Webex on the Radio? Calling All (Very) Late Adopters.
Are there really a ton of businesses out there--for whom web conferencing is applicable--that don't know about Webex?
I've been using Webex-like products since late 2001 and can't think of once when I used web conferencing to purposely replace travel, or even a local commute. Not consciously at least. For me, Web conferencing has always offered an efficient way to distant-present something while retaining some control of the visual plane of the audience. More than replace travel, it creates opportunities for additional, meaningful interactions during a sales process that otherwise may not have been possible.So to me, after 10 years, web conferencing is far from revolutionary. Which is I jumped the other day when I heard Webex barking on the radio as if we had just landed on the moon. As in ... "imagine being able to show your computer screen to someone else halfway across town without ever getting in your car...".
Wow! Maybe I still am an early adopter, after all.
Are there really a ton of businesses out there--for whom web conferencing is applicable--that don't know about it? Maybe. But it seems more likely that those who have not adopted did so out of fear of complexity, more than anything else. Webex was always, and remains, a more complicated user interface than it needs to be. They chose the enterprise route, went after it hard, and arguably won. But in doing so ignored the vast opportunity presented by users in companies with less than 10 people--and now are going radio to lure them in.
Instead of having created a separate, small business-focused brand back when, with which they could have dominated, Webex will now find--or surely already knows--an SMB market that has become highly disaggregated. While several upstart companies have successfully delivered simpler user experiences and affordable price points, none have had the Webex-like marketing budget to dominate. And I'm not sure it's these group of companies Webex will do battle with; instead, I expect Skype to aggressively pursue and win this valuable market segment, assuming they can execute. With their online presence and ubiquitous user interface, it's perhaps Skype that will draw in those who have not benefited from basic screen sharing.
For the rest--and maybe even for giants like Webex--it's time to take a different path. Either integrate deeply with other business process applications, or go vertical and address very specific types of needs when it comes to online collaboration.
As for Webex on the radio, this report suggests there is reason to increase spending on user acquisition. I just sense that user will find a better option.Are there really a ton of businesses out there--for whom web conferencing is applicable--that don't know about Webex?