Videoconferencing is set to become a centerpiece of mainstream business communications, and advances in mobile technology are playing a crucial role in the take-up of enterprise video solutions and services. Tablets, smartphones and other mobile technologies are driving up user expectations and becoming increasingly vital collaborative tools.
Why mobile matters
Mobile technology has become integral to video uptake for several compelling reasons: cost savings, improved productivity, the growing demand for better work life balance, beneficial environmental impacts, and the desire for richer forms of communications are all factors in driving adoption. Mobile technology can exploit several key developments in today’s climate:
- An increasingly mobile workforce: More workers juggling work tasks on the go—and using their personal mobile devices to conduct business. Organisations must also wrestle with the challenge of increased numbers of team members working remotely. The video dimension of today’s mobile technology means that workers can achieve as much in a video meeting—planned or unplanned—as they would in a conventional conference room meeting.
- Ease of use and technology: Services like Skype and Google Chat have brought videoconferencing to the mainstream, making it easy to launch a conference with the touch of a screen. With their forward-facing cameras, always-on wireless connections, and screens optimised for high resolution, smartphones and tablets are perfectly geared towards video communication.
- Cloud-based hardware: The mobile-cloud paradigm is just starting to gain momentum, but already we have a glimpse at the potential that marrying mobile clients with cloud-based video processing and connection services can have in growing the mobile video market.
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Market forecast: tablets on the horizon
The explosive growth of the tablet market has made it a major player in the uptake of video solutions and services. According to a BII report , nearly 100 million tablets were sold in 2011, and annual tablet sales are estimated to reach 400 million units by 2016.
Clearly, consumers love tablets, but they are increasingly being used for more than entertainment purposes and crossing over into the business world. According to recent survey data from NPD In-Stat , tablets have become popular business collaboration and communication tools, commonly used for presentations, calendar management, emailing, and note taking.
Impressive market growth coupled with advances in tablet technology are setting the right conditions for the growing use of videoconferencing on tablets. With improved resolution on an HD screen, quad-core graphics processing, and a bevy of new high-resolution mobile video apps, the new iPad is a perfect example of how improved technology is making the tablets the most coveted mobile device for enterprise communication and collaboration.
Other developments to watch
Improved mobile technology in the guise of tablets and smartphones are playing a key role in driving the adoption of videoconferencing solutions. What other factors and trends in mobile technology can we expect as the videoconferencing market reaches inflection point?
- Rising popularity of mobile technologyamong small and medium-sized business (SMB) users. Mobile technology offers high quality low-cost video solutions at attractive price points. According to a recent survey by the Small Business Authority of 1,100 independent business owners in the U.S., 55 percent of business owners see themselves using a tablet or other device in the future, and 45 percent said their next technology purchase will be a tablet, with laptops coming in at a close second.
- Improved mobile and wifi. Growth in mobile traffic will result in faster networks that can handle data-intensive video. As 3G networks are replaced by 4G networks and beyond, business quality video becomes increasingly viable.
It’s clear that mobile is the future in terms of the enterprise video market. Currently, leading web conference services such as Adobe Connect, Citrix GoToMeeting, and Cisco WebEx have all developed mobile clients, with more vendors predicted to follow suit to seek their share of tablet and smartphone screens. 2013 is shaping up to be an interesting year for video collaboration in businesses.
- The power of the cloud. Mobile clients will seek cloud-based hardware that liberates them from expensive back-end video processing.