Can You Finally See Me Now?

Nemertes Research recently published the results of its second-annual study on enterprise adoption of videoconferencing in small rooms (five or fewer seats) and use of cloud videoconferencing "meet me" style services to enable both integration of disparate desktop and room systems within and across company boundaries. The results this year show that video adoption remains in line with its hype.

The study produced five key takeaways:

  • Continued shift to open workspaces. Despite the productivity challenges related to background noise and distractions, 19% of participants now provision open workspaces as their primary new office environment, up from 16.5% in 2016. Nearly 40% of those using open workspaces still provision small conference rooms for group meeting locations while 21% use open huddle spaces, making the use of videoconferencing a challenge.

  • Videoconferencing deployments continue to grow. Nearly two thirds -- 63% of participants -- are increasing their small room videoconferencing deployments; on average, they are doing so by 59%. Just 2% are reducing rooms. In 2016 just 32% were increasing their small room deployments. Desktop videoconferencing deployments continue to grow as well, with nearly half saying that they will increase desktop videoconferencing seats in 2017. Today, fewer than 14% have enabled desktop videoconferencing on more than 20% of their devices, meaning plenty of room for growth. The biggest driver for these increases? A belief that video improves collaboration among distributed teams.
  • Dedicated systems dominate versus PC/laptops. Provisioning a PC or laptop in a small room, coupled with an external monitor and webcam, is an easy way to support a wide variety of Web conferencing and desktop videoconferencing applications, but most (50.4%) still deploy dedicated small room videoconferencing systems as their primary endpoints. IT shops generally prefer the ease of integration with existing videoconferencing systems, the quality of dedicated systems, and centralized monitoring and management of performance and utilization.
  • The built-in camera isn't the only choice. Most desktop videoconferencing users either rely on the built-in camera that typically comes with new PCs and laptops, or they purchase an executive-style endpoint like the Cisco DX series. Nearly 60% say that the built-in cameras meet their needs, while 13% prefer something better. The rest say it depends on the specific use case. The emergence of low-cost, high-quality webcams like the Logitech Brio provide buyers with an option for improving the desktop videoconferencing experience, or the small room experience when using a PC or laptop as the in-room conference system.
  • Cloud is king! The cloud videoconferencing market has rapidly exploded in recent years, with lines blurring between Web conferencing platforms, videoconferencing interoperability services, and videoconferencing offered within UCaaS offerings. For this study we focused on "meet me" style services typically designed to enable groups of people to connect into a scheduled videoconference, from a variety of different endpoints including legacy on-prem systems, Web browsers, and dedicated hardware offered by the cloud provider. This year nearly 40% are already using such services, while 34% are planning to deploy before the end of this year. That's up from 31% and 26% in 2016, respectively. What's more, those using cloud videoconferencing services rate their overall videoconferencing success 89% higher than those who rely solely on on-prem platforms. The ease of turning up new endpoints without a large capital investment and the simplicity of usage-based billing models are key factors driving success. Nearly 47% say the availability of cloud-based videoconferencing services are "critical" to the success of their overall videoconferencing strategy, up from 27% in 2016.

The results of this study indicate that the videoconferencing market is alive and well, but that cloud providers are increasingly asserting a dominant role in successful strategies. If you aren't already using, or considering cloud-based videoconferencing platforms, now is the time to do so.