Like so many others, this market is experiencing exciting new changes brought on by the biggest workplace trends since the dawning of the personal computer: online, BYOD, mobile and globalization.
Conference calls have been the lifeblood of business for over 20 years. In just the past five years, PGi — the global leader in web conferencing and collaboration technology — has hosted 1.2 billion people in over 300 million conference calls and online meetings. And that’s just a taste of the overall web conferencing market, which to reach $3.6 billion in 2020.
In this post, we’ll explore current trends in the workplace and look at how each is impacting conference calls and business communications.
While the era of audio-only conferencing will continue for years to come, the transition to online communications and cloud-based applications opens up a wealth of new possibilities for conference calling companies like PGi. One of the biggest opportunities for growth is giving users the ability to not only hear the meeting, but utilize online technology to actually “see” the conference call, thanks to new strides in browser-based communications and cloud-based applications.
This new era of online visual conferencing enables hosts and guests alike to utilize exciting new desktop and mobile consoles that give them the ability to see attendee lists, mute lines with a single click, schedule future calls and even record the call. And, perhaps even more significant, audio conference providers have expanded into the online collaboration market by adding web conferencing and video conferencing capabilities that enable hosts to screen share, turn on webcams, whiteboard and share files by simply escalating the call into a more robust, browser-based conferencing experience. For the user, this visual conferencing could facilitate up to 55% more effective meetings with the addition of a visual element to the once-voice only call.
BYOD & Mobile
The Consumerization of IT, also called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is a huge contributor to the rampant changes effecting business communications and IT departments today. With mobility as a leading contributor to the BYOD trend, the conferencing industry is rushing forward to make changes to the previous landline-only infrastructure and methodology to meet the shift from IT-based decision making to user-demanded applications.
The combination of BYOD and mobile trends is an exciting opportunity for innovative audio conferencing companies that embrace the online trend.
According to Marketing Land, smartphones accounted for over 33% of all online traffic compared to tablets at just over 12% in 2014.
These new user-driven, device agnostic demands mean that conference calling companies must embrace and innovate for the future of audio connectivity, from Voice over IP to mobile apps. And they must do so with the user as a business decision maker, making easy-to-use, robust and multi-device mobile access a top priority for providers innovating for the future of work and business communications.
Information technology empowers businesses and consumers alike to reach farther out into the world than they ever have before. With the advances in Internet technology, mobility and network infrastructure, we can now reach out virtually and communicate with almost anyone. In fact, more than 75% of international calls are now made over the Internet. This new global, Internet-based communication changes the way conference call service providers build their technology and the way users do business every single day.
With offices in over 25 countries, in nearly every region of the world, PGi is a perfect example of the transition to a global conference calling infrastructure. Now, instead of merely working with landline operators for actual physical conference call bridges, PGi utilizes a global IP network and Internet technology to create a multi-faceted technology approach for all users. In essence, as long as global users have access to a standard dial-out phone, Internet-connected computer or mobile phone, the once-landline-only conference call can happen anytime, anywhere someone is connected. This global expansion, combined with the rising Internet-based communications and mobile BYOD trends, changes the future of conference calling — for the better.
The Future of Conference Calling
Regardless of device or location, business users and consumers still depend on voice calls to connect with coworkers, customers, vendors, family and friends all over the world. The way they make those calls, however, is shifting significantly. For the users themselves, the Online, Mobile and Globalization trends empower them to work smarter, more effectively and actually enjoy their virtual meetings. For conference calling providers, like PGi, these trends open up opportunities to innovate for the future of business collaboration and expand into new market opportunities. For everyone — from the remote worker to the CEO — it means making more meaningful business and personal connections, on any device, anytime, anywhere in the world.
We’d love to hear about the trends you’re seeing in your business. Is anything impacting your business communications that’s not listed here? How are you preparing for the future of business collaboration and communication, and are these trends positively or negatively impacting your company?