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Cloud-Based Conferencing Revenue will Reach $4.1B

Even the most reluctant CEOs have discovered that supporting their remote workers was less disruptive than they anticipated. Moreover, productivity often increased as jubilant workers were freed from the noise and other distractions at their employer's poorly designed open-plan offices.

Short audio or video conference meet-ups have replaced the typical 1-hour long mind-numbing in-person meetings that were common at many enterprises prior to the pandemic. Legacy business leaders that were not previously Agile converts have now embraced these online collaboration tools. It's amazing.

Conferencing Solutions Market Development

Global end-user investment on cloud-based web conferencing solutions will grow 24.3 percent in 2020, according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner.

Global workplace restrictions spurred by the coronavirus pandemic will expand the cloud conferencing user base throughout 2020, but growth may actually taper off in 2021 as the lasting effects of a remote workforce render conferencing services commonplace.

End-user spending on cloud-based conferencing is projected to reach $4.1 billion in 2020 -- that's up from $3.3 billion in 2019. It is the second-fastest-growing category in the unified communications (UC) market, behind spending on cloud-based telephony, which is forecast to reach $16.8 billion in 2020.

According to the Gartner assessment, overall UC market end-user spending is projected to decline by 2.7 percent in 2020 and return to growth in 2021, as cloud telephony initiatives regain momentum.

"Cloud collaboration investments will buoy the UC market downturn as remote work initiatives spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak drive conferencing adoption and market growth," said Megan Fernandez, senior principal analyst at Gartner.

Gartner now predicts that by 2024, in-person meetings will account for just 25 percent of enterprise meetings, a drop from 60 percent prior to the pandemic, driven by remote work and changing workforce demographics.

As a result, there is a higher demand for convenient access to videoconferencing and other collaboration tools. Cloud-based conferencing service providers will support the increased adoption with new offerings that further advance user productivity.

In 2020, new premises-based telephony investments will likely drop sharply as existing installed telephony system life spans are stretched and investment priorities shift to the cloud providers.

"Cloud telephony adoption will experience a 'push and pull' from competing market pressures," said Ms. Fernandez. "Overall, the market will be negatively impacted by organizations that were planning near-term premises to cloud migrations but are now extending legacy life spans instead."

However, cloud-based telephony will experience a boost once its benefits are recognized, namely the ease at which it can accommodate a changing workforce, update and extend existing features, and integrate with adjacent applications.

Outlook for Conferencing Service Applications Growth

The cloud-based telephony market is projected to grow by 8.9 percent in 2020 and 17.8 percent in 2021 as the transition to online communication gains new momentum.

"As a result of workers employing remote work practices in response to COVID-19 office closures, there will be some long-term shifts in conferencing solution usage patterns. Policies established to enable remote work and experience gained with conferencing service usage during the outbreak is anticipated to have a lasting impact on collaboration adoption," said Ms. Fernandez.

The traditional C-suite must realize, you can't go back to the old way of doing things. Change is inevitable. This progress is unstoppable. Embrace the 'next normal' and move on.

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