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Economic Downturn Poses No Problems for Web Conferencing Market: Report


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December 16, 2009

Economic Downturn Poses No Problems for Web Conferencing Market: Report

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

The current economic climate has wreaked havoc on a number of businesses, even those in the communications technology sector. But one market that has actually had an uptick in business is Web conferencing.

As more businesses demand enhanced collaboration and look to cut travel costs, the Web conferencing software and services market is booming. A new report by Frost & Sullivan found that revenue in Asia-Pacific rose 24.9 percent in 2008. And this year, it is expected to grow 26.3 percent totaling $123.1 million by yearend. In addition, the growth of the sector, which includes hosted services/Software-as-a-Service and on-premise Web conferencing software, is expected to peak over the next two years, topping growth rates of 27 percent in 2010 and 2011.
The growth in the Asia-Pacific region mirrors other Web-based conferencing trends in other parts of the world, Greg Plum (News - Alert), director of channel development for The Conference Group, a provider of conferencing services, told TMCnet. Plum said the growth in the region is “in line with that of other markets, including the U.S.”
 “I anticipate the trend to continue well in the next couple of years as the lagging economy struggles to rebound,” Plum said. “The great news for providers is that necessity is driving many companies to implement collaboration services that might have been ignored in a “fatter” economy.” 
The report, Asia-Pacific Web Conferencing Software and Services Market, found that the market earned $97.4 million in 2008. And by the end of 2014, it will reportedly reach $391.8 million, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 26.1 percent from 2009 to 2014.
“Rising concerns about communicable diseases and carbon footprints have encouraged not only multinational enterprises with offices in Asia, but also local companies, both small and large, to invest in Web conferencing,” Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) industry analyst Pranabesh Nath said in a statement. “On-premise software has a strong following in Japan, China and South Korea, while SaaS solutions are favored in Australia, India and Southeast Asian nations.”
Plum, whose company offers Web-based, on-demand audio, Web and video conferencing services, predicted a bright future ahead for conferencing industry.
“This new experience and knowledge base in the enterprise market will likely result in continued growth in these technologies even after the economy corrects itself,” Plum said. “Web and video conferencing will likely become a part of the “fabric” of a high percentage of these companies, resulting in continued and sustained demand for online collaboration tools.”
One feature that is increasingly becoming popular is integrating the desktop with video, or using a webcam, for users in markets like China, Japan and South Korea. Users in the Asia-Pacific region are integrating the tool with audio conferencing and video and mobile connectivity to enhance communication.
“Companies that deploy Web conferencing expect simplicity, reliability and ease-of-use as the most important features,” Nath said. “Recently, however, integration with audio conferencing, high-quality webcam-based video and mobile connectivity are becoming increasingly important in Asia-Pacific.”
But for widespread adoption of Web conferencing services to occur, the technology needs to evolve to address the challenges of both large and small business users, Frost & Sullivan said. One such challenge is that awareness about the benefits of Web conferencing among potential customers is still lacking, the company said. To spur adoption, Web conferencing vendors need to seamlessly integrate telecom providers and other channels into their sales strategy, Frost & Sullivan said.
The Asia-Pacific Web Conferencing Software and Services Market study is part of the Conferencing & Collaboration Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in telepresence, video conferencing endpoints, video conferencing infrastructure, audio and video conferencing services, enterprise social networks and online shared workspaces.
To find out more about Plum and The Conference Group (News - Alert), visit the company at ITEXPO East 2010. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Plum will speak at 11 a.m. Jan. 20 on “The Future of Web Conferencing and Collaboration.” Don’t wait. Register now.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering business communications Her areas of focus include conferencing, SIP, Fax over IP, unified communications and telepresence. Amy also writes about education and healthcare technology, overseeing production of e-Newsletters on those topics as well as communications solutions and UC. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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