conferencing market will represent $7.1 billion worth of revenue by 2013, up from about $5.75 billion in 2009, according to Wainhouse Research.

Audio conferencing volume will almost double between 2008 and 2013, growing to greater than 102 billion minutes, while revenue will grow by almost $1 billion between 2009 and 2013.

Average prices for audio conferencing, which have dropped severely in recent years, will decline at a slower pace and will more likely be bundled with new services, Wainhouse Research says.

Web conferencing use will rise dramatically, but revenue will grow at slower rates as new pricing models are adopted.

A recent survey of enterprise IT managers also found that about half of companies had more than 50 room-based video conferencing systems in place, while 80 percent reported having at least 10 room-based systems. But the cost of such deployments appears to be an issue.

For room systems, the biggest barrier to deploying more systems is that it is “too expensive.” About a quarter of respondents noted it as a major barrier while 43 percent of respondents say it is a minor barrier.

But the second most common issue is that the rooms are “underutilized” while the third most-common objection is that there is “no need” for such room-based systems.

Respondents have been reporting "cost" as the top barrier for at least a couple of years. What is different is that network quality and quality of experience no longer are primary barriers.

One might surmise that the next big wave of deployments will be desktop-based systems. At least one reason is that 58 percent of respondents say cost is not a barrier to that sort of deployment.

But there might be some other issues to contend with. Half of respondents also reported they use no IP phones at all within their enterprises. To the extent that integration with the desktop is an issue, including VoIP, web conferencing, IM services and presence, at least half of the enterprise respondents might have other changes to make before desktop conferencing is ready for prime time.

Among those issues is the less consistent quality of desktop solutions. Beyond that, there is the important issue of how human beings adapt to the new technology: if available, will people use it, and if so, in what ways?

Gary Kim is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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