Melanie Turek at Frost & Sullivan just wrote a post on the “No Jitter” blog about Key Trends in the Web Conferencing Market. She points to several high level themes, including:
- Increasing enterprise standardization through IT departments
- Social network integration
- Support for mobile devices
- More video
- More VoIP audio
I haven’t done the research that Frost & Sullivan is capable of, but I’ll throw in my own opinions of additional trends I see anecdotal evidence for.
- Application-specific collaboration suites will continue to gain favor. Instead of one-vendor, one-product we will see vendors selling a range of product versions optimized for particular uses. This is well established as a sales model from companies such as Cisco (with WebEx Event Center, Meeting Center, Training Center), iLinc (with iLinc for Meetings, iLinc for Learning, iLinc for Webinars), and Citrix (with GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining).
- Small-group web meeting software will be increasingly commoditized as a no-cost offering to get a foot in the door with users. Again, we are already seeing this from vendors such as Dimdim, Yugma, Vyew, and Adobe ConnectNow.
- Instant-join collaboration software will continue to gain in prominence and popularity over software that requires a download/install on each participant’s computer. Platforms such as Flash, AIR, Silverlight, and HTML5 let developers embed cloud-based functionality without local program installation. User tolerance for load times is constantly dropping.
- There will be increased interest and growth in supporting hybrid events (presentation to a local in-room audience that is simulcast to a remote web audience). Vendors will need to work on easy integration of audio/video feeds from rooms and will need to partner with service companies for production support. Customer education will be critical, as event hosts generally have no idea what is required to support simulcasting, what the limitations are, and what best practices are necessary.
- There will be increased interest and growth in supporting fee-based web events. Training, consulting, and business services can all be monetized with web presentations (both live and recorded). Fully integrated support for payment processing is still exceedingly rare in web conferencing software. Vendors need to reduce overhead costs, balance security and attendee convenience, and support different payment models.
What would you add to the trend lists that Melanie and I have started?