The culture of business and environment has dramatically changed and businesses are shifting toward video conferencing.

Introduction of high-capacity broadband telecommunication services is driving the adoption of video-conferencing (VC) services. The demand for video-conferencing services is increasing in industries such as media, business, education, and healthcare and acting as a driver for the market. Globalization and workforce decentralization are the business factors responsible for extensive use of video-conferencing services in businesses.

Video conferencing allows two or more persons at different locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way audio and video transmissions. Providers have to follow certain standards laid by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) such as ITU H.320, ITU H.264, and ITU V.80. Key equipment used in video-conferencing services such as microphones, conference bridges, peripherals, cameras, external compression cards, internal compression cards, monitors, codecs and codec boards, software for video conferencing, desktop computers, phone links, and roll-abouts differentiate one provider from the other.

Market Dynamics

The global enterprise video-conferencing market, estimated at USD 4.14 billion in 2016 is expected to reach USD 7.94 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 7.44 percent over the next five years, according to Research Nester. Further, market of enterprise video-conferencing is expected to register a CAGR of 9.2 percent in the Asia-Pacific region in the same period.

Some of the solution and service vendors catering to this market include Adobe Systems Incorporated, Brightcove Inc., Avaya, Inc., Vidyo, Inc., VBrick Systems Inc., MediaPlatform, Inc., Polycom, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., IBM Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Kaltura, and Ooyala, Inc.

Expansion of business by national and multinational organizations in India is likely to improve facilities of video-conferencing. As the trends point, in India there is greater demand for multipoint video-conferencingsolutions that can accommodate higher number of participants for collaboration. Many vendors offer hosted VC as a service that provides the scalability and technology support to execute these solutions at both enterprise and mid-segment levels. Greater adoption of mobility and higher demand for cross-platform content sharing are creating a diverse customer base and a higher demand for scalable and flexible services that are provided by software and cloud-hosted VC solutions.

With proliferation of multinational companies and growing demand for better communication models by enterprises in India, there is a demand for unified communications and collaboration that converges separate communications components (voice-, video-, and messaging-based communications) on a single platform. The seamless communication provided by unified communications helps enterprises in achieving business agility in the long term.

The unified communications and collaboration market in India is anticipated to record CAGR of 12 percent during 2017–2023, according to 6W Research. The video-based unified communications (including video chats and conferencing) segment captured the highest revenue share in 2016 followed by voice, message, and others.

The video-conferencing market is primarily driven by the rising demand for the video as a tool to enhance communications and collaborations across enterprises, and the rising adoption of the cloud technology. The increasing trend of mobile workforce and bring your own device (BYOD) has positively impacted cloud-based video-conferencing services. With the industry shifting from hardware-based solutions to software-based video-conferencing solutions, key players offer a wide range of video-conferencing solutions to fit specific customer requirements.

There is huge opportunity in the education, government, and the healthcare domain, especially in some of the initiatives such as Skill India, Smart Cities, and eGovernance. The government and SMBare largely untapped segments.

Cloud Video Conferencing Seems the Future

On-premise presently holds dominance in the video-conferencing market vis--vis revenue. However, the segment of cloud-based video conferencing is expected to surpass the on-premise segment in terms of growth rate.

There are various cutting-edge technologies employed in the advancement of cloud video conferencing. The trends observed are:

Availability of IT-as-a-service. With video conferencing moving to the cloud, the security issues that most businesses were concerned about are no longer relevant. Firewall issues are no longer a concern and users do not have to know where video-conferencing endpoint begins and the infrastructure ends. In virtue of the cloud, information technology (IT) is maintained as a service, with no need to pay for the costly and complicated on-premise server technology. Also, software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery has made video-conferencing technology easy to use.

Increasing use of connected devices. For bad weather delay or other unforeseen circumstances, now a virtual online meeting on the mobile phone, iPad, laptop, or other devices is possible. The increasing use of connected devices has made cloud video-conferencing services seamless.

Better supply chain management. Companies of any size can communicate and collaborate across and among organizations more conveniently. Most enterprises have a network of customers, suppliers, and vendors with whom they have to maintain close contact. As technology moves to the cloud, everyone in the supply chain will have equal access to video-conferencing capabilities. Apart from the HD audio and video collaboration, they can also share information like files and data with each other securely on the cloud.

Emerging popularity of WebRTC. Web real-time communication (WebRTC) enables browser-to-browser applications for voice calling, video chat, and file sharing without using plug-ins. WebRTC technology will not replace existing video-conferencing products, but complement existing technologies. For most companies, WebRTC is an easy and secure means of connecting external users to video conferences. Instead of downloading a proprietary application that may not permit intercommunication between users, WebRTC makes cloud video-conference connection as easy as pushing a button on a browser.

With increasing numbers of businesses moving from on-premise video conferencing to cloud-based one, seamless communication and collaboration are becoming productive, efficient, and effective. It will be very interesting to see whether this will become true in the coming years, or how it will unfold over the next 10 years.

Healthcare and Education to Emerge as Significant End-Use Segments

The major segments into which the global market for video conferencing is divided depending upon end user are corporate enterprise, healthcare, government and defense, education, and others. Amongst all, corporate enterprise accounts for the leading revenue share of the video-conferencing market. However, the segments of healthcare and education are expected to contribute significant revenue to the overall video-conferencing market in the forthcoming years. Rising investments for technology-driven healthcare services to render quality patient care at low cost is the key factor fuelling growth of the healthcare segment of the video-conferencing market. The rising need to lower educational costs and efforts to expand the reach of educational services are mainly driving the education segment of the video-conferencing market.

The Fear Factor among Users

There is a definite fear factor among employees when it comes to using video conferencing. Just like listening to a recording of your voice makes people uncomfortable, many are uncomfortable with seeing themselves on camera. This unease is a major roadblock for many companies that are trying to adopt video-conferencing software and hardware and increase usage among their employees.

Millennials, perhaps unsurprisingly, are most comfortable with video-conferencing tools, says a recent survey report. The differences in how employees react to video conferencing in the workplace are not just generational, nor do people's video-conferencing fears revolve solely around their concerns about how others will judge their appearances. Employees worry about everything from public speaking to the background setting.

Way Forward

Video technology has become pervasive. It is on the phones, tablets, laptops, and many desktops. But the technology has not spread to conference rooms because of the cost and the complexity involved.

For decades, the best room video cameras have had pan, zoom, and tilt. While that sounds nice, it adds complexity and distractions to a meeting. Even the automated solutions that use visual and audio cues to automatically switch and adjust cameras create distracting movements and sounds.

The next two years will be good for room video. Microsoft, Google, Cisco, and Logitech are all targeting unconnected rooms with new offers. While the competition is increasing, the reality is that the enterprise-wide conferencing application or service will narrow the options. These vendors intend to expand the market with advanced technology. That raises the initial cost, but it may also increase adoption and usability.

There is clearly a lot to watch in the world of video collaboration!

Pre-budget Expectations 2018: Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI



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