Videoconferencing Poised for Growth Surge 2016 and BeyondToday’s workforce is increasingly mobile and geographically widespread. As a result, employees are no longer as committed to their brick and mortar office spaces. More commonly, workers are doing their jobs from homes, coffee shops, and other remote locations. Despite this shift in the way that we work, many companies are still slow to incorporate video collaboration into their day-to-day business operations. Though videoconferencing has grown in the past few years, it is still an evolving industry.

Videoconferencing technology will experience widespread growth this year and beyond. Thanks to several business moves by local providers, video technology is primed to expand even more:

• Cisco recently acquired Acano, improving its ability to provide integrated collaboration solutions.
• Mitel has improved its partnership with Vidyo, poising it to deliver more comprehensive videoconferencing packages.

These business decisions will give customers more options to use videoconferencing. In light of these developments, we can point to some trends that will shape the way that video collaboration will evolve in the new year:

Cloud Conferencing Will Increase in Popularity

One of the biggest changes we’ll continue to see in 2016 is the growth of cloud-based technology. According to a survey conducted by No Jitter, nearly 40 percent of respondents noted that they use some sort of cloud-based video application, and an additional 7 percent plan to do so in the coming year. For now, hybrid solutions will continue to reign supreme, as businesses look for a mixture of on-premises and cloud-based services. However, expect a switch to inclusive cloud-based services in the coming years, as employees become further free from physical locations.

Desktop and Tablet Options Will Flourish

Desktop conferencing solutions are becoming less costly to use but still aren’t used frequently. Last year, only 10 percent of No Jitter survey respondents reported using desktop conferencing once a week—and even fewer used smartphones or tablets. This trend will change, however, as innovations like Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) make conferencing between desktop and mobile easier and more accessible than a phone call. The majority of respondents expect tablet and desktop videoconferencing usage to grow this year, while 43 percent said they expected to see mobile device options gain favor.

Companies Will Continue to Struggle with Videoconferencing Business Value

While more companies will embrace the flexibility that video collaboration options have to offer, they will paradoxically struggle to define the value that video technology has for their company operations. The No Jitter survey found that only 18 percent of companies refresh their strategies every three years, while nearly half of them have no formal refresh program at all. Business leaders and information technology departments are still trying to find definable ways that videoconferencing directly contributes to return on investment. As a result, IT and human resources departments should band together to analyze metrics that justify continued investment into video collaboration technology (i.e., improved worker performance and less cost of renting meeting spaces).

While videoconferencing is likely to grow in 2016, video technology will expand beyond the traditional webcast. Look for video to enhance all aspects of the enterprise, from public safety to security and field support. IT leaders should continually be on the lookout for ways that video can improve overall business strategy.

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