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November 17, 2008

Report: Conferencing Market for SMBs to Hit $2.6B by 2012

By Stefania Viscusi, Assignment Desk Editor

Conferencing solutions play an important role in improving communications and boosting productivity for businesses of all sizes. For small businesses, (SMBs) conferencing solutions are especially important because they reduce expenses while keeping users in touch with employees, customers and partners located across the world.

A new study from Access Markets International (AMI) notes that as SMBs become more mobile and increase their dispersed workforce, they will spend more on conferencing solutions including audio, Web and video – reaching $26 billion by 2012.
This number represents a compound annual growth rate of 5.9 percent from 2006 - when $1.8 billion was spent on conferencing solutions.
The report, titled SMBs Employing Conferencing Solutions to Cost Control and Drive Business Growth - Worldwide SMB Conferencing (Audio/Web/Video) Solutions Forecast also notes  that video conferencing will grow to $164 million by 2012, up from $100 million in 2006.
With more and more vendors offering conferencing solutions targeted specifically at this market segment, the competition is stiffening and conferencing services are becoming more affordable as a result.
AMI also uncovered in their research that North American SMBs lead as consumers of conferencing solutions, with Western Europe following behind.
According to the report, small businesses are choosing more hosted solutions for their conferencing services including pay-as-you-go solutions and on-demand offerings that are easy to deploy and don't require a large upfront investment.
While medium businesses are making use of hosted offerings, the report notes they are also finding benefit in on-premise solutions thanks to "increased penetration of on-premise IP-PBX (News - Alert) systems."
In today's economic climate, conferencing services are also key to reducing costs for businesses.
“Driven by the global economic crisis, high travel costs, increase in gas prices, and natural disasters – the relevance of conferencing solutions increases enormously,” said Sanjeev Aggarwal, AMI-Partners’ New York-based Vice President for SMB Infrastructure Solutions.  

Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Stefania’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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