As more companies look to save costs on travel expenses and keep productivity high at the same time, Web conferencing
is becoming more commonplace in the European market, a new report found.
The Frost & Sullivan (News
, “European Hosted Web Conferencing Services Market,” found that hosted services are the main model to deliver Web conferencing services to customers. One reason for the growth in the communication sector is that companies are reducing their capital expenditure. Hosted services are increasingly popular because they don’t require expensive costly maintenance and upgrades.
The European Hosted Web Conferencing Services Market research is part of the Conferencing & Collaboration Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in Visual Collaboration, Enterprise Communications (News
) and Communication Services.
According to its latest research, Frost & Sullivan
found that the market earned $162.6 million in 2008 revenue. And the company estimates the market will grow to $657.1 million in 2014, at a compound annual growth rate of 26.2 percent.
“The global recession and stringent environmental laws introduced by the European Parliament in 2008 are driving organizations to reduce their travel expenses and comply with ‘green’ policies,” Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Iwona Petruczynik said in a statement. “Web conferencing services certainly help in achieving these objectives.”
The hosted Web conferencing services segment grew at 14.9 percent from 2007 to 2008, thanks to the growing awareness about Web conferencing and greater penetration among vertical, small, and medium businesses. Mature markets such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom are likely to continue driving demand for Web conferencing because of the high awareness of the tool in these countries, Frost & Sullivan said.
Meanwhile, markets like Italy, Spain, or Ireland and emerging markets including Poland and Hungary - where these services are only just gaining in popularity - will likely expand their adoption of Web conferencing services, the research said.
was once perceived as difficult to use as many SMBs believed the technology was out of their reach. That perception largely influenced the growth rate of these services in the sector. Yet, as new, integrated solutions enter the market and Web conferencing is becoming more affordable, the perception is changing, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Contributing to the European growth is the increasing globalization and virtualization of work. What’s more, interest in Web 2.0 technologies – such as wikis, blogs and social networking sites - in the business sector is also driving the need for alternative communication models.
While the Web conferencing services market in Europe has a bright future, the market still has its challenges. Increased competition, escalating pricing pressure and low awareness in the Central and Eastern European, as well as poor infrastructure and low penetration of the European SMB market region are some of the barriers to widespread adoption.
“The entry of big, global Web conferencing services vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft (News
) into the European market is likely to threaten the smaller regional participants,” Petruczynik said. “These local independent providers are responding by offering more competitively priced services which, in turn, will impel the larger vendors to lower prices.”
Frost & Sullivan said that Web conferencing services providers that want to expand their presence in the Europe should be one step ahead of their customers offering new services. For example, with the increased popularity of Web 2.0 tools and instant messaging in the enterprise, there is more opportunity for Web conferencing services providers to incorporate these tools into their services, the company said.
“For example, Web 2.0 tools in the large economies of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are finding their way into enterprise sectors at a much faster rate than in the CEE countries,” Petruczynik said. “Web conferencing services providers should customize their marketing strategies and their product offerings to take these conditions into account.”
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