Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Global businesses switch to web conferencing in fight to cut costs

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Businesses across the globe will increasingly rely on web conferencing instead of travelling to meet face-to-face in a bid to cut costs in the aftermath of the recession, predicts Ovum.

In a new report*, the independent telecoms analyst forecasts that spending on web conferencing will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 18 percent over the next five years. The report shows that globally businesses’ spending on web conferencing will hit $2.7 billion by 2015, more than double the $1.2 billion reached in 2010. In Asia-Pacific, web conferencing reaches $534 million in 2015, with a CAGR of 23.5 percent since 2010.

Demand for web conferencing in China and India is surging, showing a total growth of 257 percent and 277 percent respectively, in the five year period. Korea is set to grow by 164 percent, Hong Kong by 143 percent and Australia by 149 percent.

Asia Pacific will see demand growing faster than the global average because of greater economic development and a higher base of potential new corporate business customers, particularly in developing markets.

Richard Thurston, Ovum senior analyst and author of the report, said: “Web conferencing is bringing about a radically different way of working for businesses across the globe. Web-based meetings enable enterprises to communicate effectively with customers, colleagues and business partners without leaving their office. This means a radical scaling back of face-to-face meetings and therefore corporate travel.

“Web conferencing is growing rapidly in popularity among companies of all sizes, meaning they can hit both their cost and carbon reduction targets, while increasing worker productivity and decreasing time to market. Business executives are increasingly recognising these benefits.”

Growth in web conferencing is also being driven by globalisation and mobile and home-based working, which are causing workers to become more geographically spread. There is also strong interest in a new breed of technology that has recently been released. One of the critical advances is the use of video, meaning employees can see each other as they communicate.

“We are seeing a revolution in workplace communications, and at the heart of this is video-based web conferencing,” said Thurston. “The technology is maturing and can now offer a quantifiable and much stronger return on investment. Because of this, we expect rapid growth in web conferencing to occur over the next five years.”

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